“Father’s Day Plans”

Father’s Day Plans

Last Friday night I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak at a local chapter of the Compassionate Friends. I conducted my “Father’s…..The Forgotten Parent” workshop in front of about thirty bereaved parents. Although I speak to bereaved parents quite often, it still breaks my heart when they go around the room for introductions and to tell their story. The pain is raw and it is real. People are just looking for some sign of hope. Maybe it is something someone says that evening that will give them something to hold on to until the next meeting. These are people at their most humbled moment. There is no ego or one-upmanship going on. Just people who are sad and hurting and wanting someone to help them out of the despair they find themselves in.

My workshop is set up to be interactive so it is not just me speaking; the idea is to get others comfortable with telling their story and to talk about some of the issues they are dealing with. However, in order for people to become comfortable with me, I have to be transparent with my thoughts and experiences. So I will often tell my stories, some will bring tears and other will bring a smile or laughter when I talk about some of the crazy things I did during my really dark days. Things most people in the room can relate with on some level.

As part of this workshop I usually will have a “discussion” session about a particular topic. At this particular workshop I asked the question “What are you plans for Father’s Day?”. I was surprised to hear silence in the room. Many of the parents are newly bereaved and this is their first Father’s day without their child. A lot of them haven’t allowed themselves to even think about that question. While others haven’t given it much thought, hoping the day will just come and go.

The discussion then unexpectedly turned to me. An elderly lady that was there said that was a great question and then ask me “what are you doing for Father’s Day?”. It kind of took me off guard and I laughed and told her “only I can ask the questions”. I really didn’t have an answer other than just spending time with my wife. I personally want people to acknowledge me as a father on this day, but I know most people (other than my wife) will not. I don’t expect them to. Most people are afraid that a Happy Father’s Day wish will upset someone that has lost a child. This could be the case with some, but not me.

Here are a couple of questions for you to think about as we approach Father’s Day. Please share your thoughts.

What do plan on doing for Father’s Day?

How to you want others to handle you on Father’s Day?

Do you want a card and well wishes?

Will you go to breakfast with family?

Do you want to embrace the day as a father or try to avoid the pain of the loss?

Will you reach out to a child that doesn’t have a father?

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This entry was posted in Bereaved, Courage, Crying, Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Despair, Devastation, Emotions, Fathers Day, Grief, Healing, Holidays, Hope, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Loss of a Son, Pain, Words of Encouragement. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to “Father’s Day Plans”

  1. Richard says:

    Little background so that you may understand my answer better.

    I lost my toddler son three months ago to SIDS.
    I’m still trying to cope and it’s not easy and depression is still kicking my butt hard.
    I’m just filled with regrets and could haves and would haves at the moment..

    What do plan on doing for Father’s Day?
    As it is on a Sunday, I will go to church and talk to God if he will listen to me. Then spend time with my father then visit all of my uncles.

    How to you want others to handle you on Father’s Day?
    I honestly don’t know. I would get upset if not recognized but sad if I am.

    Do you want a card and well wishes?
    Maybe from my wife.

    Will you go to breakfast with family?
    Yes they are all I have in this world.

    Do you want to embrace the day as a father or try to avoid the pain of the loss?
    Like I mentioned in question two, I’m confused on what I want right now. Pain is still so raw, it’s unbearable.

    Will you reach out to a child that doesn’t have a father?
    If I can find one then yes, I would.

    Richard from S. Florida

    • steven stuart says:

      Richard,

      I also lost my son to SIDS a little over 3 months ago now (March 2nd to be exact), so I can relate to what you are feeling and thinking. If you even want to talk and have another Dad to listen and let you vent, email me and I will give you my number.

      Steven

      steven.m.stuart@gmail.com

  2. John Wolfe says:

    I’ve had a unique opportunity during this week leading up to Father’s Day as I’m in transition from one job to another. With me not working and my wife away at work, I’ve had a lot of alone time to think about how I feel about the upcoming Father’s day. (For the sake of those that don’t know or are new here, I lost my 23-year-old daughter in late December 2010.)

    To be honest, I’ve never really considered the “holiday” to be all that big a deal in my life, with the exception of calling my own Father and making sure he knows we care about him. When my Father-in-law was alive, he would also be included in the obligatory phone calls, but I don’t think either of my dads have given much consideration to the day either.

    But I realized that it’s not really about us Dad’s, it’s more about the children. It’s about providing a way for them to let their fathers know that they are appreciated and loved. While it may seem pompous or arrogant to some,
    I have always known that my daughter loved and appreciated me. She showed me that countless times as she was growing up through her thoughts and actions in and out of school, her choice in friends, her creativity, her love of music, and the zillions of hugs she gave me over the years…so why all the hoopla over Father’s Day?

    Heck, the question almost answers itself! If I look hard and deep into my memory and look at pictures of when she was 5-, 9-, 13-years-old, The look on her face as I opened up that Father’s Day present she spent a lot of time picking out and/or making with her own two hands says it all…it’s about the children. I can’t believe I missed that all these years.It’s about them being able to set aside a special day in time where they can actually TELL their dad he is special and loved and appreciated.

    By the way, the same goes for Mother’s Day, although it’s a little bit different for Mothers, if you know what I mean. Father’s being male, they typically are less emotional than Mothers, and therefore tend to downplay their role…myself included.

