Last year, my husband told me that he didn’t feel the need to be celebrated on Father’s Day since he didn’t have a living child. His announcement didn’t come from a place of anger or even apathy–he was simply stating a fact. He truly did not see any reason to be recognized and was okay with that. While I knew he was satisfied with this arrangement, I couldn’t help but think of just how worthy he was to be recognized for the incredible dad he is–despite how different his day-to-day life may appear when compared with other parents. Bereaved dads are top-notch fathers, often giving their all with little to no recognition from the outside world.

But we see you, dads. As partners, we see you and we celebrate you even when the world forgets.

We saw the way your heart overflowed with love and pride the first time you heard your baby’s heartbeat. We saw the way you supported us through morning sickness, discomforts, and a wide spectrum of emotions. We saw the way you faithfully stood by our side, as friends, family, doctors, nurses, and even strangers showered endless attention on the mom-to-be.

We saw the way your heart broke when that precious heartbeat stopped. We saw the way you asked the doctors questions and selfishly advocated for our needs, as our world stopped spinning and we crumbled beneath the weight of grief. We saw the way you strongly held us up when we felt so weak–and we know you were hurting just as deeply.

As friends, family, doctors and nurses continued to shower us with endless support and attention, it was you who remained our biggest cheerleader. For months, you selflessly responded as buddies and coworkers continued to ask “How’s your wife?” Though you were equally affected, even if in different ways, you never made it about you.

We see the way you protect and provide for us each day. We see the way you move through your day, often unrecognized as the incredible partner and father that you are. There are few men more admirable nor more selfless than you. While you may not crave the recognition, we cannot imagine anyone else more deserving than you. To all of the bereaved dads parenting babies they can no longer hold, we celebrate you not just today but every day. Happy Father’s Day–we appreciate you more than words can say.

Forever Footprints invites you to attend the annual OC Golf to Remember Tournament, July 12, 2018 at 11am at Oak Creek Golf Course in Irvine. To register or receive more information visit http://www.foreverfootprints.org/remembrance/events/oc-golf-to-remember/.

 

Kristin Hernandez

Kristin Hernandez lives in Southern California with her husband Chris and their Queensland Heeler mix, Dakota. After struggling with unexplained infertility for several years, Kristin was thrilled when she became pregnant with Ethan. The celebration quickly turned to concern when doctors discovered Ethan had a serious heart defect and was missing a piece of his brain–likely indicative of a chromosome abnormality. Ethan was born on August 16, 2015 and spent his 93-minute life in his parents’ arms. Kristin is now a mother to five babies in heaven, including four of Ethan’s younger siblings who she has never met. Despite these struggles, Kristin has resolved to embrace the life she has been given and to leave a legacy for her family.  Kristin works in communications by day, but can also be found running, camping, writing or having a conversation over a cup of coffee. She writes at www.sunlightindecember.com and is the cohost of the Through the Lens Podcast.

 

*Header photo by Benedicto de Jesus on Unsplash