Father’s Day is the day that I least look forward to on the calendar.   I know what you’re saying, “Come on Eric, Father’s Day is 4 months away.”   Absolutely right, but bear with me.   As all of you know you have lost a loved one close to your heart, it could be a birthday, anniversary or any other special day that triggers the memories of that particular individual in both a good way (remembering the past), and bad way (no more memories to create for the future.)   Father’s Day just happens to be my day.

My future father-in-law is quite a character and the polar opposite of my Dad.   My Dad was strict, proper, serious, rarely smiled, and didn’t say much.   He was a thinker, and frankly you never knew what he was really thinking.   He was an engineer so he had to analyze everything to a fault.   My father-in-law on the other hand is an ex-cop who dealt with some pretty bad dudes in his lifetime.   He has a safe where he stores his guns, and always has a story to tell and his stories are great.   He is animated and says what’s on his mind.   In a way I think I am more like him, than I was my own Dad.

When I went over to dinner at my future in-laws house, it was such a great experience.   The food was good, and the company was even better.   As we were getting ready to leave I usually hug my future mother-in-law and shake hands with my future father-in-law.   But this time was different and left me totally stunned.   He actually took my hand and pulled me in for a hug and I almost froze right there on the spot.   I think I halfheartedly returned the hug not because I didn’t want to, because that had never happened to me before and I didn’t know what to do at that split second.

I am not talking about my father-in-law never hugging me, I am talking about my Dad never hugging me.   My Dad and I never hugged, ever.   It was not the nature of our relationship so it was weird when a father figure went to hug me, I almost didn’t know what to do.   Amazing, someone who has graduated with a Masters degree, not understanding how to give somebody a hug?   But, it is the truth.   Now, it almost seems like second nature when I see him to give him a hug, and it is pretty cool.   Three tips on how to acknowledge the important people in your life:

1. Go with the flow-If someone in your life is showing you affection, they are doing it for a genuine and sincere purpose and that is because they want to.   Accept it as the friendly and warm gesture it is, you never know when it will happen again so take advantage of the kindness of someone thinking about you for a change.

2. Sometimes it’s the person you least expect-I would have never thought in a million years my father-in-law would have initated a hug.   I always wanted my Dad to be the one to come around and give me a hug.   Not a wimpy hug, just an “I’m proud of you hug” or an “I am glad to see you hug.”   But you know what that never happened and it never will.   I am OK getting my hug from someone other than the person I wanted it from because really the point is you are getting something you need.

3. Learn from the past- Remember how good or bad a certain relationship made you feel when you got something or didn’t from that relationship.   Vow to do it differently when you have the chance.   This is your ultimate reward.   Learn from the past and changing the way you see the future is the true way for any one individual to grow.

So maybe, just maybe, Father’s Day will be different this year.   I haven’t really had anything to celebrate three years in a row, this year hopefully I will.   It will be different but good…

Always a friend to listen,

Eric Tomei

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Eric Tomei

Eric Tomei is a physical therapist residing in the metro Detroit area. He has a B.A. in Psychology, a B.S. in Health Sciences and a masters degree in physical therapy from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. I Miss My Dad…is his first book with the hopes of uniting everyone who has lost a Dad or loved one to share their stories. His mission is to let people know that they are not alone in dealing with the loss of a loved one and you will always have a friend to talk to. He has a passion for charity work as 15% of each book sold will be donated to Habitat for Humanity. His goal is to raise $1 million for this charity through donations and the sale of I Miss My Dad… Eric appeared on the radio show Healing the Grieving Heart with hosts Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley, to discuss Father’s Day Without a Father. To listen to this show, go to the following link: https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/39135/fathers-day-without-a-father-and-finding-success-in-your-life

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