To the bereaved child, who is a child to a father who is not alive. Whose television and radio are currently filled with advertisers telling you to buy all kinds of gifts and symbols of appreciation for your Dad. Questioning whether you love your Dad and challenging you to show just how much you love him by spending, spending, spending. Knowing that your Dad is gone and that you can’t do or buy any of those things for him, no matter how much you may want to.
You are his child. This is your day. You are seen. Your loss matters.
To the bereaved father, who is a father to a child who is not alive. Who grieves each of his child’s milestones, knowing that his child will never have an opportunity to experience those special achievements. Knowing that he will never celebrate this day with his child.
You are a father. This is your day. You are seen. Your loss matters.
To the men who will spend this Father’s Day somewhere between life and death. Half smiling and warm feeling, as you are showered by the love and appreciation of your family. Half pulled toward remembrance, aching heart and longing for the father or the child you have lost.
This is your day. You are seen. Your loss matters.
To two of my dearest friends, whose fathers were lost the same year as my Mom. I love you. Happy Father’s Day. This is your day. Your Dads are deeply missed. They matter more with each passing day.
To my own Dad. I love you.
To a lifelong friend, who lost his Dad at 12 years of age. Who, when asked how he handles this day each year, was kind enough to offer the following: I refuse to let this day be about Dad being gone. Instead, like I always have, I ask my Dad for help. Almost as instantly as I say “hey Dad, how do you want to celebrate this year?” I hear the answer in my heart. By changing how I approach this day each year, I feel a much deeper sense of connection to my Dad, rather than the crippling sense of loss I would have otherwise felt. I choose to a different story.
“One of the most healing actions we can take as we approach this day is to be willing to release the reality in which our dominant story is one of loss. Yes, my father is no longer here in the physical form, but if I attach myself to that reality it seems almost impossible to find any sense of joy in the day.” (Miko, A. 2016) Regardless how you choose to spend Father’s Day, believe you will make it through the day. With time, grief softens. Believe you will find yourself one day in a space where you can rewrite your story – in a way that allows you to both grieve and celebrate Father’s Day at the same time.