Father’s Day 2015

Well, as much as I don’t like to think about Father’s Day, it’s kind of hard to ignore it.  All of the advertisements are in full swing on social media, websites, tv, radio and everywhere else I look.  It’s not that I am afraid of this day, I just don’t really know how to handle it.  I don’t have any living children to spend time with so I generally just spend quite time with my wife.  Most of the time we just stay around the house or go out for lunch. Maybe go for a run or a bike ride.

I don’t know what if feels like to spend Father’s Day with my children because they died before I got to experience this and other things a parent are supposed to experience with a child.  Very rarely do I hear from anyone of Father’s Day.  Most people probably don’t know what to say or do, I get it.

I do want people to acknowledge that I am a dad and that this day is difficult, but I don’t like to hear “Happy” Father’s Day, because it’s not.  There is nothing anyone can do or say to make it “happy.”  That’s just the reality of it.

Instead of wishing all of you a “Happy” Father’s Day, I am going to say, “I am thinking about you on this difficult day and wish you a “Peaceful Father’s Day.”  Because one of the most important things to me is the feeling of peace.  That is not an easy thing to come by after the loss of a child, but once you find it, it’s invaluable.

What are your plans for Father’s Day?  How do you plan to “get through it?”

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  • Rick

    This is my sixth father’s day without our son Chris. He was 23 when he left us. Each father’s day since he left has been difficult, as has each mother’s day for my wife. We have another son, who just turned 28, who has his own grief to manage. We try to make each father’s day “normal” when we meet up with him and his wife, but normal for us is not peaceful and pain free, as every father who follows this blog can attest to. We are strong in our faith (I am in full-time ministry) and lean on the Lord for the peace that only He can give. I lift up each and every grieving parent to the Lord and pray that the He will envelop them with His love and peace.

  • Susan steel

    Thank you for your words.. I did not know what to say to my son on this Father’s Day. He lost his little girl at birth on this past thanksgiving day.Your words helped me as what to say to my son.He also lost his father before he was born.(His father died 3 weeks before his birth) .My son was so excited about becoming a father so as to become a father he envisioned his father would have been. My son is such a loving,giving,kind man and children love being around him. I know one day he will get to be the father he so wants to be..May all the fathers here have a peaceful Father’s Day and my prayers and heart are with you all…

  • M.A.A.

    This is the first Father’s Day that my husband would have celebrated with our son Emery, and we should be expecting a baby girl the end of August. Instead, we are without both babies, and my 3 living children are with their dad. I am at a loss for how to “celebrate” the day….or maybe “honor” the day is a better term because I don’t feel like celebrating. My husband doesn’t talk about the babies much, so I’m not sure if doing a production would bring attention to his pain?? Any advice would be deeply appreciated!!

  • We have three living children (two of home are with me this weekend while my wife and their older sister visit friends out of town) who I will celebrate having in my life. Yet I find these festivals problematic. In the thick of my grief at losing our children to miscarriage several years ago, I wanted nothing to do with festivals like this. I struggle to resolve how to hold the grief and joy in tension. I appreciate your call to find peace on this day, Kelly.

  • Rich rodarte

    Kelly, my friend, thank you for the work you do. I brought you up to a grieving friend the other day in anticipation of Father’s Day. God’s speed to you.

    Rich Rodarte

  • Mick

    Kelly and all other Dads, I sincerely wish you as much peace as you can get this weekend and in your lives. This will be my first FD without my son, its really my first FD period since he was born and passed away second half of last year. But I am still a Dad right, and while I am really dreading I decided the best thing would be to be around other grieving fathers and so I am planning on a morning hike with a group from Compassionate Friends. At the end of the hike we get to tie a ribbon around a tree in his memory. After that my wife and I will go spend the afternoon sitting on his memorial bench at our local park and have a good cry, look at some pictures and talk about him.
    I am hoping by embracing it in this way will help me through my grief process, it may not, but the idea of sitting alone depresses me more.
    Best wishes to all of you

  • Bruce Welsh


    Unlike you I do have other children, so for me that helps a little. I do however plan to spend some “extra time” talking with my Matt.

    I particularly find peace in this quote from Alan Pederson, TCF/USA:

    “Being your father was the greatest gift I have ever been given. When you died, part of me died. In the midst of my pain and hopelessness I discovered that my survival depended on continuing to love you and speak of you. Today I survive, and thrive because you are still an integral part of my life everyday. I was given the gift of being your father for as long as I live, not for as long as you lived. I will continue to love you and honor your life by living my life to the fullest in memory of you.”

