By: Steven Lied
Happy Father’s Day. These are three words that have taken on a new meaning since the loss of my son, Asher Ray Lied. As I reflect on Father’s Day in my life, I find myself remembering when I was a kid and all of the things that we did for my dad on this day. Whether it was doing his chores so he could relax, helping my mother cook a meal for him, or watching him open his presents from us, it was always a fun day that I hoped would look the same for me when I was blessed with the ability to be a dad someday. Unfortunately, the loss of my son has changed what that day will look like for me for the rest of my life. While some of the tasks we did for my dad may still take place, it still serves as a day that even further reminds me of my beautiful boy who should physically be here with me.
When you lose a child, holidays tend to serve as more glaring reminders of the child that should be there and are never quite the same as they used to be. That being said, it does not mean that this day should not still be celebrated.
I am the proud father of three children, two daughters (Harper and Scarlett) who I hold in my arms every day and one son (Asher) who I hold in my heart. As I approach my fourth Father’s Day without my son here with me, mixed emotions arise as I want to spend time with my beautiful girls and do all the stereotypical Father’s Day tasks, but I also want to spend time mourning my son (which is not always easy for me as I fall into the stereotypical emotional void that men tend to find themselves). Some fathers have schedules they like to follow or tasks they do every year, but for me I simply allow the day to come and see what opportunities arise and what my little boy brings for me.
My advice for fathers who have lost a child as they approach this day for the first time, third time, or fifteenth time, is take this day in stride and do what feels right for you.
There is no right way to celebrate this day or some magical mindset that can make it hurt less, you just need to find something that works for you in that moment and do it. While I do not know what lies ahead for this Father’s Day, what I do know is that I will hug my girls as tightly as I can, thank my wife for giving me the three amazing children I have and allowing me to have the title of father, and I will find a way to spend time with my son.
To all bereaved dads out there, Happy Father’s Day.
About Steven and Amy Lied
Steven and Amy’s son, Asher, was inexplicably born still on February 19th, 2017. Before losing Asher, they suffered a miscarriage and struggled with unexplained infertility. After losing Asher and struggling to conceive again, they went back to treatment where she became pregnant with her twin daughters; Harper and Scarlett. Amy has documented their journey from the beginning of her infertility struggles on her blog, Doggie Bags Not Diaper Bags. She is also a co-founder of The Lucky Anchor Project, an online resource for loss families that houses an Etsy store whose profits are donated to loss family non-profit organizations. Sharing their journey has helped them cope and they hopes it also helps others who are walking on this road of life after loss.