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What does Father’s Day mean to you as a childfree/childless man?

By Dann Alexander 

I have always viewed Father’s Day much the same as most would. There would be a conversation with my Dad and I would send him a card with a gift certificate of some kind. A couple of years ago at this time we spoke more about my Grandfather who had passed away the previous September. We would tell our stories of his good days and bad days, when he was still able to rile up anyone who walked through his door.

Father’s Day to me personally has evolved. I show respect to those who have kids but also tend to be mindful of those who do not. Men with children are just as equal to those who are without and those who choose to live childfree. There have been times when I have been given very kind wishes as a “Dad” to fur-kids. Those kinds of sentiments are appreciated for sure. I am happy to be dedicated to promoting things surrounding animal rights and positive pet parenthood. Yet, my passion for being a good caretaker of animals and for speaking out in support of animal causes has always been with me. So I never felt that Father’s Day was of great importance to me personally.

On the evening of December 9, 2013 my Dad passed away very suddenly. He had been in hospital since the morning of December 8. My brother and I were not made aware of his hospital admission until the morning of the 9th. The sting of that very evening and the events following involving members of our former extended “family” still occasionally haunt me a year and a half later. Last year I did not even realize that it was Father’s Day until I attempted to book a business meeting with someone who usually dealt with clients at the weekend. In a sharp response, the client had asked me if I had a Father. Because he was so surprised that I would request a meeting on Father’s Day when he was planning to spend the time with his children.

I was crushed and hurt by the terse response. In reply, I gave him a few paragraphs on how I did have a Dad. How we had worked hard to repair a relationship where there was some fracturing. How he passed away suddenly and that we were dealing with people who we thought were family but ultimately were only looking after their own self-serving interests without a shred of consideration for ours.

The client did apologize and I accepted his apology. However, I decided not to work with him any further.

It is one year later and I am of a much better mindset. The occasional flashbacks to that horrid night in the hospital still happen. They are becoming fewer and far between. So when I look at Father’s Day this year, it will be a time spent in mindful solitude and reflection. Reflection on the good times with my Dad and both my Grandfathers. It will be a day of peaceful pondering. With my Dad I will think of the last conversation we had and how important it has become for me in my own journey of healing. I’ve written about this on my website.

Based just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada, Dann Alexander is the Author of Planned UnParenthood – Creating a Life Without Procreating which is available at Amazon and other online retailers. Twitter @WriterDann

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