Father’s Day can be a big celebration with family get togethers, BBQs by the beach, giving of gifts, special treatment for ‘Dad’ and big thankyou’s demonstrated by the family members. I wonder if you were somewhere today next to a father who may not have been celebrating. Father’s Day can be a challenge too, to get through, grieving their lost child due to medical challenges, estranged family situation, grieving the loss of the babies that were conceived but never born.
Today I felt privileged in seeing two wonderful parents I hadn’t seen for quite some time since... They are parents that have endured so much loss and continue to struggle getting through each day because their beautiful daughter passed away before she turned 18. After a very long 7 year journey of pain and illness, rollercoaster rides of emotions and wellness it became a battle that could not be won. I was hesitant at first to say hello due to the fact it was ‘Father’s Day’ but then how often do we forget to acknowledge people for who they still are and who they have lost? Father’s Day was being celebrated in the way that suited their family – their son took them out for breakfast. No doubt, the memories of past Father’s Day with the whole family were front of mind.
Six years ago I spoke to my Dad on the phone for Father’s Day. I didn’t know that would be the last Father’s Day that he would be around. I don’t think he did either.
What was your experience today on Father’s Day? Was it different to other days? Is the father of your child still with you in the same home, or have circumstances separated the family unit? Did you see your father today? Did you talk to him, SKYPE him or send a card? I wonder if you were somewhere today next to a father who may not have been celebrating?
Fathers may also be grieving for the child that was not born ‘perfect’, with a disability that isn’t easy to disguise. Their acceptance of the child can take a long time to work through, to come to terms with or in the reverse, the father may be supporting the mother to accept their child.
Children are affected too by Father’s Day – happy children in happy families love to share their gifts, write on a card and help to cook breakfast in bed. There are the children whose father was lost at war, in a car accident, died due to an inoperable brain tumour. Father’s Day may not be easy for the children left behind or the child that has never known their father.
To all the fathers in the world – hope today you had the chance to take some time out to just be ‘you’ and others respected you for it.
NDIS Registered Provider no. 4050011793
Kerri Weaver is a service provider for children with disabilities.