Wow, am I terrible blogger or what? I wanted this blog to be where I share my pain and hopefully let other dads out there know they're not alone. But like most guys, finding the right words wasn't always easy, and I often got too caught up with the other chaos of life continuing.
I'm not sure if I'll be coming back to this or not, but I wanted to make sure to write one more post to the dads out there. I'm a year and four months out from losing Sydney, and as much as I hate to admit it, things are getting easier to deal with. I still miss my little girl with all my heart, and I still very easily tear up thinking about her.
On her birthday, we celebrated by visiting the Butterfly House here in St. Louis. It was a wonderful way of celebrating her instead of letting her birthday drag us down. That's how I want to think of her. I want to celebrate her life, as short as it was.
I saw something on TV the other day that touched me very deeply. On the series premiere of Losing Jillian, there was a family whose weight problems were tied very closely to losing a son 20 years ago. The father had refused to grieve. He refused to talk about it. He kept EVERYTHING bottled up for 20 years. Their poor son didn't even have a headstone on his grave.
It made me very sad for two reasons. One, this man had never dealt with his pain. They pulled out a photo album of their son and he immediately started bawling and saying he couldn't deal with it. Twenty years later, and he couldn't even look at the pictures. That's awful. He had shortchanged himself a lifetime of loving his son because it was too hard. Had he actually dealt with the pain and the awful tragedy that had happened, he might have been a little happier.
Reason number two was that his refusal to cope with his loss hurt his wife as well. She felt like she had dealt with the pain of her baby dying for 20 years alone. There's no loneliness like that. I felt awful for his wife, who finally got up the courage with Jillian Michaels there to force him to deal with this tragedy.
Another reason I just thought of is that if I were this man's son, watching my family from heaven, I'd be pretty heartbroken if my father couldn't even acknowledge my existence. I'm sure in heaven he know how much his father loves him (and I believe he really does love him), but it would still hurt. That is, if there is pain in heaven at all. I hope there isn't, for Sydney's sake.
This brings me to the main point of the entire blog. Don't be this man. Don't be me either. I started out the same way this man did, following what people who didn't know what I was going through told me to do. I was told to be strong for my family. It's a load of bullshit. There is no such thing as strong when you lose a child. In fact, trying to be strong is a sign of weakness. Why? Because all you are doing is avoiding the pain you are feeling. You aren't dealing with anything. You're stuffing it down and declaring yourself the victor over grief. It's a lie. It really is. As awkward as it might seem to those around you, you owe it to yourself to grieve openly. You owe it to yourself to deal with the pain head on. Let it wash over you. Because it's not going to go away until you do. You are just as much of a man if you cry your heart out. Feel free to express yourself any way you want. Some people write blogs. Others take it out on golf balls, or the heavy bag at the gym. That's fine. You're angry, and you should be. You're heartbroken, and you should be. Whatever you do, just make sure you let it out.
In addition to that, make sure to share your pain with your significant other. You might be afraid of upsetting her further, but I can guarantee that she'll be a lot more upset if she thinks you've forgotten about your child. She wants to know that you're hurting too. Yes, it might upset her to talk about it, but you're supposed to be upset. That's natural and healthy. Unhealthy would be to just get over it and put it behind you right away. She feels along, and she needs you there to show her that she's not alone. So get over whatever macho "men don't cry" crap you've been fed in the past. A real man faces his pain head on, not stuffing it down to put on a show for those who don't get it anyway. Trust me, you'll thank me later.
In closing, Sydney, I love you just as much now as I always have. I will always love you and miss you, even after the new baby is here. You are always always always a member of this family and my angel princess. Love, Daddy