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?