I saw this great article on examiner (dot) com about Father's Day and Grief. I wanted to share it with you. Pass it on to all the bereaved father's and let them know that you are thinking of them and haven't forgotten their pain.
Grieving on Father's Day
Fathers are often referred to as the hidden grievers. When a child dies, thoughts generally go to the mothers—the agony they most certainly are suffering, their loneliness, emptiness, now that someone who was once a part of them is gone. Women tend to grieve outwardly, talking to their friends, crying, seeking out supportive groups and friends to be with and with whom to share their burden of sorrow.
Men, on the other hand, have a much more inward grieving style. Men are usually more factual than emotional. They accept more readily that nothing they say or do will reverse the situation; their child is irrecoverably gone from this earth. They may weep at times, but that is not their primary mode of mourning. A man may throw himself into his job with fervor, perhaps to help alleviate the feeling that as the “family protector,” he has failed to keep each member safe. He may begin or continue a project, or start a new activity, in memory of his loved one, to whom he dedicates his efforts.
Men are more concrete in their thinking, but that does not mean they grieve less. What it often does mean is that they get less emotional support; people see them return to work, keep busy at home, and assume “they’re over it.” Little do others realize that men agonize through their grief and mourning fully as much as women, and appreciate just as much the caring word, the hug, a recalled memory, a shared moment of silence.
Perhaps the best gift you could ever give a grieving father on Father’s Day is the recognition of his loss, and affirming him as a father in mourning. A book especially for men in grief; a card recognizing that he is missing one of those who made him a father, yet he is still a father; a gift in memory of his child; or simply a hug, an arm around the shoulder, or a compassionate word will assure him that although he does not grieve outwardly much, those who truly care about him have not forgotten.
For Dads of any age or stage in life, who have suffered loss:
Books: A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. The writer’s journal following the death of his beloved wife, as he struggled to hold onto his faith. A meaningful book after any loss. (Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1976, $11.99)
Anna: A Daughter’s Life by William Loizeaux. A father’s story of the loss of his infant daughter. (Arcade Pub., New York, 1993. $19.95)
Heaven by Randy Alcorn. What will heaven really be like? Picture heaven as Scripture describes it—bright, vibrant, physical, free from suffering and sin, brimming with Christ’s presence, wonderous beauty, and the richness of human culture as God intended. (Tyndale House Publishers, 2004, $24.99)
Shattered Dreams, God’s Unexpected Pathway to Joy by Larry Crabb. An excellent book when questions are unanswered and God “doesn’t make sense.” (Waterbrook Press, 2002. $13.99) When There Are No Words: Finding Your Way to Cope with Loss and Grief by Charlie Walton. “…a conversation between a sensitive, articulate victim of sudden, tragic loss and any person struggling to endure the numbing first hours and weeks of a life catastrophe.” From the back cover. Highly recommended. (Pathfinder Pub., 1996, $12.95)
When Good-Bye is Forever: Learning to Live Again After the Loss of a Child A Bereaved Father’s Inspiring Guide to Overcoming Tragedy by John Bramblett. Guilt, sorting out your feelings toward a responsible third party, marriage survival from a dad’s perspective. (Ballentine Books, 1991) Out of print; available through Amazon Used Books
A Grace Disguised by Gerald Sittser. On a family trip, the Sittser’s van was struck by a drunk driver, and in a moment’s time he lost his wife, four year old daughter, and mother, leaving him a single parent to his three surviving children. This book tells of his long journey through grief to healing. (Zondervan Press, 1998, paperback, $9.99) Also available in Spanish. Lament for a Son by Nicholas Wolterstorff. A son was killed in a climbing accident in 1986. This short book is highly recommended by almost everyone who reads it. (Eerdmans Publishing, 1987, $12.00)
Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing by Thomas Golden. Powerful ways to heal, how the genders differ in their healing, and how loss impacts the entire family. (Golden Healing Publishers, 2000, $13.95) Grieving the Unexpected: The Suicide of a Son by Dr. Gary Leblanc. Dr. LeBlanc openly discusses his family’s struggle to survive such a dreadful event, the variables that sustained them during the initial shock and the healing process that enabled them to commence their journey towards wholeness. (Essence Publishing, 2003, $8.95)
When a Man Faces Grief/A Man You Know is Grieving by James E. Miller, Willowgreen Publishing; 1998, $6.95. Two books in one. One half is for men who are grieving, with 12 helpful suggestions, each a chapter by itself. The other half is for those who want to understand and help men who are grieving, also in twelve short, helpful chapters. (Willowgreen, $6.95)
Websites for Men: Crisis, Grief and Healing Tom Golden’s website dealing with men’s grief. Offers a message board, chat room, articles, book excerpts, book ordering information and more. Tom Golden is recognized as the foremost authority on men and grief.
Lamenting Sons: Fathers and Grief This site is full of information and links for men who have suffered the loss of a child.
Music/DVD: Songs of Hope & Healing and Songs of Inspiration - Eric Gnezda Two CD collections of songs of loss, comfort and solace. The second one includes Blossoms Of Hope, an anthem of triumph and survivorship for those facing adversity and loss. $10.00 ea. Getting Through It: Music and Words to Help You with your Loss Various artists. Songs include Walking Through the Fire, Band of Angels, By and By, Amazing Grace, Part of My Life, and Tears in Heaven. $14.95 + s&h At Water’s Edge DVD. Relax to the Peace of Nature and the Power of Music. A stress managment tool kit. A beautiful composition of real-time scenes in nature, each captured at the side of a lake, a pond, a mountain stream or the ocean. The viewer is visually drawn into the picture as though actually sitting outside along the water's edge. Experience being at the threshold of a peaceful and calming place. $19.95.
Broken Hearts, Living Hope, free monthly newsletter published in Tigard, OR and distributed to families worldwide for families who have suffered the loss of a child.