There are so many friends of First Candle who give in various ways. Kelly Farley is a dad who lost not one but two babies. He has channeled his grief into helping other fathers who come to him through our grief line and other organizations. We are so grateful to have him as a resource. The following is his recent blog that will give you some insight into what it’s like for a father who’s lost a child.
It’s that time of year again, Father’s Day. It’s hard to get excited about this day if you have had a child die. For this father, this day is more about remembering the children that are no longer with me in the physical sense.
I’ll be spending this Father’s Day trying to help other grieving dads through this difficult day. I wrote my book as a way to bring some sort of awareness to the many dads that have lost children and struggle every day to get out of bed and do something positive to honor their child that has died.
Many of the grieving dads I have met feel like they let their children and family down. They should have protected them. That’s what a father does right? Protect. We are also “fixers” and we like to fix things, but we couldn’t fix or protect them from the circumstances that brought about the death of our children.
Many of these dad’s struggle with seeing the words “Happy Father’s Day.” Seeing that statement gnaws at the already festering wound that has yet to heal, it’s a wound that never completely heals. Over time you can get through the loss of a child, but you never get beyond it. Can you eventually get back on your feet and learn to enjoy life again? Yes. Will your life ever go back to the way it was? No.
Is it possible to have a “Happy” Father’s Day after a loss of a child? Yes, but for very different reasons than most people think. The happiness comes into play when you reflect on the time you spent with your child, although you wished you had more time. You’re happy because it was an honor to be their dad. The love you feel inside for that child makes you smile and hurt at the same time. The happiness for these fathers does not come from a gift that was wrapped up real nice and given to them on this day. The happiness comes from the gift of being their dad.
If you know a dad that has experienced the death of a child, don’t be afraid to reach out to him on this day or any day for that matter. As difficult of a day it is, he would love to hear from you. Someone acknowledging that he is a dad, a dad that has experienced the death of a child and is just trying to live a life to make his child proud.
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Kelly D. Farley, author of Grieving Dads, and Alison Jacobson, CEO, First Candle