This is for the dads out there on Father’s Day who have ever had the unfortunate task of burying a child. I see all of you and your pain because I am one of you. I am a member of this brotherhood of guys just trying to survive the loss of our child. Some of you will experience Father’s Day without your child for the first time and others know this day all too well.

It’s a day that can create all sorts of emotions depending on the person. Here some of the emotions I feel on this day:

  • Sadness: I miss Katie and Noah every day and Father’s Day is no different. Although most days people wouldn’t recognize the great sadness I carry with me, but it is still there. I just disguise it better than I did early in my grief. Mainly because it doesn’t consume me like it used to. But there is no doubt, it’s still there.
  • Loneliness: I often feel this way because I have no living children. I have two bronze urns and that just doesn’t cut it for me. My wife and I are fortunate enough to live a life that provides all the necessities we need to feel safe and comfortable. However, it often feels empty and lonely. The thought of losing my wife as we get older scares me since we’ve come to rely on each other so much. We “get” each other because we helped each other “survive” the aftermath of losing Katie and Noah. “Survive” is relative since we both still struggle with the fallout of such losses from time to time.
  • Happiness: To some, this may sound odd, but it’s true. I am so happy to be their dad. So, happy to have known them if only for a moment in time. As painful as their deaths have been, I wouldn’t change the fact that I am their dad.
  • Pride: I am very proud to be their dad. Thinking about them puts a smile on my face. A smile filled with pride and warmth for them. A smile that hides a lot of pain but holds on to the hope of holding Katie and Noah in my arms someday.

I am sure I could write on and on about the different emotions I feel, but I picked the words that are most prevalent in my life right now. That doesn’t mean it won’t change at some point as they have over the years.

I know many of you will feel alone on Father’s Day, but you are not. There are 100’s of thousands of grieving dads out there that are fighting to regain some sort of normalcy in their life again. As I’ve said many times before, there is no going back to the old you, it’s a futile attempt. One’s energy is better served finding the new you. Energy filled with love for your child and one consumed with doing everything they can to honor that child. I strive everyday to make my kids proud of their dad. Some days I’m successful and some days I am not. But I keep trying, it’s what keeps me from throwing in the towel.

I want all of the grieving dads out there to know that regardless of the child’s age when they died, you are still their dad and you LOVE them. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding their death, you are still their dad and you LOVE them. Regardless of when their death occurred, you are still their dad and you LOVE them. Unconditionally. You love them. Find a way to celebrate that love and your child this Father’s Day.

I want to hear from you. Please share with all of us the emotions you feel on this day and what you plan on doing to celebrate your child this Father’s Day.
Photo Credit: Neil A.D. Taylor Flickr via Compfight cc

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User Comments ( 9 )

  • Paul Sinsar (Ajax Minor)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/59493704e4b04d8767077bf2

    The link above will bring up an essay i wrote about Father’s Day. Linda and I lost our daughter in 1992 to a horrendous birth accident. I’ve managed to climb out of the ‘black hole’ by writing a fantasy series, The Ur Legend, under the name Ajax Minor.
    i also am thrilled Kelly connected with the Today Show!! I was interviewed on the Ed Tyll talk radio show. For our story check:

    https://ajaxminor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/PaulSinsarJun14.mp3

    Congrats Brother Kelly for getting the story of fathers out there.

  • Brian Laarveld

    I am not looking forward to this day at all. Although I am fortunate to have 3 living children my family is incomplete. It will be 6 years in December that our 4th child Delcan was stillborn. I am no better today than I was then. Father’s day is not a day I am excited to celebrate as it feels like a forced holiday for my family. I don’t feel like I have been a good father or husband. I honestly just want to disappear.

    • Paul Sinsar (Ajax Minor)

      Brian. Tears me up to hear about your struggle with Grief. My wife, Linda, and I lost our only child, Katherine, to the effects of a catastrophic birth accident. We both followed different paths but have come to grips with the tragedy. For my part, I gave my daughter another life in a fantasy series, The Ur Legend. Rather than blather on I’ll attach two links to essays I’ve written in connection with the release of the second book, The Girl from ipanema. One is on Father’s Day and the second on Grief and Art:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/59493704e4b04d8767077bf2

      https://goodmenproject.com/guy-talk/channelling-grief-bbab/

      Luv ya brother.

      Paul Sinsar
      psinsar@ecentral.com

  • Jeff Cutchin

    I lost my only child, my daughter, on Feb. 2 of this year, 2017. I also lost my wife in the same accident. As this is my first Father’s day without my family….the emotions are overwhelming. I really don’t know what I’m going to do. Seriously thought about just sitting in her room all day as that is where I feel the closest to her. I realize that I was lucky to have had my baby girl with me for 22 years, it was still not long enough.

  • Kevin Black

    This will be my 5th Father’s Day without Mason. You’re right. I am proud to have been his Dad. I miss him terribly, but I wouldn’t pass on the opportunity to have been his Dad. Once again Kelly, Thank you for the blog, the book, the friendship and the openness you have shared with us all.

  • Ray

    Very thoughtful and compassionate article. Have a good Father’s Day.

  • Bruce Welsh

    To my son:
    The holidays always seem harder, but there’s never a day that goes by that I don’t think about you.

    Father’s Day is coming up and I know I won’t get to hear you say “Happy Father’s day Dad.”

    But you’re still my son and I’m still your Father.

    I see so many things that make me think of you and I believe in my heart that it’s you reminding me that you are still nearby. A few weeks ago I was sitting on the porch swing, there was a steady peaceful rain and a Dragon Fly landed on the cushion next to me and stayed for a while. That was a nice touch. Didn’t know dragon fly’s came out in the rain.

    Your Mom and I enjoy telling each other about the signs we get, so keep them coming.

    Sometimes I ‘catch’ myself having fun and I feel guilty that you’re not around to share it with. But I do believe that you would want me to be happy and that keeps me going.

    So this Father’s Day, I think I’m going to be OK.

  • Bruce Welsh

    I wrote this yesterday and posted on social media, helps sometimes to put something out there. Lost my son 5 years ago.

    To my son for Father’s Day:

    The holidays always seem harder, but there’s never a day that goes by that I don’t think about you.

    Father’s Day is coming up and I know I won’t get to hear you say “Happy Father’s day Dad.”

    But you’re still my son and I’m still your Father.

    I see so many things that make me think of you and I believe in my heart that it’s you reminding me that you are still nearby. A few weeks ago I was sitting on the porch swing, there was a steady peaceful rain and a Dragon Fly landed on the cushion next to me and stayed for a while. That was a nice touch. Didn’t know dragon fly’s came out in the rain.

    Your Mom and I enjoy telling each other about the signs we get, so keep them coming.

    Sometimes I ‘catch’ myself having fun and I feel guilty that you’re not around to share it with. But I do believe that you would want me to be happy and that keeps me going.

    So this Father’s Day, I think I’m going to be OK.

  • Michael Carter

    This tends to be one of the toughest days, along with birthdays and holidays. My emotions run the full gamete. It is such a wave of emotions that differ from dawn to dusk. When I lost my son Paul (it will be 2 years on 8/1/2017) I had no inkling of the heartache that I would experience from that day forward.
    I will visit my sons resting place on fathers day to be near him and speak with him. I know he watches over us all.