Happy Father's Day? Happy Anniversary? Is that what I'm supposed to say? Both happen to be true for us today. They don't have a card for what I need to say which is, "Happy Crappy Reminder of What You Don't Have Day." I hate these "holidays." When Mother's Day rolled around this year, my husband gave me an article to read that was written by a bereaved father in Still Standing magazine. He quite beautifully described what it was like to watch his wife suffer through a day that was meant to bring her joy at one time, and how he was powerless to stop it. I know my own husband feels like this often. A major portion of his loss occurred the day our son had his first seizure. He lost a piece of his son that day, but he also lost his wife. I became absolutely consumed with taking care of Easton, and that meant everyone else had to get what I had left over. I'm not saying I would change that, because I wouldn't, but that doesn't mean that it was easy for my family.
The thing is, Father's day is hard for bereaved mothers just as Mother's day is difficult for the fathers. The loss of a loved one really highlights your inability to "save" anyone from pain. My children are different, and I couldn't fix that. My son is gone, and has left a gaping wound in my soul. And just for fun, I get to watch the man that I love, suffer daily. Today so many fathers got dried macaroni artwork and ugly ties from their kids. They got to hug each of them tightly, or didn't even think to do it because they can always do that tomorrow. Instead, my husband was reminded all day long, that not all of his children would wrap their arms around his neck today. When he saw all the names on the card, he knew that someone's signature was forged. And why? It doesn't make any sense. Shouldn't all of his babies be here today? Wasn't he a good enough father?
Let me tell you something about this man with a broken heart. He coaches the teams. He reads the bedtime stories. He provides for the family he loves. This can be said of many great dads and my husband is no exception. Unfortunately for him, he's had to be more than that. He's had to be a father to a disabled child. He had to learn early on in his son's life that he would never be able to enjoy sports with him. He began to know what it meant to be on the other side of a difficult parent/teacher discussion. And as painful as each of those losses were, nothing will ever compare to the crushing blow he experienced in those last days of his son's life. What man has to sit by and watch his son deteriorate before his eyes? No part of that is fair. And I can't do a damn thing about it. I remember the first time Easton coded and we weren't prepared at all for what that might look like. We were both panicked, but I just went crazy. I screamed and cried and he pulled me to him in a giant hug but I pushed away and beat his chest. I yelled at him that the timing wasn't right and that this was not how this was supposed to happen. He continued to hold me. He took the beating. What man has to watch his son being revived through a glass window, and also pick his wife up off the floor?
Sometimes I honestly don't know how we got to this day. Frankly, I don't know how we get up and do what we do on ANY given day. It's not because we were "meant to be." It's not because we have some magical super power. And it certainly isn't because I "chose the right Daddy for my babies." You know what? Life happens. Some of us get lucky as shit and things fall into place for awhile. Where will we go from here? Your guess is as good as mine. I know with absolute certainty that there are no guarantees. But, what I do know is what I've seen with my own two eyes. I know what I have lived. I know that just for today we could be the poster children for Still Standing magazine, because we are, in fact, still standing. Well, sometimes it's standing. Sometimes it's leaning. And sometimes it's just falling on the damn floor. If we happen to be standing it can be because we're leaning on each other, and sometimes it's because we know we need to lean away. No one else is on this journey with us. It's ours and ours alone. And although I would give anything to take the pain from his eyes, I wouldn't trade the man he's become. I know the fires he's walked through, and I know his scars because they match mine. So, Happy Shitty Father's Day, Happy Crappy Anniversary, and know that although tomorrow isn't promised, if I'm meant to struggle through another day, I'm grateful to be doing it with you.