    But I have no regrets. My wife and I raised a very fine, well-educated, smart young woman. We were blessed to see her marry a very fine, well-educated, smart young man. I will have no more true Father’s Days as she was our only child. My epiphiny came too late.
    —————————————————————
    So to quickly answer Kelly’s questions:

    What do plan on doing for Father’s Day? – Keeping true to form, it will be just another day for me.

    How to you want others to handle you on Father’s Day? – Just be themselves. If they want to wish me a Happy Father’s Day, please do so, if not, that’s okay too. Just don’t treat me with kid’s gloves.

    Do you want a card and well wishes? – see question #2

    Will you go to breakfast with family? – It will be just my wife and I and I hope to make us some breakfast at home.

    Do you want to embrace the day as a father or try to avoid the pain of the loss? – Yes to both.

    Will you reach out to a child that doesn’t have a father? – No
    —————————————————————-

    John Wolfe
    Sanger, TX

  3. Bryan says:

    This will be my first Father’s Day without Charlie. I’ve been dreading this day for a while now b/c I don’t have the answers to most of the questions you posted, let alone thousands of other questions.

    What do plan on doing for Father’s Day?
    I plan on going to the cemetery when it opens in the morning to spend some time alone with Charlie. I also have a Christening for my cousin’s baby in the afternoon that I am uncommitted to attend but leaning towards not going. We’ll see how I’m feeling.

    How do you want others to handle you on Father’s Day?
    I want others to recognize that I am still a father to my Charlie in heaven and my Danny here on earth. My biggest fear is people forgetting about Charlie and I want everyone to recognize him for as long as I live.

    Do you want a card and well wishes?
    Sure, I guess. I don’t want people to ignore me or fear interacting with me on this day. If that means they get me a card then so be it.

    Will you go to breakfast with family?
    Maybe. We don’t have any solid plans but I imagine once I get back from the cemetery I can see my wife, Danny, and myself catching some eggs at our local diner. Nothing extraordinary or significant. Of course, it will be both of those b/c Charlie won’t be there. God do I miss him.

    Do you want to embrace the day as a father or try to avoid the pain of the loss?
    100% yes to both. If that makes any sense at all. I go to the pain b/c it gives me a sense of attachment to Charlie. I can’t avoid the pain b/c it’s everywhere. So why bother fighting it/hiding from it? Danny is too young, 9 months, to have any idea it’s Father’s Day but I still want to spend time with him and try to enjoy it.

    Will you reach out to a child that doesn’t have a father?
    If I have the opportunity but can’t see that happening.

    All I know is that I miss Charlie so much that it physically hurts me. It’s been 5 months since he went to heaven.

    • Steven Stuart says:

      Brian,

      First, let me say that I am terribly sorry to hear of your loss. It pains me to know that other fathers and families are living the same hell as my wife and I.

      Second, I lost my son on March 2nd of this year, so it is my year of “firsts” without him as well, so if you ever need someone to listen, feel free to email me and I will give you my number.

      Steven

      steven.m.stuart@gmail.com

  4. Steven Stuart says:

    Well, these are some interesting questions…some of which I have thought about, some not until I read them…so here goes.

    What do plan on doing for Father’s Day?

    I plan on taking my daughter out to spend time just being her father. I will have my son with me as well as I wear a bracelet with his name engraved on it so I can carry him with me wherever I go.

    How to you want others to handle you on Father’s Day?

    I want others to just be as normal as possible and to remember that I have two children, my daughter who is not closing in on 4 years old, and my son who would be 5 1/2 months this father’s day.

    Do you want a card and well wishes?

    I asked my wife to get a card from the children since my daughter really wants to do something fun for her daddy.

    Will you go to breakfast with family?

    Nope. I will do what I always do, and that is cook breakfast at home. My daughter helps me scramble the eggs and butter the toast, and I love it every single time…especially the times when she makes a mess of her and me.

    Do you want to embrace the day as a father or try to avoid the pain of the loss?

    I plan on embracing the day and the pain. Embracing the day is important to know that I can get through another first without Colin. Embracing the pain means I can no be as afraid or angry as I was the day/week/month before.

    Will you reach out to a child that doesn’t have a father?

    If the opportunity were to arise, yes I would. That will just depend on where the days events take me.

  5. Dustin says:

    We still have a son that is 27, he is mentally challenged an will be with us for life,and one that is 21and quit college he lost his sister and fiancee, our baby girl was 18 , Honor Roll , top of her class, just started college.
    sheesh i don,t know what to say .
    Take care Kelly, and everyone on here.
    Dustin

  6. Dustin says:

    Kelly and every one that post .
    I will be working nights again, but Delana will not send me a text an picture this year on Fathers Day as she did last year.

  7. Bridget Goudy says:

    I really enjoy your postings, I know how wonderful the workshops are to parents who have lost a child, I do not know what I would have done without my bereavement groups when I lost Courtney and Jacob, and to answer your question I do think mothers and fathers should be accknowledged on these specials holidays so to speak, after all nothing can take away you being a parent. I think it is a very personal choice on how you choose to spend the day or get through it as we all know but I wanted to wish you a very special fathers day and thank you again for this site. Bridget Goudy

  8. I am not sure what I will do. That day in particular, we will be sending our middle son to church camp in Destin. I will most likely settle in and give thought to my Angel Girl with my wife. I am not sure how my emotions will set up as I will be just over a week shy of that life changing day. I will have to get back to you as to how I fared.

    God bless,
    Michael

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