A Lousy Fathers' Day For Too Many
Today could really suck for a lot of people
Holidays can be hard when you lose a loved one. For sure, the first holiday after the death, sudden or otherwise, of someone you care for is a huge challenge; that friendly face you're used to seeing from across the table just isn't there anymore, and there's a gaping loss.
With it being Fathers' Day, I find myself thinking of the dads who've lost someone just in this last week alone. I can only imagine how terrible today has got to be for those men.
Orlando - Every Parent's Nightmare
49 souls were lost in a terribly cruel fashion on June 12 - it was a number of hours after the horrific shooting at Pulse nightclub, a bastion in Orlando for the LGBT community, before parents and families knew whether or not those they loved so dearly managed to somehow survive the carnage.
The mom whose son texted her in the moments before the gunman callously took his life has been through the wringer as the press got a hold of those texts and published them. Certainly, they were illuminating, as they gave us a glimpse into exactly what was happening that night, but what parent needs that as their final memory of their child.
The dads who are grieving are no doubt thinking about those lost souls and, if they haven't lost someone that fateful night, they're clinging to their own children tighter than usual. It would be a gut wrenching Fathers' Day for those dads, particularly given the funerals started this weekend.
Countless vigils held...daily, for the dads who lost loved ones...
Anton Yelchin - dead on Fathers' Day
Some might ask who Anton Yelchin was, but the fact is, the actor played Chekov in the new Star Trek series of movies, with Star Trek Beyond about to hit theaters. Just 27 when he was killed in a freak accident, there is little doubt that Yelchin's dad - both parents, actually - will inevitably associate Fathers' Day with the day he lost his son.
The day will, possibly, serve as a reminder that his son died in the middle of the night, alone, and there was no way he could be protected. Remember - every parent (not a biological donor - that's different than parenting) wants to protect their children from harm with every bone in their bodies. While there was invariably nothing that could be done to have prevented the accident that claimed Yelchin's life, it's a terrible way for his father to remember the day, when he should have been able to celebrate it with his son.
Kids remember the dads they lost
Every dad who should be here...
Then there's the great dads I think about that were robbed of their chance to raise their children and watch their grandkids grow into stellar human beings. Certainly, not everyone is set up to be a father - they either lack the empathy, the compassion or the open heart required to be a dad instead of just a father.
Being a dad is about being present in your kids' lives; as soon as that little munchkin makes his or her first cry, you need to realize that your life as you knew it was done. It's become busier and better in ways that are completely intangible. Some of the dads and granddads that are no longer with us understood that and embraced every moment they could with their kids and grandkids. A lifetime would not have been enough for these men to spend time with their favorite children, and the kids end up spending a lifetime more trying to understand just why their dads were taken when they were.
That's the really lousy part about Fathers' Day - you never fully appreciate what it's like to be a dad until you suddenly find your kid is yearning for him. It's the one request you can never fulfil for your munchkin, and that's when Fathers' Day becomes an irretrievably painful day to get through.
I wish there was a way for all of us to be able to sit down with these dads both new and old and give them a chance - just one - to see their children as they are now and marvel at the people they've become. It feels to me like that would be the only right thing to do for those dads robbed of their opportunity to watch their children grow up.
A Great Fathers' Day Can be Really Rough
Whether you're a dad trying to survive the day after losing your child or your a child trying to understand why your dad's life was suddenly cut short, Fathers' Day can be terribly agonizing. There is hope as you navigate the grief you're working your way through, but there is always hope. Whether you're trying to honor your own dad or you're trying to figure out how to survive the unbearable grief of losing a child, you will still survive Fathers' Day. Your heart might feel far heavier, but you can always go to bed early and hope there's sunshine the next day.