I’ll be honest-I bristle more than a little bit when people suggest that bereaved fathers don’t feel grief as deeply as bereaved mothers.
They absolutely do.
The problem is that, as a group, bereaved fathers are less likely to make their feelings known, less likely to talk about the impact grief has on their lives and less likely to allow others into their private world of pain and sorrow.
For that reason, fathers are often overlooked grievers.
But they shouldn’t be.
Dads aren’t bystanders in the shattered world of child loss-they are participants as parents of a son or daughter whom they love just as much as any mother.
So just like Mother’s Day is hard for moms, Father’s Day is hard for them.
I belong to a number of closed online bereaved parent groups.
I’m not sure if it is a function of gender or not, but the moms seem to be a bit more willing to share their feelings and to respond to the feelings of others.
Every now and then, a dad speaks up. When he does, I usually pay close attention to this male perspective.
Wes Lake is a bereaved dad in our group who often has thoughtful posts that touch my heart. This one in particular was a beautiful, true and helpful reflection so I asked him for permission to share.
He graciously agreed.
” [I was] just thinking about 5 years down this road and some of the things I’ve learned:
Grief doesn’t usually kill you.
For a long time I wished the Lord would take me but apparently he had other plans because I’m still here. So if I’m still alive what choice do I have but to pick up the pieces of a shattered life and learn to live again. Yes, I’m severely disabled but I need to make the best of what I have.
It is not the hand your dealt, it is about how you play the cards.
I have learned not to trust my emotions.
I will have the blackest of black days and a day later the world will look like there is hope. Nothing in child loss good or bad is forever other than the loss of our child.
On the bad days I hold out hoping for a better day.
Time does heal but not in a way that most people think.
Time shows you all the sides of grief. Time teaches you your limitations. Time helps you to stuff the grief so you can function again. Time shows you how to interact with a non-grieving world.
You don’t grieve any less, but your life gets easier.
One other one not part is of the OP [overall process]-I had to come to grips with being happy.
For a long time I felt that experiencing the slightest sliver of joy was somehow being unfaithful to my daughter. I’m here to tell you that is a huge lie of grief. Just because you are experiencing good things does not mean you miss your child any less.