I am not sure if it’s the cloudy, rainy and cool spring here in the upper Midwest or something else that’s causing the rut I have been in for the last 2-3 weeks. Either way, I hate this feeling.
This time of year is also difficult for me for a couple different reasons other than desperate need for spring to arrive. It generally starts with April 23rd. This day is my daughter Katie’s birthday. She would have been 6 this year and just finishing up kindergarten. This year, April 23rd fell on Easter weekend. Easter always makes me think about my kids and how we would have spent this day. Maybe attending church service in their new Easter clothes and spending the afternoon looking for Easter eggs hidden around the yard after Easter brunch. I feel cheated that I never was able to enjoy these kinds of days with my beautiful babies.
This year on Katie’s’ birthday my wife’s aunt, uncle and cousin were visiting for Easter. I think they were a little surprised when we mentioned that we were celebrating Katie’s birthday with cake and a balloon release that we do every year. We all stood in our backyard and released 6 pink balloons and watched them until they disappeared. Our final release was a single blue balloon for my son Noah. We didn’t want him to feel left out of the party. However, when we released the blue balloon I started to weep. It usually hits me when we sing Happy Birthday, but this year I made it to the balloon release. I also noticed that everyone standing around me was also crying. Not that I want others to feel my pain, but it was nice to see others participate in this ritual and find it as powerful and moving as my wife and I do.
Of course Mother’s Day is a difficult day for me. Mainly because I know that my wife really struggles with it. I want to acknowledge her as the wonderful loving mommy that she is, but I also do not want to inflict pain on her by making too big of a deal over the day. I usually ask her how she wants me to approach it. It is always tough for me to go to the local card shop and try to find a Mother’s Day card that is vague in nature. I usually sign it from me, both of our angel babies (Katie and Noah) and our dog Buddy. Yesterday was that day and we survived it by hanging out together, making dinner, having a few glasses of wine and just talking. We even went and bought a Bose iPod docking system for the house. I think she tricked me into that Mother’s Day gift. She said it’s also part of my Father’s Day gift.
In addition to these difficult dates, I have been obsessing over and stressing out about not being able to find a publisher for the Grieving Dads book that I have been working on for the last year. I am tired of hearing from all of the publishers and literary agents that say “men don’t typically buy these types of books”. How do they know that? There isn’t anything on the market like this book. Not to mention, I think a lot of women will also buy this book. This book is a collection of candid face to face discussions between two men who have experienced life’s most profound events and survived it; somehow, someway.
The reality is publishers want to make money, the content of the book doesn’t matter to them, it’s all about the bottom line. I understand this, but with upwards of 1 million newly bereaved parents in the U.S. every year alone, I would think the numbers would be there for them.
Because of the publishers/agents responses, I have been second guessing whether or not this book is supposed to happen. Seems like every time I start to think along those lines I receive an email or phone call from a grieving dad (or mom) that thanks me and tells me how much this blog helps them. These messages reenergize me and give me the motivation to continue on and to not give up. In the last week I have made a commitment to rewrite a couple of chapters, change the title and do another round of query letters to the literary agents. For those of you that I have interviewed or those who have been waiting for this book, hang in there a little longer. I will make this happen one way or another. I may have to self-publish this book, but it will happen.