A wife’s letter to her childless husband on Father’s Day

 

I lay in bed the other night, hands crossed over my heart and legs pin-straight, and thought of those words:

This is not about me at all, is it? This is all about you.

That’s what you said to me when I told you I wanted to have the procedure done. A procedure that would be risky, as any procedure is, but that might point us to what’s wrong. The answer to why our children are in the clouds and not here with us.

I was angry at you for saying such a cruel thing. So I went to bed in silence and didn’t tell you to sleep with God and dream with me like I always do. I didn’t kiss you or reach for your hand in reconciliation. I simply lay there, emotionally entombed, trying not to breathe too hard or feel too much as I waited for sleep to find you and take you deep into the hush of night.

But here’s what sleep whispered to me: you were right.

Much of the past six years has been about me. When I was pregnant it was all about keeping me healthy, happy and calm. And when I wasn’t, it was about the same. You took the brunt of my suffering and sadness. You held me when I cried and told me we’d be okay when I ran out of tears. You told me that I was more than enough, that the two of us were more than enough. And on Mother’s Day, when nearly everyone forgot to remember, you were there just as you always are.

Our first child would have turned five this year. My instincts told me she was a girl and this is how I’ve seen her in my dreams: a green-eyed chatterbox with my curly hair and your long lashes, running through a field of asters, buttercups and thimbleweeds. She’s always wearing a white eyelet dress with blue ribbon threading its hem. It’s soiled with what looks like chocolate ice cream and her knees are skinned. I hear her calling to you:

Daddy, Daddy, come find me.

Then she ducks behind a Black Maple, certain you can’t see her. You can, of course, and you find her, pick her up and swing her around as you tell her you love her. Then I wake up, still hearing your laughter, yours and our daughter’s.

I thought of this dream last Sunday as I watched you in the quiet moments before releasing your butterfly in the RTS (Renew Through Sharing) Garden.

Butterfly Release 2014_Ren_butterfly

And I wondered if you whispered I love you before you opened the purple envelope and let her fly away. A symbolic gesture of the sorrow we have felt and an acknowledgement of the tremendous weight of empty arms.

Butterfly Release 2014_butterflies

When I opened my own I sent some sadness with it: sadness for thinking my heartache went deeper because it could be seen and sadness for not honoring the differences in our grieving.  Because there are differences.

Perhaps you have always been strong because you felt you had to or because that’s just who you are. But I want you to know…

it’s okay to cry,

it’s okay to scream,

and it’s okay to shake your fist at the moon.

And it’s also okay to be silent. I know that now.

If we earned parenthood, if it was somehow based on merit, you would be a father because you deserve a child you can hold and touch and by whom you can be completely enamored. And you deserve to be called daddy in more than just my dreams. So, this Father’s Day, I hope you know how much you’re loved, both here on Earth and beyond where our angels reside.  And that it is about us.

Always us.

Always the five of us.

Butterflies_nook

 

  One thought on “A wife’s letter to her childless husband on Father’s Day

  1. June 27, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    I felt the urge to hug you and tell you hoe strong you are for making it through all these. Never lose hope!! 🙂 You’d be a wonderful Mom. 🙂

    • June 28, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      That’s so kind of you to say, Kate.
      Thank you!

  2. June 27, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    This was touching. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • June 28, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      So kind of you to say, Judy. All my appreciation for your time.

  3. June 28, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    So beautiful! Tears are rolling down my face. We experienced our first miscarriage at 9 weeks (after trying for 4 years to get pregnant) shortly before Father’s Day this year. I kept making it about me when my husband turned to me one night with tears in his eyes and said “You aren’t the only one going through this”. It was a reminder that I wasn’t alone in the sadness and heartache. Your writing was very healing for me today. Hope you and your husband have a very happy ending after all of this heartache.

    • June 28, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Peace to you. I also just had a miscarriage at 9 weeks approximately 6 weeks ago. I’m so glad you find comfort knowing you are not alone. I’ve said a prayer for you today.

      • June 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm

        Thank you so much. So sorry about your loss. Wishing us both a much happier rest of 2014!

    • June 28, 2014 at 5:08 pm

      Oh, sweetie, I am so sorry for the pain you’ve felt. And I know how hard it is, especially when the wounds are so fresh. I will be thinking of you, your husband and the little love you so tragically lost.

      Please know I’m here if you ever need someone to listen or respond (I’d be happy to do both, as I wish I would have had the same during our first loss).

      Blessings to your tattered heart. And to all the love within it.

      Heart,
      Dani

      P.S. Please do keep in touch.

