Fathers Grieve Too
This Sunday is Father’s Day, and much like Mother’s Day, it is not an esteemed holiday in our house. Those two holidays are brutal reminders of what we have lost in the midst of other people’s festivities and Facebook posts about how grateful they are for their blessed lives. While we have much to be thankful for, and Will and I are both so glad to be called Mother and Father, these holidays still cut pretty deep. It’s like someone taking a scalpel to your surgical scar that’s been healing pretty well and reopening it just enough to remind you of the pain. When I asked my husband what specifically is painful for him, he said it’s that the best part of Father’s Day is being with your children, so for three to be missing is a terrible feeling. It always reminds him of what our family would have / could have / should have been.
As the years have passed, Father’s Day has become a little less painful for my husband. The first year, he skipped church and went into the woods to walk, pray, and yell at God. The next two years he was traveling on Father’s Day, so he was able to keep busy and ignore that it was even happening for the most part. So this year will be the first proper Father’s Day for him since Hope died. He will be preaching at our church and doing his normal Sunday set-up and tear-down duties, but I hope that we can make him feel loved and special that night. I hope that we can take the edge off the pain with a thoughtful gift and a good meal. And this year is also special because in about two weeks, we will be ready to receive our first foster child. This year, there is hope for the future and expectation for things to come. This year, Hope’s life and death have led us to open our home to children in need. It feels like our story is coming full circle; redemption is happening.
I am so grateful for Will and how he has handled his grief. I know some fathers really struggle with expressing emotion after losing a child, and I’m so glad that Will went to counseling with me for months and talked with me night after night about how we were coping and surviving. He worked through his pain while being my rock to lean on, and I am so proud of the man that he is. My heart aches when I think of what he is missing because Hope isn’t here; he would have been such a wonderful daddy to a little girl. He would have been the hit of the father-daughter dances with his ballroom dancing skills, and I know Hope’s face would have just lit up to have her daddy twirl her around. He would have been at every dance recital, soccer game, spelling bee, etc. He would have taught our boys how to treat their sister with kindness and respect and gentleness. He would have been her hero, her stability, her model by which to judge all future suitors. I hate that I will never get to see him walk her down the aisle with tears streaming down his face.
Happy Father’s Day, Will. We love you and appreciate you so much. Thank you for guiding our family through both tremendous grief and joyous expectation. And Happy Father’s Day to all the other bereaved fathers – you have been through unspeakable tragedy and deserve to be seen, comforted, and remembered. I pray God gives you strength to get though this hard day, and I hope that your stories will also include pieces of joy, hope, peace, and redemption.
is a wife to Will and mom to two beautiful boys on earth (Matti and Sammy) and three precious babies in heaven (Hope, Jonah, and January). She is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys writing, reading good books, cooking new recipes, and playing piano. She lives in central Texas now but was born and raised in Georgia. She and her husband are now in the adoption process and can't wait to see what God has in store for their family.
Lauren is also a Doula serving in the San Antonio area, supporting women before, during and after birth. Click here for more info