A story of grief by a man and a boy

father’s day

It’s Father’s Day in the UK today. For those of us who are lucky enough to actually have a father, it’s probably a time to send a card, pick up the phone or make a visit to show we care. For those who haven’t it might either be a time for reflection or a time to avoid the TV, restaurants, pubs, card shops or any other outlets that inadvertently make us feel worse than we already do by treating us all as if we’re the same.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a father and a father-in-law and I am a father too, so I’m hoping today will be a happy and grateful day for me.

However positive I try to be, though, it’s been hard not think about how strange it will be to receive neither a card containing handwriting that looks suspiciously more like my wife’s than my son’s. Nor a gift that I know he can’t yet afford because he has no access to any savings until he’s 18. So I thought, ‘Sod it! I’ll buy myself something from his account.’ Thanks for my new chair, Jackson! Your taste is impeccable.

Seriously though, today is not about material things for me. It’s not about him behaving any more lovingly towards me than he already does. It’s not about cards, gifts, grand gestures or breakfast in bed. For me it’s about being the one who’s lucky enough to be able to spend another day with my son. For me today’s a day when I will thank my lucky stars that my beautiful wife made me a dad to such a wonderful child.

And it’s for that wonderful child’s future that a friend and I wrote a song as a way of capturing memories of days gone by. We wanted to create something that would one day help him to understand the immediate impact of his mum’s death and what it was like coming to terms with her loss as a father and as a man. I thought I’d share that song today for all the other dads out their who are raising children without their wives or partners by their sides.

Dry Eyes is performed by my good pal Paul Hand. Just click on the ‘play’ icon below to take a listen. You can also read a Father’s Day feature that I wrote in today’s issue of the Sunday People and online here

Me and my lovely little boy

Me and my lovely little boy

10 comments on “father’s day

  1. jen palmer
    June 16, 2013

    Happy father’s day, Ben.

  2. Avril Lamb
    June 16, 2013

    Beautiful song. Really beautiful. Words, arrangement, voice.

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  4. Emma Sheppard
    June 16, 2013

    Beautiful x

  5. Michaela Turner
    June 16, 2013

    Remembering my wonderful Bob on fathers day the bestest daddy, missing you more than ever as always. Fraser Henry and Bobby miss you so much.xx
    Best wishes Ben x

  6. Tony
    June 16, 2013

    Thank you i always thought i was being mean feeling like i do on Fathers and mothers day come to that. My mum died 20 Years ago and dad died 4 years ago. and feel horrible in the build up to both days. Its everywhere you look and reminds me their not here everytime. thanks mate hope you have a great day with your son

  7. corinne Lukomski
    June 16, 2013

    Dear Ben your words touch me profoundly. My partner Bob died on the 17th of February . We have 4 children together aged 6,8,9 and 12. So obviously Father’s day was going to be difficult this year. My eldest daughter came back from school last Wednesday and complained that the school assemblies had all been about father’s day since the beginning of the week. She felt that the school wasn’t not being sensitive to her and her brother. She felt that this year the school should have all together avoided the subject in front of her.
    I listen to her complaint for a while and then said to her. You might feel like that because daddy is no longer with us and you may feel that you have nobody to celebrate anymore. But actually father day this year and the years to come will be the occasion for us to celebrate your father more than ever . We can celebrate how much we love him, how sad we are that he is no longer with us. We can really try to keep his memory alive that day.
    I offered her to celebrate him fully, to have a day just as we would have, if Bob had been with us. We went to Weymouth to his favourite Chinese restaurant on the sea front and ordered as much food as he would have and laugh at it. Afterward all the children went to look for a pebble or a seashell to put on his grave . We had a truly lovely father’s day.

  8. Andy
    June 16, 2013

    Despite missing my gorgeous wife incredibly today i have overridingly felt like a lucky man this fathers day (Had to have a word with myself pretty quick this morning mind when woken for an early start at 5am!). Lucky because you never quite know whats in store and today my son got to share it with his dad and I got to share it with my sons grandad. Happy Dads Day Dads.

  9. Karen Ritchie
    June 17, 2013

    Beautiful Boy looks a lot like Des, her smile and spirit goes on. My son who was in Desreen’s class at St albans has a son two will be three in December. xxxxxxxx

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