Monday, June 18, 2012

“Father’s Day – Conflict”

Here we are, another event that is about to occur that triggers emotions in men that have lost a child (or have lost a dad for that matter), Father’s Day. Since I have lost two children during different times of the year, I have the pleasure of dealing with multiple event triggers throughout the year. It seems like my wife and I are constantly thinking about birthdays, death days, Holidays, Father’s and Mother’s Day.

I was telling my wife that I was struggling with writing a topic about Father’s Day this year. I was looking for something profound to write about, something that will strike a cord and be different from other Father’s Day topics. My wife said, “Why, does it have to be “so powerful, speak from the heart and the truth about these types of days.”” Excellent point. As our conversation went on, we started to discuss how for her, Mother’s Day is an internal conflict. She wants to be recognized as a mother, but she also struggles with the fact she has no living children.

I thought about that for a while and I have to say this internal conflict occurs on most of these trigger days. You do not want anyone to forget you are a father or that you have lost a child, but it’s also is a tough day. Bittersweet from the standpoint that I am proud to be their daddy, but it’s hard not to be able to spend the day with them or get a phone call wishing you Happy Father’s Day. I often get annoyed during these times because I rarely get a Father’s Day wish from my direct family, but I know others in the family are receiving them. It’s like since my children are dead, I am no longer a Father. That is the conflict, I know they don’t believe that, but sometimes I allow myself to think they do. It goes back to the internal struggle of do we acknowledge the day or do we not.

Over the years, my wife and I have decided to acknowledge these days by giving cards that are not only from each other, but also from Katie and Noah. Sure it triggers emotion, but is that such a bad thing? I have come to learn that it’s not. I believe they deserve for me to feel the pain of losing them. I don’t mean all day, every day, but just for a moment.

I was on a phone call yesterday with a guy that I do business with as part of my job. I know he lost a baby to SIDS 25 years ago. I asked him, “How are you with Father’s Day?” He responded with “I am ok with it, it took me a while to get to the point, but it doesn’t trigger the emotion it did early on”. I thought about what he said and I agreed with what he said. Although the day was tough early on, it has become a day where I feel a strong sense of pride to be the dad of my two beautiful babies. I love the feeling of being their dad. Yeah, I wish they were here to spend the day with me, but I know they’re with me in other ways.

Wishing each and every one of you a Happy Father’s Day.

How do you plan on spending Father’s Day this year?