      • June 28, 2014 at 5:13 pm

        Thank you so much Dani, and will do. Was truly shocked to find out how common miscarriage is but how uncommon it is to talk about. Going through this I have had girlfriends who have gone through multiple miscarriages that I didn’t even know about. Your story breaks my heart but I love your strength and can see it through your writing.

  4. June 28, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    There is strength in sharing our stories, dreams, and loss. Thanks for having the courage to share yours.

    • September 8, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      And thank you for allowing me the space and grace to do so.

      With heart,
      Dani

  5. Cara & Josh Carpenter
    June 28, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    So beautiful! *Hugs*

    • June 28, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      Thank you so much, Cara.

      Hugs back ❤

  6. June 28, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    This is the sweetest thing. May God grant you a miracle at his appointed time

    • July 1, 2014 at 12:27 am

      Oh, thank you, Tasha.
      I hope so.

  7. June 28, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    This is so, so beautiful and touching. I haven’t yet read anyone else’s comments, but I’m sure people are saying the same thing. Thank you for sharing this. I’m especially touched as I recently published an article on my blog about infertility, childlessness and miscarriage. My heart goes out to you as I know that nobody can know how this feels apart from yourself. x

    • July 1, 2014 at 1:07 am

      Thank you for your kind words, Sharon. Sadly, I couldn’t find the article you spoke of on your blog. Would you mind sending me the link??

      Blessings,
      Dani

      • July 1, 2014 at 12:26 pm

        Sorry, I think the design I chose is not very user-friendly! I will find it and send you the link as requested.
        God bless x

        • July 1, 2014 at 2:47 pm

          Sharon, if you click the lil magnifying glass in the upper right hand corner, you can type in the name of the post and it will take you to it.

          Blessings, Charissa

          • July 2, 2014 at 5:15 pm

            Thank you Clarissa. I probably would not have noticed that for 5 years! I appreciate your help. God bless xx

          • July 2, 2014 at 5:36 pm

            And blessings to you as well.

            🙂

      • July 1, 2014 at 12:36 pm

        http://lovingmyfather.com/2014/06/17/empty-womb-empty-cot-empty-arms/

        Hi Dani,
        Here is the link. It’s more for non-Christians but I hope it will bless you too. I’m sorry you couldn’t find the article – I know how frustrating it is ploughing through other people’s stuff! I hope you did not waste too much time lost in the middle of my blog world. Blessings x

  8. liz
    June 28, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    That was a beautiful letter, thank you for sharing your experiences and for staying strong.

    • July 1, 2014 at 1:08 am

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Liz.
      So sweet of you.

      Heart,
      Dani

  9. June 29, 2014 at 4:54 am

    Beautiful letter. I hope you share it with him, it touched me deeply. And I am sorry for the loss that is both of yours. God bless and strengthen you both Dani. ❤

    • July 1, 2014 at 1:18 am

      Oh, I did, Tanyeno. He was very supportive, as he always is.

      I am very blessed.
      And beyond thankful ❤

      • July 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm

        That’s wonderful Dani, you two are ONE. 🙂 🙂 And yes, blessed you are… 🙂 🙂

        ~T

  10. June 29, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Oh. This has got me crying. It’s broken my heart. I don know if to say sorry, it will be okay, or just silence? Well i will just stare into the sky and whisper a prayer.

    • July 1, 2014 at 1:21 am

      I am beyond grateful for the prayer, Jean.
      Beyond ❤

  11. June 29, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Reblogged this on jeanslilworld and commented:
    This is too deep not to want share. The hurt in this post is tangible. I feel sharing it may touch another soul.

    • July 1, 2014 at 1:20 am

      Thank you for this, Jean. How sweet of you!

  12. June 29, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    I truly understand your state ‘cos I am in the same waiting vale for 7years. Rely on your inner strength to pull through. God bless you

    • July 1, 2014 at 1:23 am

      I’m so sorry you know the depths of this pain.
      May God bless you, as well.

      Heart,
      Dani

  13. June 30, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Beautiful! 🙂

    • July 1, 2014 at 1:25 am

      Thank you, sweetie.

  14. July 1, 2014 at 1:46 am

    This is beautiful. I literally teared up. I’m so sorry for your loss. I also wanted to give both you and your husband a hug.

    • July 4, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      Thank you so much. We’d appreciate the hug, I assure you.

