This day has not held quite the same significance for me that Mother’s Day did. While I was calm and receptive of Mother’s Day, up until the sneak attack the day before, my husband has been the opposite. He has been anxious about Father’s Day for the last week. I wanted nothing more than for this to be a special Father’s Day for him. I have asked him all week to think about what he wanted for Father’s Day, as I wanted this to be as painless as possible. I didn’t want there to be a meltdown fight like we had on Mother’s Day.
I put some thought into what I wanted to get him for this day. I wanted it to be sincere and meaningful. I wanted to incorporate Logan. I found these hats on Etsy that said Legend and Legacy. I bought my husband the Legend one, of course. And Wyatt and Logan the Legacy. I have patiently waited 2 weeks to give him this gift. As it symbolized something powerful for me, and I hoped it did for him too. I was not disappointed when he opened the box. I took pictures of my boys wearing their hats in Logan’s rocking chair. It was perfect and just how I had wanted it. Josh (my husband, also sometimes referred to as J lol) spent some time in Logan’s room, alone. Not something he does very often. He had asked, that should he start crying, that I not come in. Quite a request for me, I’m not a stand by kind of person, especially when it comes to my family. As hard as it was, I obliged. After a few hours, he came out with a letter. A letter to Logan. We blew several balloons up with helium, and each took turns writing a note to Logan on our balloons. We wrapped J’s letter around the balloons with string and watched them sail high in the sky, until we could no longer see them.
After which, we sucked helium and played like kids. Despite our circumstances, we’ve been able to find the good in the bad. While today has been tough for my husband, he was still able to let go, and let the fun in.
There have been a lot of articles lately circulating about “Father’s Grieve Too.” I’ve read a few of them. To me, they all pretty much outline the same points. But I wanted to touch on it, in my own way. In my own experience and opinion. I’ve struggled with this topic since we were diagnosed. Men have this stigma in our society that they have to be the strong one. To carry the family. They are the “fixers” and when they can’t fall in that stigma, they’ve failed. Which is completely, 100% untrue. Yes, they are typically the strong and fix-it partner in a relationship, but they are so much more. I have watched my husband for the past several months, cry for his child. While everyone reached out to me, comforted and supported me, he was very much alone in his grief. I will say, he had a couple friends, and they know who they are, that reached out to him, through their own grief and tried to help him walk through his. They were very valuable.
Father’s are appreciated one day a year. This one day, they are loved for their sweet side. For their gentleness and unconditional love they have for their children. For playing dress up, going to tea parties, making masterpieces in a coloring book. Why is it, that one day a year, the “strong man” stigma gets put aside, and we embrace the softer side of men? Is it so hard to believe that men can suffer like that of a woman? He lost a child. Just as I did. He walked this heart breaking journey, just as I have. His hopes and dreams for his child died just as mine did. While we had different experiences on this walk, we both lost a child. For J, his hands were helplessly tied. He has always taken care of this family, and he was now faced with not being able to save his child. One thing as parents we are weighted with, protect our children. He felt like he had failed Logan because he couldn’t save him. He felt like he failed me because he couldn’t always be the strong leg to stand on, and sometimes, I had to be that strong leg. He felt like he failed Wyatt because for a brief period he couldn’t be the father Wyatt needed.
He. Never. Failed. Wyatt is a resilent child. Once Logan died, J has been a dad to Wyatt, like he never was before. He was a good dad before, but he is an even better dad now. He didn’t fail me. Marriage is teamwork. Sometimes we stand firmly on our own, and sometimes we need to lean on one another for support. That’s what a team does. We carry each other through the finish line. Everything on this journey was teamwork. Every decision, every Dr’s appointment, every conversation. I had his back, and he had mine. And finally, he did not fail Logan.
Letting your son be with Jesus is the most unselfish thing you can do. As much as we wanted Logan to stay with us, his chances of survival through surgery were very slim. We didn’t want him to suffer through that, when he wasn’t in any pain to begin with. If he did survive, he wouldn’t have a life. Was that fair to Logan, to live as a vegetable, with no quality of life, just so we could have him close by? No, it was not what we wanted. And J knew that. He wanted the very best for Logan, and the best meant letting him be with Jesus. When Logan as born, he thrived on my chest. If he was taken off, you immediately saw a change in him. Josh saw this, and unselfishly sacrificed his precious time with Logan, so that he could stay on my chest. Because he knew, that was where Logan was most comfortable. Sacrifice.
“Husbands and fathers are created by God to be providers and protectors, wired to find solutions for those in their care.” -Barbara Rainey
In my opinion, men struggle with child loss, in any form, because they are tasked with protecting their families. How natural it is for them to feel like a failure when God’s tasks seems to slip through their helpless fingers? BUT! I refuse to believe that these fathers went down without a fight. I refuse to believe that they sat by silently and just watched everything unfold. They were there, right beside their wives, supporting her as she supported him. They put their child’s needs above theirs. They sacrificed whatever they had to, to provide the best they could for their child. They were praying, screaming and begging Jesus on behalf on their child’s life. For strength to be there for their wives. Strength to continue to be the man God intended them to be.
I tell Josh often, to not think about what he COULDN’T do for Logan, but rather what he DID do for Logan. He gave Logan the greatest gift: life with Jesus. Life, in general. He wouldn’t have had a life here. He would have suffered here. He lives in Heaven, happy, healthy and wonderful without suffering. In my definition, he is the best father my children could ask for. Logan was blessed to have him for 37 weeks in utero and 14 days after. And Wyatt is blessed to have him for the remainder of his life.
I am proud to call this man my husband and father to my children. I have never second guessed having children with him. And this journey with Logan just solidifies my love for him. I’m proud of the father he is, and I know my children are too.