Father's Day is Coming

After losing a baby, Father's Day can be one of those days that you face with mixed emotions. No matter what your circumstances are or how many living children you might have, it often is a day to stop and wonder what might have been.

For those of you with recent losses, I can tell you that I believe this days does get easier over time. Not because you forget, but because you heal. Healing is obviously the ultimate goal for all of us, because anything short of that robs us of our ability to truly enjoy life and I don't think any of our children would want that for us. The thing to keep in mind, however, is that in order to heal, you must first allow yourselves to hurt. Too many times, men think that by stuffing their pain as deep in the recesses of their mind as they can, they will be able to "skip" the grief and the hurt. I'm here to tell you that it won't work. You may be able to kid yourself for months -- or even years -- but it will almost certainly come back to bite you at some point.

So, keep a couple things in mind.

First of all -- whether you have other living children or not -- you are a dad. Try not to ever deny yourself that honor.

Secondly, consider letting the people around you know what would make this Father's Day special for you. They can't read your mind and you likely are not necessarily coming off on the outside the same way you are feeling on the inside. Some of us have a real gift for that little quality!

Finally, please accept my congratulations on being a dad, and best wishes for making this day meaningful to you. Not only do you deserve it, but your children do as well.

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for your kind words and this blog. I stop by from time to time and appreciate your guidance and point of view. It is good to see that I am not alone even though there are times when that’s all I feel.

    I am guilty of stuffing my pain in some dark corner and I agree with you—it doesn’t work. Your grief and hurt will surface when you least expect it. It has been a little over three years since my son passed but Fathers’ Day last year was the toughest. I woke up and immediately wept. I am an artist and web designer and for the past year I’ve been working hard to help my wife create both an online remembrance keepsake store and weblog in honor and of our son. I will tell you that focusing my passion and love of my son into my artwork and design allows me to spend “quality time” with him and helps me to focus on my grief. There is much work to be done but I look forward to it knowing that our son’s memory is alive with us and live on the web. I will post links below and invite you to leave your comments and feedback. Keep up the great work!

    Blog: hanamiprints.com/wordpress
    Store: hanamiprints.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for writing. You are doing a wonderful job of keeping your son's memory alive by incorporating his life into your personal and professional life. I own a graphic design and publishing company, so I'm in a similar field. We started A Place To Remember, a publishing and distribution firm focused on families who have experienced loss, and I can tell you that it's been tremendously rewarding to know that Kathleen's legacy continues on. Staying in contact with people like yourself is also a huge part of what makes this work so special. I encourage you to keep going and never lose site of the fact that your work will undoubtedly touch many others you will never know about.

    Thanks again, and I hope this Father's Day will be a little easier for you. However, never think that those tears you shed are wasted or only a sign of your sadness -- they are a huge part of the healing process, and each one honors your son.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nicholas R. PriebeJune 21, 2009 at 4:29 PM

    I lost my son on july 19th last year, and havent really grieved about it the way I should. I try to not even think about the loss, just that he is in heaven, but its still hard on days like today. Fathers day didnt seem like it'd be as hard as it is, but just having moved to minnesota from idaho, I cannot even be with my own father, and am actually spending the day alone in a place where I dont know anyone. Im 25, and thought I was strong, but reading what you said about being a father even though I lost my only child... brought tears to my eyes. sometimes I dont feel worthy enough to call myself a father, because in some way I feel is if it was my fault he didnt survive when he was born... and no matter what anyone says, I continue to feel that way. Kaedyn Nicholas Priebe will always be my son, and I thank you for showing me that I will always be his father.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Nicholas,

    Thank you for your beautiful note. I am so sorry for your loss and cannot imagine how difficult today must be for you -- especially being in a new place on your first Father's Day. I want you to know that I'm also in Minnesota (St. Paul area) and am available to talk any time.

    The one thing I can tell you without any doubt is that you are very worthy to be a father. Kaedyn's death was not your fault -- none of us could have prevented what happened to our children and the fact that we feel the sadness we do only proves one more time how much they were loved and wanted. Anyone who could express themselves as beautifully as you just did gives testimony to what a wonderful father you are.

    I can tell you that the first Father's Days after a loss are the toughest. You never forget and it will always likely be a day that holds some sadness for you. But hang tight and know that the raw pain you feel today will heal as time goes on. I know that doesn't help today, but I hope it can at least provide a little hope for tomorrow.

    You are not alone -- I think every one of us dads who have experienced a loss can especially feel the pain you expressed. It's a group none of us wanted to join, but know that we are here for each other. Thanks again for taking the time to write and I do hope you will stay in touch. Kaedyn is a very lucky little boy to have a dad like yourself, and I know you are grateful he is part of your life. Take care, Nicholas.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Not because you forget, but because you heal." One of the best lines on grief I've ever read. Well put.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I googled my sons name just for the heck of it, and I was proud that it led me to this webpage where I first talked about my son online. means alot to have this on here for me and for my son. thank you again for the support you give, it may end up saving someones life someday

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nick -- thanks for the note. The last time we were in contact I know things were pretty difficult. I hope it's getting better and that you have settled into your new surroundings. Best of luck.

    ReplyDelete