      Heart,
      Dani

  15. July 2, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    There are tears in my eyes as I write this. I went through the fertility process for over 2 and a half years, I wrote about it in my blog. One that stands out is “She Said My Eggs Were Too Old” about the things people say without even thinking. We lost friends who thought we weren’t as “into” their babies even though they knew we were in pain and struggling. It’s a horrible feeling. We were lucky and blessed to have two children of our own later but what I have always remembered and think about every day (and will probably blog about later) is “There are so many ways to Love.” So many different ways, your butterflies, your heart, your soul all are beautiful but I have to say knowing I will be yelled at, I do think it is a little different for the mother and the father.Of course the father feels the loss, but the connection? We own that. Best wishes and love to you, to your angel babies, your husband and to HOPE.

    • July 4, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      It really is so hard to understand. And there are no words. You know, there just aren’t. I remember crying over and over to my husband about the horrible things people said, most likely because they felt they had to say something, when in actuality silence, a squeeze of the hand or a hug would have been preferable. The comments that hurt me most were the ones with God at the center: “God knows best”, “God has taken (them) to a better place”, “Thank goodness, God is in control”, etc. I am a firm believer in God, His heart and His power, but I resented these comments and often lost my cool because of them.

      Thankfully, we haven’t lost any friends, but we ARE quite sensitive about who we let into our little world. We prefer to be around people who are sensitive to our heartache and who love us through it, knowing there is no time frame for loss and mourning. The get-through-it-and-over-it type aren’t for us.

      Honestly, I’d love to be able to zip myself into my husband’s skin and for him to step into mine. I’m sure if we were able to, we’d see and feel how deep and mufti-faceted our pain is. While I know our babies lives began inside of me, the thought of them lived in his heart long before they ever lived in mine. In my mind, we both lost. My pain is different, but not bigger than his. Never bigger.

      Thank you for your wishes of hope and love.

      Heart,
      Dani

  16. dieradiera
    July 4, 2014 at 5:45 am

    I feel you. Mine would’ve turn 3. Stay strong. hugs.

    • July 4, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      I’m so sorry, love.
      Strength to you, too.

      • dieradiera
        July 5, 2014 at 5:03 pm

        Thank you. Hugs.

  17. July 4, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your heart in such an open, honest way. I can’t imagine your pain, but I greatly respect your strength and how you keep on loving each other.

    • July 4, 2014 at 11:13 pm

      For us, the only option was to love through it since we’d seen too many couples do the opposite. It’s hard when your dreams don’t come, but it makes it easier remembering that the start of the dream was always us. And, not matter what, it still is.

      • July 7, 2014 at 1:21 pm

        Which is the perspective that I respect so much. WTG!

  18. July 5, 2014 at 11:57 am

    I just happened to stumble across this beautiful letter. With tears rolling down my face I want to Thank you for really putting everything into prospective.

    • July 5, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      I’m so glad that you stopped by. And perspective?? I’m not sure what you needed it for, but I’m happy you found some here.

      Blessings to you,
      Dani

      • July 6, 2014 at 2:14 am

        Perspective, I knew that didn’t look right when I typed it. My husband and I have been struggling with fertility issues, ttc for the past 7 years. Your letter just made me realize that I have been guilty of not taking into account my husbands feelings as much as I should be.

  19. July 5, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    They say when you least expect it and stop trying it will happen if it’s meant to be. I hope that is true and I wish it for you. Some people should not be parents and it boggles my mind why so many of those people seem to pop out babies while people who would be wonderful parents struggle. Sending love and positivity. It says positivity is not a word, but it certainly should be. 🙂

    • July 5, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      I’ve heard the same from many others and hope it to be true…for us. I just read about a GA man who kept his toddler in a hot car for 7+ hours last month. The child died. I found myself angry and near tears wondering how he became a father when my husband hasn’t. But then I reminded myself that the majority of lessons come through unexpected means. For me, losses were unexpected. Perhaps, for that GA man, murder was, as well.

      P.S. Positivity?!?!? Should totally be a word.

  20. July 7, 2014 at 5:40 am

    Dear Dani, Thanks for being patient and calm in life’s journey 🙂
    I personally feel that parenting, motherhood and fatherhood has nothing to do with BLOOD. We share some of the most innocent emotions and feelings with the one who aren’t related to us by birth, This is the way life goes! Parenting more than any duty is a feeling… we can feel it for any soul. I hope you are getting what I am trying to say. Get your little bundle of happiness and don’t compromise in life. Don’t waste your love, somewhere, somebody is needy..get them!
    Loads of love~

    • July 12, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      Andrea,

      I just loved your comment. Especially this:

      “Don’t waste your love, somewhere, somebody is needy..get them!”

      R and I are considering all our options and while we’re not sure where they’ll lead, we hope that it’s to our child–born of our bodies or born of our hearts.

