To The Father Who Has Lost A Child

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With another Father’s Day having come and gone, I sit here pondering and thinking about all the fathers who have lost children. More awareness is being made for those mothers who have miscarried, lost children, or are trying to conceive. There’s more of a sensitivity to the loss. Having lost three of our own precious babies, I am very appreciative of this growing sensitivity. This recognition in some way helps the burden not be so hard to bear, though it doesn’t necessarily heal the hurt. Yet, I couldn’t help but think and wonder about the fathers. They too have suffered loss, but we don’t focus on them. We tend to unintentionally gloss over their hurt simply because they don’t express it in the way we would expect.

So, I just wanted to write to you, the father who has lost a child . . .

It’s Father’s Day, and you watch as other proud dads hold and hug their children. They are celebrating the lives that they have in the midst of their homes. You might even have some in your own home. But, there is still an ache. An ache for that child you’ll never get to embrace in your loving arms.

You hurt, but nobody sees it. The thing is, you carry a great burden. You haven’t had to only learn to cope with the loss of your precious baby, but you’ve also taken on the responsibility of being strong for your wife. You remember how you deeply ached as you held your wife in your arms and watched her weep uncontrollably. Silent tears rolled down your cheeks, while questions flooded your mind. Why would God take our baby? Why did he have to die? He was so little. Why does life have to be so cruel sometimes?

When your wife wasn’t watching, you were praying through stifled sobs. You shouted at God. You asked him “why” a million times. You hurt. You ached. Though you didn’t carry that precious baby in your belly, you still felt the sting of his or her death. You knew you wouldn’t hear that little heartbeat anymore. You wouldn’t see that tiny body on the ultrasound screen again. You wouldn’t get to watch your child grow. You watched that life slip through your hands, and there was nothing you could do to stop it. You might have gotten to hold your son or daughter. You got to create memories for the short time he was in your life. But, those memories are now lost in the fog of grief. All you can do is cling to the hope of seeing your child again some day.

And it hurts you so much to see your wife in such pain. You want to be able to console her in a way that will heal her hurt. But, her grief just takes time. If you could, you would carry her grief for her. You would take that burden of hurt from her in a heartbeat. You are used to being strong. You are used to holding on. But, you can’t. This is something she has to wade through. So, you do the best you can by embracing her and letting her cry, while your own ache burns in your heart.

You watch as many people come along to offer their condolences to your wife. You watch her friends reach out to her. You aren’t jealous. You are glad that she has such support. But, you hurt. No one asks if you’re okay. No one hugs you and offers hope. They just don’t know. You stand strong and do your best to move on. But, the ache is still there. So, you grieve silently.

Dear father, if you have lost a child, I just want to say that I am so sorry. I know you are hurting. Please know that it’s okay to not be strong. It’s okay to admit that you’re not okay. You lost a baby, and that’s a difficult burden to bear. Please know that you are not forgotten.

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To my own husband who has lost three babies, I love you so much and am so thankful for all the strength you have given me. I never realized how much losing Andrew affected you until you opened up to me about how much his death deeply hurt you. I am so sorry that you have had to feel like you needed to put on a face of strength and cover your pain. Thank you for not concealing it with me though. Thank you for crying with me. I know the death of our babies still affects you. Yes, it might affect you differently than me, but that doesn’t undermine the hurt you felt and still feel. You lost these babies too. You were their daddy. No one could ever take that from you. I love you, and I want you to know that I recognize your hurt. I haven’t forgotten the burden you bear. I love you!

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  • Bailey

    Wow, I honestly never really thought about how hard it must be for the daddies who lost babies as well. I can’t imagine wanting to be strong for your wife while still grieving your loss.

    • Yes. Evan really helped open my eyes to that reality. I now try to be so much more sensitive to the fathers in these situations.

  • Raker Eldridge

    School isn’t a good place for tears yo flow.