Joseph A. Pinto

barflypoet & author of dark fiction

Sunday, June 17, 2012 will be my fifth Father’s Day without my own father. He passed on June 28, 2007 after a fifteen month war against pancreatic cancer. In many ways, a part of me died that day as well. In many ways, the very fiber of who I was…and who I continually evolve into…was altered forever. How could it not be when you witness Superman succumb to his only kryptonite.

I wrote this post last year, but it became so important to me that I’ve decided to post it again. I just might do it every time this year. It lends me power. It reminds me that when a hero passes, there must be another to take his mantle. In this world, for our children, there must be greater things to believe in. There must be greater legacies to uphold.

So I dedicate this to all the fathers today. Both living…and gone. Children need superheroes.

Even if they’ve grown…

early four years ago, I had an opportunity to take my dad to lunch for Father’s Day. He ordered a big bowl of pasta, if memory serves me correctly, but he didn’t eat all that much, if anything at all. My recollection of those days has long since browned along the edges. But I do remember that I promised him an espresso & black sambuca over dessert. He wasn’t supposed to drink alcohol anymore, but he didn’t care. Neither did I. I don’t make many promises. But a promise is a promise. And I never break a promise.

Two weeks later, my dad passed away after a long war with pancreatic cancer.

I did make one other promise to my dad. Growing up, I always had the suspicion my father was a superhero of some sort. The man was capable of doing anything. Sadly, it wasn’t until he grew sick that his guard lowered, the truth ready to be learned. While he lay sleeping, I peeked under his hospital bed. There lay a dusty pair of boots. Across them, a red cape. I took them gently from beneath the bed, hugged them close. One last time, I kissed my father upon the head. Then I returned home & hid them where no soul would ever look. And I vowed that they would stay hidden, until I had a child of my own. Until I was man enough to fill those boots & wear that cape, until my child knows of the superhero their grandpa was. Until Superman can fly again.

Four long years ago I made that promise. And a year after that, I whispered one more to my little girl the day she was born. I don’t make many promises. But a promise is a promise.

And I never break a promise.

Eventually, my daughter will learn she was born into a family of heroes. For now, she only needs to know I’m daddy.

Father’s Day is nearly here, so if you’ll excuse me, I must go. I need some time for myself. There’s something I need to take from hiding. Four long years, and now the day has come. Time to honor one life, & then live for another.

Finally, I’m ready.

At last, time to fly.

20 thoughts on “A Promise Is A Promise (revisited)

  1. Minnie says:


    First I want to wish you a very happy Father’s Day!

    I read this post last year when you published it and am now re-reading it on my phone, in bed. My Superman passed away 3 months after a debilitating stroke 7 years ago this coming September. I was lucky, you not so much.

    It’s hard to watch your hero fight that way, but you wanna know something? Seeing that kind of battle makes for a special, loving, sensitive parent.

    You are now your daughter’s Superman. So dust off your cape, go show your little angel the superhero that you are and keep your Dad in your heart. He will give you the super powers you need!


    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Hi Minnie. My prayers to you on this day as well – I hope you spend it with a big, warm smile on your face. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  2. This is a lovely post Joe. Both sad and uplifting. The loss of your superhero is heart shattering, but the light of a little girl whose life will be filled with the efforts of a man such as yourself striving to be her superhero is beautiful. Just a little secret shared from someone else’s daughter to another little girls father – you don’t need to dust anything off – the sparkle and the shine is always there, this day and all others.

    Pain and loss are parts of us we carry forever, but the life you’ve given to this world in the in the form of a beautiful young girl, and the way you will nurture that gift, is the salve that heals those wounds.

    Always honor the past, but live in the now. And know that you don’t need to be a superhero, you already are in her eyes – and forever will be.

    Happy Father’s Day Joe!

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Thank you very much, Nina. Kind words and beautiful thoughts from you seem to be the norm. There are some days and moments that this cape seem too much to bear. But borrowing from another superhero: With great power comes great responsibility

  3. Paul D. Dail says:

    Hey Joseph,

    I think you must have been one of the first people I met when I started blogging because I remember you talking about this last Father’s Day, and I had just started blogging a week or so earlier. And I think you saw my comments at Hunter’s blog. While I know it’s not nearly the same, watching my father, who was always the hard working, tough as nails cowboy in my young eyes, get diagnosed with Parkinson’s has been in the top two hardest things I’ve had to deal with.