    Hoping you have a Peaceful day,

    Bruce Welsh

    P.S. When my son found out he was going to die, he wrote a message on Facebook saying good bye to his family and friends. He signed it with: “Live life worth livin”

    • Kathryn hudgins

      that is beautiful and so true I tell everyone ill always be Jareds mom and i live my life honoring and keeping his memory because thats all we can do Praying for you to have a peaceful father’s day

  • Kelly, this will also be my second Father’s Day without my 24 year old son, Jake. He died 18 months ago suddenly and unexpectedly of an accidental prescription drug overdose. Last year FD coincided with my birthday, as it sometimes does, we were up in Ojai, laying low. Somehow this year I thought it was last weekend. My wife asked me what I wanted to do, and my comment was, “What’s Father’s Day to me now?” Now that I know it is this weekend, we probably won’t do much of anything anyway. My wife is going through some medical treatments, and has very little energy, so we’ll just stay around the house. Two years ago, I probably would have gone golfing with my son, had a family dinner, and relished the time spent with my son. Now, with whom will I golf? My golfing buddy is gone. I have had a peculiar apathy set in over the past few months, scarcely able to read, write, or do anything really meaningful. I get through each day, but have lost the overarching purpose Jake’s birth gave to me. I am still a father, still Jake’s Dad, but a dad without a son now. I wish all the grieving fathers (and mothers) here a day of peace.

  • Ray

    Second Father’s Day without my photojournalist son Max, 26 years old when he died in April 2013 under sudden and mysterious circumstances. I have three other sons, one of whom is in his 30s and isn’t speaking to me because part of his grief journey is to blame me for everyting bad that’s happened in his life — including his brother’s death. Oh, well. I never blamed my Dad for the bumps in my road but I believe that’s a bit of what Dads are for: we make good punching bags for those who need one. I’m laughing out loud right now but in fact I’ve been feeling crappy all week and I’m sure it’s the Father’s Day blues. Will be with my two younger sons, ages 10 and 12, this Father’s Day and all they care about is their own lives, not so much what happened to their deceased half-brother. I like that about those two; it’s one of their best qualities. While they are fully “simpatico” with their old man’s loss, they know they’re entitled to a 100% Dad, not a loss-damaged, endlessly brooding Dad. I’m not going to let them down this Father’s Day weekend, although we’ll doubtless raise a toast on Sunday to the late great Max, who was a young father himself.

    • Ray

      Oops! My math was off. It’s my third Father’s Day since my son died, not my second. Heck, I never liked Father’s Day much anyway.

  • I will do like you, Kelly, and spend time with wife and just try to make it through, like we did with Mother’s Day. We lost our only son, Brooks, to murder a year and a half ago. We are still Brooks’ parents, but he’s just in a different place. It will not be a happy day, but it will be Father’s Day, and I will remember my son and try to honor him somehow. Peace to all of you this weekend.

  • Chad

    This is my second Father’s Day without my son Harrison. He died unexpectedly in his sleep on March 30, 2014 at the age of 16 of a rare heart related disorder. I have 3 living children to include my oldest son, 21 and my two daughters 7, and 10. I’m no longer living with his mom, but I am remarried. I to am confused about Father’s Day. I would prefer to just skip it, but my daughters are excited about it. My wife is very understanding and I truly think I would not be functioning if it weren’t for her. She gives me the guidance I need and I trust her with these things. She says that my daughters need this and that it’s important to not shut down on these days but to embrace the excitement of my daughters as best I can. If I were to shit down, I would be putting my son and myself above my daughters. It’s important that we celebrate our father-daughter relationship, but not at the expense of ignoring my sadness. We plan to take a day trip to a cosy little town a few hours away. It will allow a perfect balance of distraction and still allow me to miss my son. I hope you all find the best solution for you this Father’s Day. When I have a tough time dealing with my loss, I do my best to remember that the sun always comes up tomorrow, and that I am not alone.

  • Thom

    Kelly, I am (and we as a community, I’m sure) are thinking about you as Father’s Day approaches. I know it is a difficult day for you – we really know. I wish you peace, as I’m sure all of the fathers in this community here do. Thank you for all you do and for sharing your journey.

  • Dick Harrison

    I have twins; boy and girl and we lost our 38 year old daughter 2 years ago from a stroke. My son wants to play golf this Fathers Day with me. I do look forward to spending time with my son but my daughter will surely be on my mind. You do learn to live with the lost but you will have the hurt for the rest of your life. Keep the Faith, it will help you more than you know in the dark times.

  • Kelly, this will be my first father’s day without my daughter. Deep down, I get angry thinking about it. I want to go to bed Saturday night and wake up Monday morning. I want to check out all of Sunday. But, I cannot. My 13 year old daughter needs me to act somewhat ‘normal’ for her. I am her second chance. Her bio dad (dirtbag) left her when she was 6. She’s had a hard life for a 13 year old. Someone shared this quote with me last month. I read it often… to survive: “Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.”
    Wishing all grieving parents a peaceful Sunday, this weekend.