The following was sent to me over the weekend from a fellow grieving dad. I think the topic is very appropriate and one I think we can all relate to in some way. I know I have had many of these surprises. What have been some of your surprises?
Where’d That Come From?
Tonight I was on a short flight from DC to Atlanta. As the title suggests, I had one of those “Where’d That Come From” experiences we all are familiar with.
I was writing an email to our nanny, who cares for our nearly two-year old son, Bradley, who will start Montessori school on Monday. Simple enough – it’s a transition for him and our family.
Before Bradley, we had adopted another son, Grant, who unexpectedly died at six weeks. And prior to that, we had given birth to a daughter, Catherine, who at 21 weeks who could not survive. There were miscarriages even earlier.
So, tonight, as I wrote my gratitude to our nanny, I was overcome with grief. In truth, I was a sobbing, snotty mess on a plane after they had already retrieved the napkins. Thankfully, it was dark, but that didn’t matter much.
I feel blessed – truly – for this milestone (albeit trite) for our son. It’s just pre-school or day care. But what struck me (hard) were the milestones we will never celebrate with our earlier sons and daughters.
I’m struck that grief is always close to the surface, if not directly in our face. It doesn’t take much to trigger it. While I don’t “welcome” the tears, I honor what they represent and accept the grief and loss for what it is. Really. Fucking. Hard. (And real.)
I am grateful for having a community of men who may be nodding as they read this. And I offer to those too raw, too angry, too ashamed to be that snotty mess on a plane, to know that there are so many of us who will hold your grief as/with our own.
Thank you for your virtual support.