Nastia never met her father after he was sent to prison when she was just two. We almost did. We invited him to meet us when we flew over to see Anya for the first time, but it proved too overwhelming a task for him. Nast was not particularly upset at the time, but when we got word a year later, in August 2007, that he had died, she wept. 'I never got to meet my father..' she whispered, and then turned away from me to cry.
In the years since both their deaths, Father's Day has become a bittersweet day for us. We take time to talk about our dads, and talk about what they might be doing now, and we talk about seeing them again someday. We look at pictures, we laugh, imagining them together now, meeting as kindred spirits on the other side.
In some ways, sharing the loss of our fathers has brought us closer together. Losing a dad-- whether he raised you or not -- is a profound loss. No one gets it until they experience it themselves. It's the club no one wants to join.
And now we're home, looking at pictures of our dads and looking forward to the day when we are in their presence again. Love you both...
(top photo, my dad, Robert Ellis Cahill, in 2005. Next photo, Nastia's dad, Alexander 'Sasha' Poluyanov, in 1991)