Finding Compassion During Pain at Father's Day
This Sunday, we celebrate fathers. Our own, first.
The cynical among us would say that retailers and card designers celebrate Father's Day and the rest of us just go along for the ride. My own cynicism is a very light layer on top of a hard core of vulnerability and passion. Father's Day chips away easily at the cynicism and my heart is revealed.
My father died 23 years ago. Certain holidays have been hard, emotionally, ever since.
Father's Day is one of those holidays. No great surprise there.
I miss my father on Father’s Day. I miss being able to celebrate our loving and very flawed relationship. Without him, the day feels empty.
Infertility Grief at Father's Day
My husband is not my father. Yet, while we struggled with infertility, I grieved for him. Outwardly, I grieved for both of us. My husband was and still is, in many ways, a stoic man. Yet, like me, his stoicism is a light cover for a tender and loving heart.
He is in many ways, more compassionate, more forgiving, and more loving than I am. I’m flashier about it all. Louder about it.
He just is.
And his layer on top is easily peeled aside.
Father’s Day hurt him. His wounds, from infertility, were not invisible, nor even hard to see, only hard for me to see past my own pain.
He wondered if he would ever get to enjoy a Father’s Day with a baby in his arms that allowed him to join the Daddy club. He wondered whether he would ever eat breakfast prepared lovingly just for him. Whether he’d ever wear a tie, not one he’d normally wear, picked out especially for him.
When it was safe enough, he wondered about these things out loud. What I couldn’t give to my own father, I gave to my husband. I made it safe enough for him to speak about his own pain by putting my own aside. It wasn’t easy. But giving a true gift isn’t always easy; it’s about finding something from within to offer to someone else. I felt a lot of pain on Father’s Day; I missed my own father and my husband not being a father. I found a way to breathe into that pain and recognize my husband’s need to express himself. I made it safe.
That was my Father’s Day gift to my husband.
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