Remembering the Bereaved Fathers Who Never Hear Their Child Speak, Laugh, or Cry
As so many father’s prepare for their one “special” day a year, we need to remember the bereaved fathers, who lost babies they may have only met for a few hours, days or never had the chance to meet at all. The below letter was written by Share Board Member, a bereaved father, Brian Henry. We encourage you to share this beautiful and honest letter with your friends and family. Please remember to recognize all fathers
I remember sitting at a dinner table with friends and their kids on Father’s Day — the first one after our daughter Caroline was stillborn. Every day was a tough day, but I decided I would be tough enough to make it through that Sunday.
One of the girls — she couldn’t have been more than 3 — started pointing at each of us sitting at the table.
“Daddy.” “Daddy.” “Daddy.”
Then she got to me:
She was right. Even though my daughter wasn’t there at the table with me. I thought of myself as a “Daddy.”
Turns out, I wasn’t as tough as I thought.
I went upstairs and had a good cry. When I came back downstairs, I didn’t pretend to hide anything. This sweet girl’s innocent comment triggered a lot of hard emotions. I could have held it in, I guess, but everyone knew. And, to my surprise, I was OK with that.
If you’ve suffered a stillbirth, a miscarriage or infant loss, you hurt in a way that you can’t readily explain to anyone and you don’t truly understand it yourself. If you’re like me, you struggle with those feelings and you often end up somewhere between “tough it out” and “break down.”
We all share a common feeling — we’re missing someone. But we all process that grief differently and that can be really hard to deal with. That’s why Share exists. They understand that a Dad’s grief is unique, and so is the way each of us handles it. The volunteers and staff at Share know that we need someone to listen, someone to tell us it’s OK to cry and someone who can help us find our way to hope.
My loss comes back to me when I least expect it. I might see a novelty key chain with Caroline’s name on it. There’s a Caroline Avenue I pass on my way to work each day. Oh yeah, and there’s that Neil Diamond song you’ve probably heard a million times. Gets me every time.
The folks at Share do wonderful work for Dads like you and me. I hope that you’ll take a moment this Father’s Day and consider giving whatever you can to help them do even more. Please click here to donate to help Share help us.
I know Father’s Day can be tough, but I also know that memories are beautiful. I wish you gentle thoughts today and every day.
Share Board Member and a bereaved father, Brian Henry
Donate to ensure all bereaved fathers and families continue to receive Share resources free of charge.