Sunday, June 21, 2015

Frustrated for him

Happy Father's Day, they say.  It must be so, for many fathers. 

It is the second Father's Day since Zachary died.  The ninth since B.W. died.   

As disorderly as it is, from the day he became a father, my husband has also been a bereaved father.  Today, seventeen months and one day since Zachary died, he is a twice-bereaved father,... and still adapting to the cruelty of it. 

There were many, many supporters last year on Father's Day, but only a few people reached out to B today to acknowledge the unbearable.  Only a couple of people uttered (or wrote) comforting words today.  This must be an extra difficult day for you.  I'm so sorry it isn't a joy-filled day with two of your (three) boys with you.  As his wife, I am so very thankful for the gentle compassion and persistency of the few.  Those five minutes to buy a card, to put a hand on his shoulder, even send a text, are so precious. 

It is difficult for me to understand why people who care and want to support us neglect to do so, for B, on a day like today.  Are they just too wrapped up with their own happy day, traditional activities and busyness?  Is there just nothing they can think to say?  Is it simply too sad to deal with or too frustrating that nothing makes this all better?  Is it perceived B would be missing Zachary only on the first Father's Day without him?  Or my worst fear: is Zachary already forgotten, like B.W. was years ago?  

I try not to let the dwindling support bother me, as I notice it more and more, with each passing month.  I try to focus on the people who do remember Zachary (and B.W.), who are there with us and for us in wonderfully different ways.  I tell myself that with two dead children there are almost too many significant dates, too many pain points in our life, to remember and acknowledge them all.  I remind myself that Zachary's death on top of B.W.'s death is our burden, our grief, to carry.  I try to keep in mind that no one loves Zachary like I do, like B and C.T. do.  I try to accept that other peoples' lives were not shattered when Zachary suddenly and senselessly became ill and died, that other people still somehow believe in happiness, hope, optimism and life's goodness, still relish in their own "happy" Father's Day.   

I just wish more of the people in our life had the attention span for B's ongoing, grief-filled reality.  I wish more (or at least a consistent ratio of) people would recognize his loss and his pain, particularly on a day like Father's Day.  It is so infrequent, otherwise, that Zachary or B's compounded grief is acknowledged at all.   


B said something a few weeks ago, during a tearful dinner, and as I have mulled it over, I think it is heartbreakingly true.

Sadly, for many of our family and friends, Zachary was a historical event. 

An event from January 2014.  History.  Not a painful, gaping, human hole in daily life.  Not our beloved son who changed us forever and then died, who we will never again see or kiss or feed or bathe or watch grow into the man he would have been.  Not the almost eighteen month-old toddler who is supposed to be making first fat crayon marks on a Father's Day card for his daddy today.   


  1. A historical event... i think it sums up really well how many people end up understanding the death of someone, and perhaps especially a baby they haven't met or haven't spent much time with. It's heartbreaking.

    Please know that i view the lives of B.W. and Zachary as important and irreplaceable for themselves, and not just as events in your lives. I think of you and them often.

  2. Yes - this is what I feel, too: that for other people, Anja is the bad thing that happened to us, when really, she was a baby girl, a beloved daughter, who DIED. I'm sorry so few reached out to B. Not one person said a word to us. Not a single one. It's hard to accept how everyone else moves on and forgets. It is so hard not to become terribly, terribly bitter. Zachary and B.W. are missed this year as in every other year.