Feeling Alone on Father's Day
Written by Clara Hinton | May 24, 2007
When we use the name father, several thoughts automatically
come to mind. Strong. Protector. Problem solver. Guardian.
Wise. Open arms. Tender. Loving. Forgiving. Always there.
A father takes great pride in living up to these expectations.
In fact, you can watch most any fatherís posture change to
reflect the characteristics of being the strong one, the leader,
and the fixer of problems for his children.
When a child dies, a fatherís world is turned upside down.
Losing a child is something that nobody can fix Ė not even
a father. There is a sense of failure and guilt that washes
over a father time and time again. He no longer feels like
he is the glue that holds the family together. A father
experiences many different emotions when his child dies,
but he is very seldom able to verbally express those emotions.
Men grieve quite differently than women. This is a fact
that we now acknowledge, yet in society we tend to
question a father in grief if he does not openly talk about
his loss and pain. Verbalization of emotions is a difficult
thing to do for most men, especially for a father that has
lost his child.
When Fatherís Day approaches, there are many feelings of
loss and failure that are experienced. Pictures of fathers
interacting with their happy, healthy children are found
everywhere Ė in stores, on television, in magazines, and
in the newspaper. Most churches give special lessons
dedicated to fathers, but very little recognition is ever
given to the father that has gone through child loss.
By planning ahead for the difficult emotions of Fatherís
Day a father can cope much better. Plan a project such
as planting a flower garden in memory of your child.
Build a memorial bench and stencil your childís name
on it. Write a letter to your child expressing your
thoughts, then release the letter with a balloon.
Above all else, remember that you will always be a
father! Be especially kind to yourself as you prepare
for the array of emotions you will experience on Fatherís
Day. As you work through these feelings of loss, you
are taking steps forward towards healing in this difficult
journey we call grief!