Lately, my husband’s grief has been heavy on my heart. I don’t typically discuss my husband in my posts simply because I can’t speak for him. Even when he expresses what he is feeling, I know he is holding some of it in. I do so why wouldn’t he. I feel that in honor of Father’s Day approaching, I wanted to shed some light solely on a dad’s grief. Now, clearly, I’m not a dad and so I’m discussing this as one; I am taking what I have read, experienced, and heard from my husband and other dads of angel babies.
Most dads are doers. The way they show their children affection is by doing activities with them. They’ll say “I love you” or other affirming phrases, but talking isn’t really the thing to do. When little kids want a swing set or fort made, a rocket ship out of a cardboard box made, a model car or airplane made, they typically go to dad. I’m not saying moms can’t do these things, because believe me, I can make one phenomenal cardboard box rocket ship. Dads are just usually the go-to guy.
Most dads are also usually the Mr. Fix-It. Toys get broken; consult dad. Game stops working, “where’s dad.” If a problem arises, dads are formulating a plan to overcome it or fix it.
So what happens when someone who has been programmed to do things and fix things doesn’t a have a child to do for and can’t fix that fact that they don’t have a child to do for? In the first weeks and even months, I would hear my husband say “I was just so upset that I couldn’t fix it. That’s what I do; I troubleshoot all day.” We didn’t know that we had lost Wyatt until his scheduled delivery date, so there was ZERO time to digest that there was nothing we could do. My husband took care of all of the funeral arrangements, by himself. There were plenty of people that volunteered to go with him, but he didn’t want them there. This was his “doing.” He couldn’t be the one cut open for Wyatt to be delivered. He couldn’t do anything to make his heart start beating again, no matter how much and hard he prayed. He could make sure that his little boy had a perfect and beautiful send off and resting place though. His journey has been different from mine, even though we are walking it together. The things that bring a little peace to me have, at times, wounded him more. We listen to each other, though and understand that our grieving will change as the years go by and sometimes we won’t be at the same place in this journey. We’ve learned that in a marriage, you may not always be on the same step, but as long as the other person is there to pull you forward or push you from behind, your marriage will survive.
Try to put yourself in their position. They have a little one growing inside of someone else. They have no way of truly protecting their baby before they make their grand appearance. They have only been to experience their unborn child in the same way that everyone else has; touching the mommy’s tummy, looking at pictures, or hearing a heartbeat. Their bond usually doesn’t begin until after their child is born. When the realization happens that their baby isn’t coming home, they instantly jump into protecting the mom’s feelings and answering for her, while very few people ask about their well-being, in comparison.
I am aware that sometimes marriages fall apart when a child dies. I am aware that sometimes one spouse blames the other. I am aware that death is messy and makes small, insignificant issues seem beyond large and extremely important. I am aware that more people reach out to the moms instead of the dads, because of an outside perception, but please let me clear that up. Dads hurt; dads cry; dads miss their child or children as much as moms do. With Love- Heather
My daddy is my hero
yours may be yours too
but my daddy is something special
He can do things no one else can do
When he holds my big brother’s hand
I can feel his squeeze from the clouds
When he rocks my little brother to sleep
My eyes get heavy as I start to calm down
When he hugs my mommy and wipes her tears
The rainfall begins to cease
When he feels he can’t do it anymore
He gets to use my angel wings
When he whispers my name in a crowded room
It echos like thunder in heaven above
When gives my brothers hugs and kisses
My heart skips because I feel his love
I hold his hand every chance I get
because I know he needs me there
I give his feet the support they need
because sometimes his burden is hard to bear
My daddy is my hero
yours may be yours too
but my daddy gave me back to Jesus
which is the hardest thing to do
In honor of Wyatt Scott Welch’s great daddy, Nathen Scott