Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Father's Day

We don't have many plans for Father's Day this weekend, just as we didn't for Mother's Day. It's going to be a tough day for my husband. Bittersweet.

I just saw the following excerpt on Dana's Blog and thought it was appropriate as the Canadian Father's Day is approaching.

I would like to think that many people in our life have been very conscious of my husbands feelings and role in the loss of our son.

Of course, the emotions and connection to the situation are different. That is inevitable, but the men in our life are grieving the loss of their child as well. Grieving the future they had planned, the love they have invested in their unborn child.

My husband and I are in this together... every step of the way.

Something to think about.

A Father's Grief

"...When a child dies, very often the focus is on the mother. There is a special bond between a mother and her child, and people automatically respond to that by offering the mother comfort, condolences, hugs, shared tears and shared stories. A woman’s typical response to child loss—crying, wanting to talk, wanting to be with others who share her sorrow, lends itself to having others gather round in a circle of support.

The father’s experience may be very different. After his son died, a friend wrote, “It didn’t take long to realize that grief for the father of a child was going to be different. When the first people started coming to the house after the death of our son, the question seemed to ring, Where is your wife? How is she doing? In their minds they realized she had lost a son. She would be grieving the loss. She would be having a hard time, but as for me, the father, they seemed to think I wouldn’t miss him at all. There seemed to be a consensus that the mother suffers the loss but the father doesn’t. Neighbors would walk by me on their way to see my wife. They would comfort her. ‘We are so sorry,’ they would say. ‘Is there anything we can do? How hard this must be for you.’ All this time I stood there too.”

...After the initial overwhelming sorrow, often accompanied by tears, he accepts the obvious fact that their child is gone. He may struggle with overwhelming guilt—as the protector, he perceives that he has failed. His child has died and he did not prevent this from happening, but instead allowed this terrible grief and loss to touch his family. Unrealistic as this is, it can be an overwhelming burden, driven home by the constant tears and grief of his wife. He wants her to understand that he did not mean for this to happen, and he may redouble his efforts at supporting his family, caring for them, working long hours and being the best possible provider, all the while knowing that nothing he does can bring the child back...

Men often express their love and grief through projects, whether or not related directly to the lost child. He may build a fountain in the yard, or finish the deck where his child had so looked forward to playing. He may be interested in joining an effort such as a benefit run to help defeat the disease that took his child. If communication is open between parents, common ground can be found where both can work together on something mutually healing, thus drawing them closer together. Communication is the key that allows everyone to grieve in their own way while being supported by the rest of the family..."

written by
Carol A. Ranney
Family Grief & Bereavement Examiner


Bree said...

That is so true. I've had to remind myself so many times that it is okay for my husband to grieve differently than me.
He did ask me what we were going to do for Father's Day. So, I know he wants to be acknowledged. Which made me happy. Now I just have to think of something sweet to do.

margaret said...

I'm dreading Father's Day this year. I have no idea what to do for Shane that acknowledges the loss of our son. I'm stumped. I'm also dreading how he may feel on that day knowing how I felt on Mother's Day. I think it's wonderful that people are starting to realize and acknowledge the father's grief too...Such a sad, sad situation we're all in. I wish I could fix it for each and every one of us. Then these holidays wouldn't be an issue...Love you.

Anonymous said...

They often get forgotten in this and I know for Norm he worries about me on top of his grief. I wish it were all so different for all of us. Much love.

Courtney said...

What amazing words. I will be on bed rest this weekend so Jason is going to make a visit out to see the boys with his father. We will probably just do dinner as his brother and sister -in- law will be in town as well.

I will be thinking of your DH during his special day. I know little Nicholas will be watching over his daddy!

Jen said...

I just have tears running down my face. The article reminds me of some of the words that my hubby has spoken since Lily died, and it breaks my heart.

I hope father's day is a peaceful day for your family, although our families will never ever be complete again. Will they?

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