Dads Grieve Too
The impact that child loss has on a Dad is huge. These overwhelming feelings can often result in fathers wanting to be strong for the rest of the family, hide any emotions and submerge themselves into work in order to take their minds off the death of their child. Many fathers will feel that society today expects Men to be strong and hide their feelings but, there is a time and a place to be strong and the loss of a child is not one of them. The best thing a Dad can do is reach out for help and express his emotions; asking for help is not a sign of weakness but one of great courage.
Are these feelings of pain, anger and guilt normal?
Absolutely, yes. There are many symptoms and stages of grief with no real logic or pattern to how it is experienced. We all grieve differently and men more so as there can be a pressure in society for them to stay strong and carry on. Men tend to feel frustration if they cannot put things right, and can feel quite helpless regarding the difference between their partners grief and their own. The emotions that fathers experience can be alien to them and their first instinct may be to try and hide from these feelings. These feelings will not go away by ignoring them. All the stages of grief are totally normal and expected and remember they can occur in any sequence and with one particular stage lasting longer than another.
How can I find a release from this pain?
One of the most simple yet effective ways of dealing with the emotions is to find a way to talk about how you are feeling as this can truly help to ease the burden you are carrying. To write those feelings down on paper, even if no one but you ever reads those thoughts, means you have given yourself permission to think about how you truly feel inside. Expressing these feelings may take you totally out of your comfort zone, away from that strong person you and society say you have to be; but to tell your story, to say how you feel is truly the start of the healing process. Resist the temptation to bottle things up and get on with life for the sake of your family. It's important, for the sake of both yourself and your family that you find a way to acknowledge and express the feelings you are experiencing. Remember, the death of a child is like nothing else, you are human and it is OK to miss your child and it is certainly OK to show your emotions over it.
Will life ever be the same again?
They say that time is a great healer; but realistically, time helps you to manage your grief. The pain of losing a child will never leave you but, you will learn to recognise the emotions and feelings and let them flow. In time you will learn to smile again, to look forward and you will begin to find your life now has a "new normal".