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A Special Message for Fathers…..

By Lindsey Wimmer, MSN, CPNP

It seems like Mother’s Day was just yesterday.  For those of us with children in heaven, we know how difficult these special days can be.  Now, it is time for Dad’s turn.

My husband hasn’t ever experienced a “typical” Father’s Day.  On his first Father’s Day, I was pregnant with our first child.  Some recognized this as his first Father’s Day, some did not.  In either case, my growing belly seemed to steal his thunder.  His second Father’s Day was incredibly bittersweet.  It was the first Father’s Day after our first son was stillborn.  However, it was also the day we brought our second son home from the hospital.  Again, some people recognized that this was his second Father’s Day and pulling at many heartstrings, but some saw this as his first Father’s Day encountered only with happiness.  Once again, however, the 2 day old baby in his arms stole his thunder.

Every year since then, he has graciously shared his Father’s Day celebrations with the birthday events for our son.  I am fortunate that I married a man who is a fantastic father and does not ever complain about getting the second seat on many of these special times.  He feels as blessed as I do that we have living children to take his thunder.  J  At times, I have wondered if it’s less painful for him to focus on the happy birthday experience than to think about the contrasting emotions of Father’s Day.  I have not, however, ever wondered if our first son is in his thoughts.

Father’s Day can be complicated for men who are fathers of angels.  It can be complicated for those who love these men as well.  Far too often, our society teaches and expects men to be the strong, unemotional “rock” that is protecting and taking care of everyone else.  This implies that they don’t have needs of their own.  Most fathers I talk to about their children in heaven have told me they don’t usually bring it up, they don’t want to bring others down or upset other loved ones, and it’s a very personal/private experience to open up about their loss.  However, they also tell me that they miss their children deeply, still feel the pain, and want their children to be remembered.

I am definitely NOT an expert on grief of any kind, let alone men’s grief.  But I do know that time, other children, or new experiences do not take away the pain of losing a child.  If you know or love someone who is a father of an angel, take an extra moment this Father’s Day to let him know that he and his child are in your thoughts.

To my own husband – thank you for being an amazing father, for allowing us to celebrate Grant’s birthday on your holiday, and for showing me in many, many ways that ALL of our children are always in your thoughts and your heart.

Wishing you all peace, comfort, and love this Father’s Day.  May you spend it with those who love and appreciate you!

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About the Author:

Lindsey Wimmer, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, is Mom to four children; Garrett, stillborn in 2004, Grant, Bennett and Austyn. Lindsey and her husband Trent founded the Star Legacy Foundation shortly after Garrett’s birth when realizing that the numbers of stillbirths in the US were staggering and that very little was being done to determine the causes or find prevention initiatives. Visit the Star Legacy Foundation to learn more.

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