Audible editor Katie O'Connor ponders the impact of Father's Day for those whose dads are gone, and pays tribute to her late father, whose love of reading left a lasting impact.By Katie O'ConnorJun 13, 2018 7:58 AM
Father’s Day is a particularly sh*tty time of year for the dadless. Living dads are thrown into your face at every turn—commercials, convenience stores, Facebook ads…they’re everywhere. And after a year or two, people who haven’t lost a parent understandably forget that the passing of this day might not be the most fun for you. If you’re not loudly sharing your angst on social media year in and year out, how else are they supposed to remember?
In May of 2015 my father—somewhat unexpectedly—passed away. The first phone call I made was to my best friend—who also happens to be one of my Audible coworkers. In the weeks and months that followed, my community at Audible would prove to be among my most supportive group of friends who helped me navigate the nonlinear terrain of grief. A year into this “process” (FYI—I hate that term) a teammate of mine also lost her father, and we started leaning on each other as we tried to understand the complex emotions that we were grappling with day in and day out. One day we decided to go out to lunch—along with another teammate who had lost her dad about a decade before—and thus the Dead Dads Club (a.k.a. DDC) was born. Our numbers have grown as more and more people have found out about our dark and twisty lunches, and each quarter I get to send out fun invites with names like “Spring Has Sprung, Let’s Have Some Dead Dad Fun” or “It’s Getting Hot but Our Dads Are Ice Cold.” Whenever one of these subject lines gets shared with a coworker who does have both parents, they invariably cringe and get incredibly awkward. That’s part of why I love the DDC so much—we can say whatever we want to about death and grieving, and nobody even flinches.
When I proposed that Audible commemorate this Father’s Day for the dadless, I got a really warm reception. My father was the most prolific reader I ever knew, and one of the greatest gifts he ever gave me was passing on his deep love of literature. Below are some of his favorite books—all of which I now realize translate into important life lessons for me, especially since he’s no longer here to impart that wisdom directly.
So Happy Dad’s Day to everyone out there who’s a member of the universal DDC—you’re not alone, and no one will judge you if you spend this Sunday crying into a pint of your dad’s favorite ice cream.