A Letter to the Grieving Dad

"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear." 
- C.S. Lewis - A Grief Observed

Grieving as a Dad and Supporting your Spouse

Grieving as a Dad can sometimes be lonely.  You may feel like the only time you can let your emotions out is when you are alone, because you feel like you need to be "strong" when you are around everyone else.  There are certainly times when your spouse may need you to be collected, clear headed, and a rock to prop up against, but you do not have to be that way every minute of every day.  It is okay to be emotional, upset, vulnerable, even hysterical.  You will process your grief in your own time, so do not try to fit your grief into any other mold.  

Talk to your spouse, family and close friends.  Let them know if you are feeling particularly down on a certain day.  You are entitled to have your emotional days, and you will probably find that your spouse, family and friends are more comforted and relieved to see the emotional side of you than you thought.  Expressing your grief may help you connect with those closest to you.

Do not neglect your health.  The advice to not use alcohol or drugs as a crutch is probably obvious, but also do not forget the benefits of sleep, healthy eating, and regular exercise.  You don't have to go on a bodybuilding training regimine, but do pay attention to your sleep patterns and try to at least get a walk or two in each week.  It's hard to support others when you haven't taken care of yourself.  

Speaking of supporting others, as far as other things you can do to support your spouse, understand that every person grieves differently.  You may not always have the same emotions on the same days, and that is okay.  The best thing you can do for your spouse is to listen; in fact sometimes your significant other may not need you to say anything at all.  Sometimes just being in the room, locking eyes and holding hands is enough.  Expect emotional swings from your partner as well as yourself and above all, have grace and forgiveness with each other.

Supporting Grieving Kids

  • Take care of yourself - Grieving children do better when a healthy adult is available to provide support and understanding to them.
  • Be honest with your child - Do not be afraid to address difficult questions with children. Explain things in simple terms that are age appropriate for them.
  • Acknowledge your child’s grief - Children grieve differently than adults often moving in and out of their emotions quickly. Spend time with them coloring and playing; these activities are opportunities for your child to communicate with you about how they are feeling.
  • Listen - Children ask lots of questions; answer them as best you can. Let them share their story about their sibling in their own way.
  • Create rituals and new family traditions - Involve your living children as much as possible to honor and celebrate your baby. Allow your living child to create their own version of some traditions to honor their sibling.
  • Reassure your child - Your living child’s sense of safety will be shaken; remind them that they are loved.
  • Read books about grief - Encourage your living child to read grief books on their own or read to them. Many libraries have children’s books on grief.

Celebrate and Remember

Just as everyone's grief journey is different, so are the ways a grieving parent can remember and honor their baby. Your special remembrance for your baby might be as simple as lighting a candle, releasing balloons, or even holding a birthday party. As the days and years go on, how you remember, honor and celebrate your baby might change, and that's okay too. We have put together suggestions we pray help you and your family remember/ honor your little one. We pray you find comfort, love and healing as you find your own special way to remember and honor your baby.

Celebrate & Remember
Over Time

Counseling and Crisis Resources

Experiencing the passing of your child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death is a trauma. Many of us have utilized counselors, pastors, and other mental health services to support us along the grief journey. Please seek out support.

Find Help Now

Important Dates

As we work together to raise awareness for pregnancy and infant loss, we also want to share some important dates throughout the year that are recognized by so many of us in the bereavement community. 

  • International Bereaved Mother’s Day:  This occurs the 1st Sunday in May (the Sunday before the traditional Mother’s day) and is a day to recognize and honor bereaved mothers.  This day is celebrated by many in the bereavement community across the globe. Many bereaved mothers and families will gather with others that day to honor and remember their children gone too soon.  Bereaved Mothers are celebrated, honored and remembered as well.
  • 2nd Sunday in May. Mother’s Day.  Even if she has no living children, she is a mom to a child in heaven.  She is a Mother.
  • National Nurses Week: We celebrate the nurses who have stood by our side and are a huge part of our lives during National Nurses week which begins every year on May 6th and ends on May 12th.  We appreciate the hearts and dedication of the nurses who not only remember our babies, but work everyday to help raise awareness and improve care for bereaved parents.
  • October 15th. International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. October 15th. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Wave of Light. To be part of the Wave of Light around the world, take a photo of your candle and post it to Facebook or Twitter using #WaveOfLight at 7pm local time.
  • Children’s Grief Awareness Day -
  • 2nd Sunday in December. Worldwide Candle Lighting Day (created by The Compassionate Friends).