    My thoughts are with you and your family, my friend. I’m sure you were worthy of the cape long before you decided you were, and I’m guessing your father would agree.

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Hi Paul. I wish your dad all the best. My only advice is to be strong as you can humanly be for him, and to project that strength and love to him. He will feel it. Of that I have no doubt. Thank you for your kind words. They are much appreciated.

  4. Daemonwulf says:

    Hey Joe. I hope your Father’s Day is going well for you and, perhaps more importantly, your daughter. This is a very touching post that will stay with me for a very long time, if not forever.

    If your Super Dad was anything like you (and I am sure he was, and likely had something to do with the you being the you you’ve become…), I am confident he is proud you 5 years on and ecstatic that you’re giving new life to his old suit and wearing it so well. Sincerely, D/T.

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      I appreciate that D/T…but I don’t think I can wear his suit anymore. That’s just the thing: my dad filled his suit in his own way. I need to tailor my own. Thank you for your support, my dear wulven friend ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Joseph,

    I was truly touched by the admiration and honor you give your father. You are blessed to have had such a wonderful man touch your life in a way that positively touches the lives of your children. Now, the superhero lives on in you!

    Thank you for sharing!


    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Thank you kindly for reading my post (and my blog), Laurie. I may be a horror writer, but I like to think that I will surprise people with the amount of “heart” I display. Trust me, it’s not for show. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Hi Joe,
    I’m not ashamed to say that I’m reading this at my office desk with tears in my eyes. Every Father’s Day I am reminded of all my friend’s who have lost their dad and how each year there is yet another person I know who is blogging, tweeting or just quietly reflecting on the superhero they have lost.
    I am in no doubt that you wear those boots and cape very well.
    Thank you for a beautiful post,
    Linzi x

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Hi Linzi! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you so much! I hope my post reflects well on father’s reading it, as well as those thinking of their own fathers.

      And I have very large boots to fill, trust me.

  7. Adriana Noir says:

    This brought tears to my eyes and touched me on a very deep level. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to lose a parent, but it seems as if the best of him lives on in you. You’re not only an amazing writer, but a wonderful friend. Your love for your little one shines through here and this was a beautiful tribute to your father. Not all dads are heros, but the good ones certainly are.

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      I really appreciate that, Adri. There are days I feel I can barely stand, let alone fly. But words ring hollow if written without conviction. I’m happy that you’ve gotten the chance to “glimpse” who I am beyond the horror writer; and thank you, I can say with pride that you are a good friend, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. cristinstorm says:


    Beautful my friend. I hope you did enjoy your day with your #1 girl. Remember, the best of him lives through you, and the suit will fit you perfectly, because everyone needs a hero, and you are an amazing father to a super little girl. the suit will always fit, and you will feel your dad right inside you, burning bright whenever you wear it. Keep doing what you do, you obviously are doing it right (now, for some tissues.)

    Cristin #WhoDat

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Cristin, thank you so much! I’m trying…Lord knows I’m trying…be easier if I had a field manual to superhero-hood…then again, I always choose ‘flying’ by the seat of my pants ๐Ÿ™‚

      Who Dat!

  9. blazemcrob says:

    Hi Joe;

    I remember this well from last year. Great post then; great post now.

    Your Dad must have been a remarkable man, and you are remarkable as well for honoring him the way you do. He would be proud of you today.

    Give your adorable daughter a hug for me.


    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Thank you Blaze. You’ve always been a gentleman commenting about both my father and daughter and that has never gone unappreciated by me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. rosereads says:

    Everytime, I read this post I fall in love with it more and more. Children do need superheroes. Mine is my step-dad Denny. He taught me what it was really like to have a father that cared. Thank you once again for sharing your heart with us.

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Thank you Lu! And thank you for always taking the time to read this post ๐Ÿ™‚

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