A young widowed father opening up about living with loss
I keep being asked how I feel about Father’s Day and what I have planned. The honest truth is that, because I’m lucky enough to already spend so much time with my son, I haven’t really given it that much thought. We’ll just spend the day together doing the things he loves knowing that when he has a smile on his face I have happiness in my heart.
I intend to plan my day around him rather than me. That means making pancakes for breakfast because, apparently, no other morning meal option is round or ‘panky’ enough for his tastes. It means playing with Lego because it would appear that Thomas the Tank Engine’s crown is slowly slipping. It means chasing pigeons around the park because they are ‘silly old birds’. And no doubt it will also mean acting out a euphemistic rigmarole akin to avoiding the name Macbeth in the theatre as we try to order ice cream using only the words ‘something yellow’. Perhaps, I imagine him thinking, if I actually say what I want I won’t get it. And I’ll be reminded, once again, of how much Jackson is like his mum – the only adult I ever knew who would use a longwinded series of riddles, guessing games and hand gestures to indicate that she wanted something as simple as a cuppa.
If I’m really lucky, though, as I was on Tuesday night early this week, the last words I’ll hear on Father’s Day will be, ‘Thank you, Daddy, I had a really nice time with you today.’ And while he sleeps, I’m sure I’ll think about how much I miss his mum. Yet, even if there’s a tear in my eye, I’m pretty sure there will also be a smile on my face. That’s because, just like every other day of the year, Father’s Day will be a time for me to reflect upon how lucky I am to get to spend every day with our little boy – a day to be thankful to my wife for creating such a wonderful child. A child who clearly carries his mummy in his heart.
‘Is Mummy having a nice time in the sky?’ he asked me earlier this week, ‘I hope she doesn’t get wet.’
How proud I am to have fathered a child sensitive enough to worry about his mummy being caught out in the rain. I can picture the hand gestures she’d be giving if her newly-styled hair had got soaked out there, though. But this time I can’t imagine they would politely suggest it was time for a nice cup of tea.