Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day: Both Grieving and Grateful

I love my father as the stars - 
he's a bright shining example 
and a happy twinkling in my heart.  
~Terri Guillemets

I’m going to try and keep this one short and sweet (you know how I have the talent of the “prattle”).  I know many of us are struggling this weekend.  Many of us are missing the father of our children, our own fathers, or are just trying to work through yet another “family” weekend. 

And when I say work, I mean work.

This week has been a tough one for me as well.  As I said in a Father’s Day blog on The Denver Post’s Mile High Mamas, Father’s Day begins my “cluster” of milestones.  Many of us have them and I’ve always thought how strange it is that it works out that way.  It always seems like our spouse died around a birthday or a holiday that makes one season unbearable for us.

For’s now.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day and in a week it will be my birthday.  A couple of weeks after that is the anniversary of my husband’s death and then 2 days after that is our wedding anniversary.

As many of us know, the anticipation of these milestones is usually harder than the actual day.  My own grief and frustration about grieving finally built up this week until I had a blow up of epic proportions at about midnight on Wednesday.  If there was a hole in my face...I was leaking from it. For a couple of hours, I allowed myself to cry, vent, and generally not feel good about this whole widdahood thing.

I think I scared my dog, but I feel much better now.

This week has also been incredibly emotional for me because some good friends of ours called with some news about their newborn that sent me into a tailspin.  Now these are the friends who you know should be parents, but take their own sweet time going about it.  And just when you think it’s never going to happen...they announced over the winter that they were expecting. 

But earlier this week they called to tell me something that no parent ever wants to hear...whether it’s about your child or someone elses.

Their 3 week old baby’s heart had started failing (apparently due to a birth defect they didn’t catch) and had been taken in for emergency by-pass surgery.

My first thought when they told me this was, “Why wasn’t my husband here?”  He was part of the foursome.  Part of the team.  I mean...I could talk to the mother about the ins and outs of breastfeeding and all of the child birth stories that tend to make men leave for manlier pastures.  He should be here for the conversation about how hungover they both were for the birth of their children and how it might be possible to attach a remote control motor to a stroller so they won't have to leave their napping positions under the tree at the park.

For a moment...I felt like a very poor substitute.

It’s taken me a week to realize that...even though I may feel inadequate in picking up the slack for the both of us as a parenting couple...I must be coming across okay to the outside world.  This morning it dawned on me...they called.  They called me.  They knew he wasn’t home.  They knew he couldn’t come with me to fill in meaningless conversation during the endless hours that seem to happen at the hospital.  They knew I was flying solo.

And I was enough.

My friends will get to go home today with their beautiful month old daughter and this morning I woke up with a feeling that overpowered my dread of Father’s Day.  Even though there is still a sadness in my heart that I can’t explain that my husband will never meet this beautiful little girl, I remembered the look on his friend’s face last night at the hospital as he watched his baby sleep...the baby he could have so easily lost. 

And even though I will desperately miss my husband tomorrow, I will be grateful that there is a dad out there who will be spending the day with his daughter...when there was a chance that things could have turned out so differently.

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