Dear loss dad,
I see you silently standing beside your wife, a sense of calm in the midst of chaos. You wear a smile on your face, but your furrowed brow paints a different picture of the truth that lies within.
You stood side by side with your wife as you watched your future unravel. A child graced your presence for what seemed like an instant, and then vanished into eternity. Your heart was ripped from your chest that day, too. As she continued to dive deeply into grief, you mustered up the strength to stand tall and to begin to put the pieces back together for your family. Fathers are protectors, after all. And if there’s no child left to care for, then you were going to protect your wife with all of your might.
Many people jumped in to help her, and it must have hurt when few even asked how you were doing. Would you have been truthful even if they did ask? Would you allowed yourself to be vulnerable enough to tell them how much it hurt when your world had fallen apart around you?
What may have felt to her like emotional unavailability was really your way of providing in the only way you knew how. You were the calm presence and voice of reason. You held her up in a way that no one else could. You battle was fought silently.
As she slowly began to climb out of her grief, you exhaled quietly and finally began to process through the grief you had pushed far into the back of your mind for so long. It was now your turn to ride the waves of grief, albeit a little later than she did.
Maybe you didn’t hear these words uttered nearly enough, but thank you. Thank you for helping to hold her world together when things felt overwhelming, and for putting her needs above your own. Thank you for helping to unite your family when it seemed like everything was falling apart. But most of all, thank you for fathering your child and loving them unconditionally. Your journey to fatherhood looks different than most, yet you have embraced it with grace and strength like only a father can.