Where Are the Dads?

I have been out in the ‘grieving parent blogosphere’ for a while now. There are a lot of mothers posting the most beautifully eloquent writings about their experiences, their lost children, the struggle to rebuild their shattered lives. So far, I have encountered a scant handful of fathers who have dared to bare themselves on the interwebs. I wonder why that is. Is it because Men are expected to “be strong”, bury our emotions for the sake of our families, employers, friends, the world at large? I can’t tell you how many times friends have told me, “You have to be strong for Terry now.” All well and good, but who is there to be strong for me? Myself? I guess so.

Real Men Don’t Cry. Seriously? I guess I must not be real, because I cry frequently now; my emotions run perilously close to the surface. To the contrary, Real Men do cry. Their tears, no less bitter, are for the same things all parents who mourn the loss of a child cry for: the emptiness where there was once so much life and joy, the longing to hold their children in their arms again, all the times they spent with their kids, now over forever, the bittersweet memories, the shattered future.

In reading these blogs, both women’s and men’s, so many of their words, thoughts, and feelings resonate with me. But men are different from women; our role in creating a child and bringing him (or her) into this world is different too. A father’s relationships with his children are different than a mother’s. Their roles are different in raising their children. It might not be politically correct to say so, but they just are. Each combination, father/son, father/daughter, mother/son, mother/daughter is unique. A father does different things with his son or daughter, has a different connection, different expectations than a mother does. It is only natural that our response, our emotions will not be exactly the same as a mother’s. There are few forums for Dads to share their experiences, but our grief is just as deep seated, just as agonizing, just as debilitating, yet so few of us dare to share that in public.

One of the Dads out there has written a book about his story, interviewed fathers who have lost children, set up his web page to allow others a forum to post their thoughts and feelings. Another one has a video seminar and workbook you can download to help with your process. They both have been on this journey for some years now, and are doing what they can to help others. I applaud them. They opened the dialog and encourage others to participate. I am new to the party, still only 10 weeks in; I have so much farther to travel, so much more to learn.

I began writing primarily as a means of processing my own emotions, but if I can help others find some common ground, that elevates this endeavor to another, higher level. It isn’t enough to rail and ramble, publicly or privately; we need to connect. I welcome comments from other fathers who are members of this ghastly fraternity. We cannot take away the hurt, cannot repair each other’s lives, but we can come together to reassure ourselves that we are not alone. Give permission for us to rant and rave, cry and scream, do whatever our ragged emotions dictate now. Even though we will never be the same again, there will be some kind of healing that takes place over time. Only over time. Or so they tell me. How much time differs for each person, father and mother. But this much is clear, we cannot do this alone.

About edcol52

The Infinite Fountain of Love and Loss flows unceasingly into the pool of memory and sorrow. I created this blog in response to the most dreadful tragedy every parent fears, the death of a child, our 24 year old son, Jake. We are now on an unimagined journey along this road of grief and recovery. If you can find some comfort within these pages, than I will have succeeded in some small measure.
This entry was posted in Coping, Healing, Jake Colman, Kindness, Progress, Support and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Where Are the Dads?

  1. Anne Rodman says:

    Ed, as long as I’ve known you, you’ve been a human being who took pleasure in words and language. Right now, you’re using those skills to be one of the welcome pathfinders for other men, who’ve suffered too long the cultural and personal consequences of having to hide their emotions. The world is a better place for men like you.

  2. Bee Colman says:

    You have always been of person of feeling and compassion, not afraid to show it. It is one of your many strengths. You ask who will be strong for you? There are many of us who are and will continue to be strong for you and Terry.
    I am so proud of you.

  3. I would suspect that many bereaved fathers appreciate your blog because it gives them permission to express their own sorrow openly. I know that my husband relates to your writing, not only because he identifies with you, but also because your writing is especially insightful and articulate. You’re correct that far fewer fathers are sharing their feelings in the blogosphere, but I believe that you’re also right that their pain is profound.

    • edcol52 says:

      I can only hope that you are right when you say many fathers read this. Right now, there aren’t as many visitors I would like, I am sure that will change as time goes on. This blog is only six weeks old. I am truly grateful that your husband finds some solace here, he is welcome to leave a message on my new “Share Your Story” page. Thank you for your kind words and support.

  4. Wade Courtney says:

    Great post! I write too as a means of processing all of my emotions surrounding the unexpected death of my daughter.

  5. Pingback: WHY? BECAUSE WE LIKE YOU! | What Kate Did Next

  6. 2shineblog says:

    Your posts are so insightful and eloquent. You are right that men often have a hard time dealing with their grief… perhaps not only in this type of forum. I remember when my sister was dying in the hospital (after a lifelong illness) the doctor (a man) told us that it is usually the men that have the hardest time going through the grief… because they hold it in. So kudos for you daring to take a different path. You are leading yourself and other fathers in a new way of being human… connecting and being open with your pain.

  7. Pam Thompson says:

    Ed, you are a great role model for other fathers to share their experiences. However, unfortunately it seems that most men tend to shut down and bottle up their emotions. This is exactly what my husband is doing and it makes me so worried for his wellbeing.

    • edcol52 says:

      Pam- There are a couple of resources for him. If he will, have him read this blog.Maybe he can relate to some of the things I am saying. He can also check out “Grieving Dads”. There is a link on my home page under Blogs I follow. There are many, many dad’s stories there. If you like, I can email him and begin a dialog if you think that would help. Let me know what I can do. Be well.

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