By: Nikki Grayson
Swollen eyes, pink tinged cheeks, and a steady stream of tears.
Dark circles under the eyes, a solemn face, and forced words of strength.
The definition of a newly bereaved mom and a newly bereaved dad.
Yet we both are experiencing the same hurt and shared grief, the expectations are so different for each of us. Dads carry so much on their shoulders trying to hold their loved ones up, keeping them steady throughout the heartbreak.
They are the binding to our book; the glue that holds us together. Somehow someway, the pressure of being strong falls on them. They are expected to carry the weight of it all so easily and so lightly, but his arms are as empty as ours are.
As a little girl I was more than afraid of storms. I was absolutely terrified, so scared that it would turn into a tornado and I wouldn’t be able to hide from it. Tornado warnings would be announced on the radio and my heart would start pounding, my breathing would get heavier, and I would start to panic. But then my stepdad would say the four magic words, “It will be okay,” and the panic would ease, my heart rate would slow, and I could breathe normal. Of course I was still scared, but it alleviated so much fear. I looked up to him, I felt like he had so much strength and that he could keep me safe through anything. I never saw him cry and in fact, I never saw him down. He was the binding to our family; he was expected to stay strong for us.
Would I have seen him as weak if he would have cried? I can honestly say, not at all.
Nothing of that sort could have changed the way I thought of him. Think of how much more meaningful a moment is when you and your friend laugh together. When you cry together and share meaningful memories, you grow so much closer. We need this so much! I encourage dads to cry when they need to cry because losing a baby is more than difficult! Share memories and don’t be discouraged when others only ask how mom is doing. A bereaved dad has every right to grieve the child they lost, to let their guard down and be a man who is grieving. Even Jesus, our own Father wept! In fact, we are told in Romans 12:15 to weep with those who weep.
Remember; society may tell us that dad’s must stay strong at all times, but it’s more than okay for dad’s to mourn also.
Please remember on this Fathers day that you are a dad to a son or daughter that you lost. No one sees you as less if this is a difficult day for you. Us wives, significant others and bereaved moms love you more than you’ll ever know and we care and respect for all that you’ve done and do for us. Even if you shed a couple tears, feel down, or feel lost without your baby, we still see you as the stitching that holds us together.
Two lives intertwined, two people grieving the same loss. The definitions of a bereaved mom and dad should be so much more alike than not.
Instead we can hold each other up, steadying each other when the path gets rocky and strenuous. We can be a teeter totter lifting the other up with strength when the other is down.
We can change the definition.
About Nikki Grayson
I am a mom to 5 babies lost through miscarriages, the most recent one being my son at 16 weeks pregnant. I am a nurse, and I live with my husband and two dogs. We love to take walks, ride four wheelers, and do anything that involves being outdoors! I want others that are walking this journey of infertility and pregnancy loss to know they are not alone.