Celebrating the Mixed Emotions of Father's Day

Holidays can come with a mixture of emotions. Last year for Mother’s Day, I shared a personal reflection of being a mother and a daughter. This year, members of my team share reflections on being a father, having a father, and losing a father.  This post brings their reflections to you.

mixed emotions fathers day
I know a dad who has been doing his very best since November 2nd, 2022, the birthdate of Emilia. They both love to play their instruments. Reflections on fathers from several on the RAPIDS team.

From Emma:

As Father’s Day approaches, I find myself cherishing the unique roles of the fathers in my life. Having a dad who was always there for me has shaped the person I am today. His wisdom and kindness were cornerstones of my upbringing, guiding me through life’s challenges and setting a positive example for all my future relationships. I remember countless evenings spent together, from helping me with schoolwork to teaching me how to ride a bike. He taught me the importance of speaking up, thinking for myself, and maintaining my independence, all while staying grounded and respectful to others. He convinced me that the world was my oyster and that I could achieve anything I set my mind to. Most importantly, he showed me that when times get tough, family is who you can always count on. I admired how he was a remarkable partner to my mother, sharing responsibilities equally and fostering a loving and nurturing environment for my brother and me.

Now, watching my husband embrace fatherhood with our daughter, I see those same qualities reflected in him. His patience, creativity, and unwavering love for her fill me with profound gratitude and admiration. He demonstrates the same dedication and tenderness that shaped my own upbringing.

Fatherhood, from my dad to my husband, is a beautiful journey of love and learning. This Father’s Day, I celebrate both the father who raised me and the father who is raising our daughter, grateful for their enduring impact on our family.

From Kathryn:

My Dad, Peter, was born in August 1915, in the same month as Gallipoli, on the same day as volunteers pledged their support for the war efforts in a Vancouver parade, and in the last year that Vancouver won the Stanley Cup!

When Dad met my Mother in his mid 40s, he stayed to introduce himself to her “date” that night, marking his territory. He proposed to her within 3 months.

He was a wonderful father and grandfather with strong convictions and always seeking a healthy debate around the dinner table!

As an only child with a more “mature” father than most, I am forever grateful for my Dad’s love and wisdom

emotions of father's day
Kathyn's dad, 3rd from left in the group photo, grew up in the Okanagan and was a big source of love and wisdom.

From Sheena:

My Dadda, always referred to as Dadda, regardless of how old I am, was the first person that I can remember that made me feel that I was smarter than I realized, more beautiful than I would ever acknowledge and that I was perfect, meant to be just as I am, rough edges and all. He’s the reason I can say that I know what it feels like to be unconditionally loved throughout my life.

From Vanessa, and referring to photo at top of this post:

I know a dad who has been doing his very best since November 2nd, 2022, the birthdate of Emilia.
I know a dad who wakes up at 5:30 in the morning each day to take care of the little monster.
I know a dad who watches a LOT of Bluey’s episodes, not by choice.
I know a dad who likes to play guitar/bass guitar (they both have their instruments).
I know a dad who is really excited to introduce her to ice skating and skiing.
I know a dad who sometimes is exhausted, being a parent can be very demanding.
But I would not replace him. He’s the best father Emilia could have.

From a team member:

I wanted to give up, I didn’t
Grow she did, years I missed
Hurt in a heart’s silent hiss.

I wanted to give up, I didn’t
Volley practices I wouldn’t miss.
Every “hey dad, I need a ride”, I’d cherish.

I wanted to give up, I didn’t.
At university, homework and presentations we rehearsed,
In camping trips and life-events we both immersed.

I wanted to give up, I didn’t.
Cherishing the happy moments we celebrated,
Cherishing the heart-breaks we navigated.

I wanted to give up, I didn’t.
From one another we’ve learned through all this.
Only in ourselves, control we can enlist.

I wanted to give up, I didn’t.
Being there tending as much as I could,
To both a child and a dad, as love would.

From Andrea:

We lost my dad in 2008 when he was only 54 years old. I still think about him every day. Normally it is with fondness and a little pang of the grief that never really goes away, but Father’s Day is always a bit of a harder day. A good blues song to sing along to, a family barbeque or a late night bonfire always makes me smile, as those were a few of his very favourite things. There is one line in a song that I love that always makes me think of him, and describes perfectly how I feel about losing him too early: “I mourn for those who never knew you.”

From Diane:

For me, Father’s Day comes, like the introduction said, with mixed emotions. As I get older, those emotions tend to be much happier, because I can reflect on three shining examples of the very best of fatherhood- my grandfather, my father-in-law and my husband. 

Vic, Jim and Stuart have little in common in terms of personality and style, but their shared values and strengths made them exceptional fathers.

My granddad was perfect- he was funny, silly, kind and loved chocolate almost as much as I do. He was a beacon of safety in my chaotic childhood. The moment I finished my final medical school exams, I called the hospital to tell him I was on my way to see him. He spoke for the first time in days and said he’d wait for me. I arrived, held his hand, told him I loved him and he passed away. He always made me feel special and loved and he still gives me strength and courage because he lives on in me.

Admittedly, my father-in-law seemed a little scary when I met him, and for a long time afterwards, but over time I came to admire and respect his remarkable qualities- his quiet strength, steadfast nature and strong moral compass deeply influenced his six children and 12 grandchildren, who adored him. I adored him too, and not just because he shared my love of Dairy Queen! He raised my husband to be an exceptional father to our two children. 

By being present, devoted, loving, encouraging, thoughtful and respectful, these three men redefined fatherhood for me. For that, I am forever grateful.

Dr. Diane McIntosh is a psychiatrist, innovator, educator, author and speaker. She is a passionate advocate for better mental health care, and a champion for all who suffer from mental health challenges.

This blog post is part of a series looking at the state of our mental healthcare system and ways we can create sustainable change to improve quality and outcomes for anyone impacted by mental illness. 


Dr. Diane McIntosh is a psychiatrist, innovator, educator, author, and speaker. She is passionate advocate for better mental health care, and a champion for all who suffer from mental health challenges.

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