A Letter to the Grieving Dad

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

Your stomach flutters, the lump in your throat feels permanent, your senses are heightened, but you also cannot remember much of what happens from day to day.  It takes nearly all your strength to wake up, brush your teeth, and head out the door.  The uncertainty of what will happen next, what emotion any given moment might bring, is almost too much.  You reflexively focus on your spouse, your other living children, your family, or your friends.  In reality, you are torn to pieces from missing your child, but uncertain of how to express it.  You have a new, frightening knowledge of the universe that you did not ask for and you don't know what to do with it.
Your grief may feel like fear at times.  But do not be afraid to express your thoughts, emotions, and opinions.  If today is a dark day, say so.  If you feel like talking about your child, find a listener, even if it's God Himself.  If a quiet moment inside some headphones or a walk around the block is what you need, then take it.  Supporting your spouse does not always mean being the stoic one; your spouse may be comforted to know that you are hurting just like they are.  Do not be afraid to honor your child:  tell their story, show their pictures, visit their gravesite, say their name, wear a necklace, get a tattoo, or just live each day knowing that they have forever made an impact on your life.  

You now know that sometimes, the worst thing can happen to you for seemingly no reason at all.  You have an appreciation for how fragile life can be.  But, knowing that, and living through something that the English language does not have a word for, will make you invincible.  No situation the world throws at you, no stress at work, no disagreement with a friend, no argument with your spouse, no financial worry, can touch you.  You will let go of things that once bothered you, and you will solve tomorrow what in the past caused a sleepless night.  Not because those things do not matter anymore, but because you know their true place in the world.  You know the indescribable power of friendship and love.  Some of your relationships will become stronger than ever and stronger than you could have imagined.  You will be a better husband, father, son, brother, friend, co-worker, boss and human being, because your child has shown you the true value of those things.

May God Bless you and comfort you.

Jason McLean, Board Member
The Still Remembered Project