By: Casey Zenner
Oftentimes on this loss journey, I find myself forgetting that there is another person on this journey with me. While I, of course, never actually forget about my husband, it is hard in the midst of my grief, to remember he is grieving too.
I think that is because our husbands fill the role of protector not only to our children, but protectors of their spouses as well. I know that is true for my husband anyway. I know he hurts. I know he wonders what life would be like if we had ten more fingers and toes running around, but I get so lost in my own grief that I forget he is grieving too. Our grief is different because I felt the physical pain of losing our daughter. I felt like I was given no choice but to pick between my children. Although we made the decision together, when you terminate for medical reasons, at least in the state of Texas, it is an incredibly lonely experience.
He, however, didn’t only face losing our daughter, but was facing losing his wife and mother to our son.
I cannot imagine the fear that he was constantly faced with, not knowing if I would survive another day. If he would soon become a single father having to explain to our son that not only did his sister go to Heaven, but so did Mommy.
Father’s Day is never lost on me, but we also have a living son I have to make sure gets Dad something for Father’s Day, as well as plan a meal. You know, all of the typical Father’s Day plans, and it just doesn’t leave a lot of time to think about what he may be missing. Selfish of me, I know. Part of me thinks it is sort of a coping mechanism. Although we made the decision together, because I was the one who physically went through the experience, part of me feels guilty that my body failed me. My body is the reason he never got the chance to hold his little girl. With that being said, all I can say to you today is “thank you.”
Thank you for being excited when I told you I was pregnant, even though I know you were as anxious as I was after such a traumatic pregnancy with our son. You never showed it.
Thank you for taking such great care of our son and carrying the weight of worry for me once the Hyperemesis started and I became unable to be a good mom to him. Even though, I know you weren’t sure how you were going to juggle being a single parent, working full time, and taking care of me. You did it perfectly.
Thank you for driving me to my appointments because I was too sick to drive. Your patience on those drives and sacrifices due to your work schedule to make that happen did not go unnoticed.
Thank you for supporting me when my OB said we would have to choose between my life and our baby. Not giving me an ultimatum or questioning my decision to save my life and have the ability to be a good mom to our son allowed me to make it through an impossible situation. Your continued support means everything.
Thank you for sitting in the lobby of the abortion clinic, helpless while I ventured to the back when my name was called, alone. Listening and validating my immense disgust for Texas abortion laws on our drive home gave me the peace I needed to make it through that horrific day. You are a great listener.
Thank you for wiping my eyes the day we officially became loss parents. I am sure yours needed wiped too. Putting my grief first and staying strong when I needed you most gave me the encouragement I needed to continue to put one foot in front of the other for the months to come.
Your strength and love for our family is admirable.
Thank you for having my back as I faced controversy over our decision to terminate for medical reasons by family and friends. Knowing I would have you in my corner, no matter how isolating life felt, gave me the confidence to grow Avery’s legacy and raise awareness about medically necessary terminations to anyone who would listen. You are always going to be needed in my corner.
Thank you for supporting me on Avery’s angelversary and birthday every year by letting me do whatever I need to do to survive the day. I know both of those days must be difficult for you too. Always putting me before yourself makes me thankful our son has you to look up to as a father, and Avery has you to point out to all her Angel friends in Heaven. Your selflessness does not go unnoticed.
Thank you for being the reason I am the mommy to not only our son, but to our beautiful little girl Avery. I love that you include her in holidays and sign her name on all my cards. It means more to me than I can put into words. Knowing you will never forget her brings my heart joy.
Knowing there is someone in this world who loves her as much as I do, makes me feel a little less crazy day after day.
Thank you for being my best friend and walking this journey with me. I wouldn’t want anyone else by my side. You are the most loyal person I know.
Today is a day for you and all the other Angel Daddies to be reminded that we see you. We love you. We need you more than you will ever know. You matter and your grief matters.
Dear Husband, Happy Father’s Day.
About Casey Zenner
My name is Casey! I am a wife, mother and friend. I have 2 dogs, a wonderful husband and am blessed to be the mama of Brayden, my spunky 3 yr old, and Avery, my angel baby. We are also foster parents on our journey to adoption! I live in Texas, am a stay at home mom and a travel agent. After losing Avery, I lost myself. While I attempted to find my way back I founded Avery’s Angels. A non profit that provides Angel Moms with comfort packages and cards after the loss of a child. (www.facebook.com/flyhighlittleones) There is someone always telling me how strong I am, when the truth is, when being strong is the only choice you have, you just keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually you begin to believe in your strength too.
These are controversial topics and many that people don’t realize other families face.
Share’s mission is to support those whose lives are touched by the tragic death of a baby through pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or in the first few months of life. Share does not take a political stand on these issues. Share is not responsible for guiding or counseling families in their decision-making process. We all grieve and mourn for our babies. Some of our parents have had to choose the day that they were going to lose their baby. But the truth is still: each family wanted and love their babies. We all search for support, healing and hope. All grieving parents deserve that.
As a support organization it is always our goal to provide a safe and compassionate place for every family who has suffered the great loss of their baby.
We hope this conversation allows for continued healing and an understanding from others of the great need for long-term support for every family making difficult decisions. If you are in need of support after making the decision to terminate for medical reasons, please reach out to our Bereavement Care Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-821-6819.