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Something I found- Father's Day

by Lisa Sculley
mother of Joey 7/16/92 to 10/7/92
Billy 10/14/87
Michael 7/7/89

I was getting another newsletter together, and came across something I wrote a couple years ago. I know that Father's Day is coming up, and a lot of times it is an "overlooked" special day... even for those of us who "know" how much losing a child hurts. I hope you don't mind me sharing. I guess I am getting ready in my own way to observe that day. I know my husband hurts too on this day.

Date: Thu, 27 May 1999

Not Allowed To Grieve

Dads are very special people. They have the ability to fix just about anything. They pull splinters out of fingers, and assemble all the Christmas toys. They bounce us on their knees as babies, and walk us down the aisle as brides. They give us sound advice on how to buy a car, or what type of nail is used to hang pictures. They always seem to know what to do. They never ever falter; they are strong and kind.

For a long time, my Dad was Superman in my eyes. When I got married, I searched for those same qualities in my husband. In some areas, my husband never seemed to measure up. He is not talented at building, and please don't ask him to unstop the kitchen sink. But in the important areas, he is a lot like my Dad. He is strong, but gentle. He is a good father, and he works hard.

When I am down, he can help me through almost anything. I honestly thought that nothing could cause him to falter. Then our son died. Right after Joey died, Bill cried freely, and shared his grief with me. But as time went by, he stopped crying. He never talked about his pain. He hid it from everyone around him. I couldn't understand why he didn't hurt just as bad and cry just as much as I did. It made me angry. My Dad reacted in much the same way. He never cried in front of us. Instead, he would go out to the back yard and sit while he cried. He didn't like to talk about Joey, because he was afraid it would make me hurt more. I think it made him hurt too. He was a Rock, just like my husband was. He thought no one saw his pain. This is the fifth Father's Day since my son died, and the second since my father died. I now understand a little better. I know they hurt just as much as I did.

Bill lost his son too. Joey was not just my baby, he was Bill's little boy. My husband will never get to take him fishing, and he will never get to play ball with him. He has lost as much as I have. Dads do much more than pull splinters and fix toys. They give their children unconditional love. Why shouldn't we expect a father to hurt when their child dies? It is all right for a woman to cry and grieve. It is socially unacceptable for a man to grieve. And so, our fathers go on through life, not allowed to grieve.

As bereaved parents, we understand this. We know that men hurt too. We know that Father's Day can be a sad time for many Dads. If you feel sad this Father's Day, that is okay. But try to remember the good times you had too. Even if it only lasted a short while. You are STILL a father.

Lisa Sculley

June 1997

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