Sunday is Father's Day. I knew this - I saw it on my calendar and made a note to call my dad - but I overlooked my husband. Now my mind is spinning as I try to think of the best way to honor him this weekend.
Grieving the death of a child or children is different for men than it is women, and at the top of the list of reasons are social constraints and expectations. People have asked Paul many times over the past 10 months how I'm doing, but 99% of those people haven't bothered to ask him how HE'S doing, whether they're in (or used to be in) our closest circles or are further removed.
He might not tell the truth, even if asked. After all, our societal norms dictate that men be the strong ones, keep real, honest feelings close to the vest, and in no circumstances cry.
I overheard a snippet of conversation he was having on the phone the other night, and it jolted me awake. See, this time last year, we were pregnant, full of more excitement than fear. His first Father's Day he was a father-to-be, full of anticipation for how the rest of his Father's Days might be. We were 7 weeks pregnant and had seen our tiny embryos on ultrasound and heard their heartbeats just days before...and had combatted real, soul-crushing fear two days after as I gushed and we learned of Aliya's placental abruption, and then anxiety coupled with relief as another scan showed them alive and fine. We were parents before our babies were born.
Paul never guessed this Father's Day would feel like this for him: full of dread and apprehension, longing for what was and what we're missing, and struggling with this grief that, in some ways, seems to be escalating.
I can't fix this for him...no one can. I can hope that those who love him step outside the societal norms and let him know they're thinking of him on Father's Day. After all, he is very much a father.
Meanwhile, I'll try to find the right way to express that as his children's mother.