Sunday, June 21, 2015

Another Father's Day

Father’s Day is often a forgotten holiday, overshadowed by the longer standing tribute to mothers. But for the bereaved father, it is a poignant reminder of the bittersweet memory of a loved, now lost, child; bitter for the death and pain and recognition of the inability to stop what happened. Fathers do not often have a chance to share their hurts and concerns. Oftentimes they are unable to do so.

Every father believes in his role as protector of his family. He has been assigned the job of fixer and problem solver. He has been told since his youngest days that he must be strong…and must not cry. But each father among us has had to face that point where no amount of fixing, problem solving, and protecting has been able to stop their child’s death.”

One father says that being a good dad was the thing he did best in his life. He now honors his child’s memory by helping others in the same situation and by talking about him and doing things his child liked to do like attend football games at his high school and wearing his favorite clothes. He is making a personal, private statement that his son still matters to him.

Another father says it took him many years to accept the death of his child, but he has now moved on. “When my daughter was alive, she, with the help of my wife, made a big deal about Father’s Day, always serving me breakfast in bed, giving me a little gift and spending quality time with me. Knowing and understanding how I feel, my wife continues to make it a special day. One of the things we do is visit her grave and tell her what we did that day. At home we light a candle in her memory.

Still another father, who lost his only son, says he wasn’t prepared for how hard that first year without his child would be. He had difficulties concentrating at work and challenges regarding his wife understanding his feelings. What helped was knowing he had been blessed to be a father and would always love and remember all the good times they had together. Death could not take that away from him.

Perhaps this Father’s Day should be a time when family members, whoever they are, give Dad a hug, do something special, help with the chores, and most of all, let him know how important, needed and loved he is.

Happy Father’s Day to all.

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