Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

I never had any observations for my late husband after the funeral and memorial service. The immediate years following his death resulted in my caring for my youngest who'd been diagnosed with a heart condition and then my parents. There wasn't much time or energy to think, reflect or honor our past. We were all just so tied in with the current chaos.

Now that has all ebbed and so today there was some time for reflection while we were at our baseball game - the boys play in a summer league with the same team they've been on since their dad died. I will admit that there was a small pang seeing all the kids with their fathers and to be sitting on the bleachers without a hubby by my side. After the game, the boys and I went to Red Lobster for that 4-course $15.00 meal special. A splurge I know, but I felt like going out and wanted to experience the special before it ended.

I asked my sons how they felt today, what it is like to be a fatherless kid on Father's Day on the way to the restaurant. At one point, I mentioned how I have always hated hearing that pat phrase that kids are so resilient. What does that really mean anyway? I find it interesting that those who relate that statement to me are people who haven't experienced a major loss in their lives. I have come to believe that if they had, they wouldn't be spitting out this phrase to me. Because it means nothing. It doesn't take away the fact that my kids grew up without a father for most of their lives (he was sick for three years before his death).

Losing a father is a major loss and it should be respectfully acknowledged as such, not brushed away by the belief that kids will survive and go on. Yes, they will but their childhoods do influence their futures. Instead of being told that kids are resilient I would have rather heard some statement validating our reality - something along the lines of: "Your kids suffered a tough blow and it is too bad." Don't try to gloss over their situation and make it better by spewing out these statments we have come to believe as being true without having the personal experience to verify them as such.

My youngest son replied, "People are so naive. They have no idea." It got to the point that when people would say things to me like, "There are lots of widows out there funcitioning just fine" and so on, that I would hotly reply, "Oh, really? How many widows my age do you personally know?" Then when they would admit "None" I would just look at them - enough said.

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