A Grieving Father’s Thoughts This Father’s Day

Grieving Father on Father's Day

Though each day in 2020 seems so very similar, we can check the calendar and see if we have an appointment to keep (with a mask?) or a birthday to celebrate (with a drive-by parade?) and even a graduation celebration (with just a card?).  And coming soon is Father’s Day.  

How is that for dads who are grieving the loss of a child?  One can do a search to see there are helpful suggestions for being ready and for coping.  But perhaps that becomes just an additional “To Do” list.  It seems a good time to listen to a father’s voice, instead.

“Father’s Day is very tough for me.  My son died a few days before Father’s Day so his anniversary will forever surround this holiday.  He got sick the day that his daycare made the Father’s Day finger paintings, and thus never got to make one.  I’m reminded of this each time I see the Mother’s Day painting we have hung on the wall in our home, with no Father’s Day one next to it.

Our plan for that day was to take him to get ice cream and share a milkshake or an ice cream cone.

Over time I have learned to be grateful for having been his father for the short period he was alive.  Though, I do struggle from time to time over questions like, ‘Was I the best father I could have been to him?’ and similar questions I hear from other grieving parents especially along the themes of regret and guilt.  Sadly, I still find it a difficult challenge to stay proud to be a father, when my child has died.  I think it is possible at times, but still very hard.

My hope for myself as well as other grieving fathers is to find time (even if only a few minutes) on that day to recall the wonderful moments that fatherhood has brought us.  As grieving parents we have fewer of these moments to recall than other parents – we of course wish that we had a continuous stream of new moments to draw from, instead of a fixed amount.  But the wonderful moments we have are wonderful, nonetheless, and are worth cherishing regardless of quantity.

Thinking of all grieving fathers on Father’s Day this year.”

Thank you, Kevin.  May this day on the calendar give you and all dads a moment to be reminded that your love for your child lives on.