      With blessings,
      Dani

  21. July 9, 2014 at 2:11 am

    I have never had a miscarriage or lost a child. I have one single son who is my all and my everything, even with his stubborn opinions and teenaged attitude at 16 years old. But I think the most profound thought was in a comment which said: “There is strength in sharing our stories, dreams, and loss. Thanks for having the courage to share yours.” Your story was so honest and moving, I was deeply touched by your sharing, and although I cannot replace your angels, I can still send you love from my heart to yours (and your husbands) because your story could have been my story. Keep well, and be blessed. You are truly special 🙂

    • July 12, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      Gale,

      Your comment touched my heart. Yes, my story could be yours, as yours could be mine. There is power in peace in knowing such a truth and in sharing hearts because of it.

      Blessings to you, your son and your story.

      Heart,
      Dani

  22. July 10, 2014 at 8:32 am

    This is the first article with more than five paragraphs that I have read since I started blogging. This article is just so honest and many can relate to it.

    I too have many friends and relatives who went through such pain and sorrow. Just like you, they all survived the agony and are thankful still for all the blessings they received each day. I may or may not experience the same thing years from now but I hope that I will be able to surpass it.

    Most of the commentators are women. I was wondering how do men feel about losing a child? I want to understand them more. Thanks a lot for posting this article. More blessings to come.

    • July 12, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to read, GleAnne. I was sorry to hear those you love know this pain. And I must tell you: I hope that you do not come to know it for yourself. But, if you do, know this: you will get through it. There is always life after loss.

      Blessings to you, sweetie,
      Dani

      P.S. I had wished that more men would comment, as well. but I’m thankful for the few that did share their hearts. I know it isn’t easy.

      I know.

  23. July 14, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful piece of your soul.

    • July 14, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, Delaney.

      It means much more than you know.

      Heart,
      Dani

  24. July 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    One word for this! *Powerful! Thanks for sharing Dani!
    The strength within you is loud enough

    • July 16, 2014 at 6:05 pm

      So kind of you to say, Norryn. I suspect there’s a great deal of strength within you too.

      Heart,
      Dani

  25. July 18, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Heartbreaking and beautifully written. My husband and I haven’t begun to try for kids yet, but I have uterus didelphys (a double uterus) so we’ll go into it knowing the road will be hard and with no certainty at the end. People keep asking me when we are going to start trying and I usually answer honestly, citing graduate school, our happiness and fulfillment in our new marriage, and our worries about my condition that mean we want to wait until we have more financial security. One of the big points I’ve brought up with several people is that the uterus didelphys means we are extremely likely to have miscarriages, including late-term ones, and I’m not ready to deal with that yet. The response I’ve gotten from many people? A flippant, “oh, well everybody has miscarriages.” I know I will be devastated when it happens to me, and there are many strong women who share their heartbreak as you have done. I don’t understand why miscarriages and all of the other possible complications, stillbirths, etc. are swept under the rug and rarely discussed or treated publicly as the emotional, life-changing experiences they can be.

    • July 18, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      I don’t know either, Annie. And I truly hope you don’t come to know this pain. But if you do, know that you will eventually get beyond it. Not that you will ever forgot, but that one day it won’t be as searing as it once was.

      Oh, and just to lift your heart a bit: my sister has the same condition you do, never suffered miscarriage and just had a healthy baby last year.

      I hope that once you’re ready, your story will read the same.

      Heart,
      Dani

      P.S. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m quite pleased to “meet” you.

      • July 18, 2014 at 6:42 pm

        I’m so happy to hear about your sister! Best wishes to her and her family. I’m glad to “meet” you as well.

  26. July 19, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    I tip my hat to you Dani.

    • July 19, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      Thank you, Vincent. Your comment and sentiment are much appreciated.

      Best,
      Dani

  27. July 26, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    I’m so sorry. My wife and I are finding it very difficult to have children.
    http://8ways2.wordpress.com/

    • July 28, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      Oh, I know, Matt. I’ve been following Kayla’s posts. I’m truly sorry and pray for full arms for both of you soon.

      Blessings,
      Dani

  28. August 3, 2014 at 1:37 am

    A beautiful, heartfelt post. When our only child died, my husband and I lived our grief for him very differently. For me, one of the many heartwrenching things about the death of a child is you can’t really expect the person you love the most to be there for you all the time, because often they are busy just getting by themselves. Over time we found our way by sometimes walking our road of grief alone, while still respecting the need to share. Some nights we went out for dinner and just held hands, other nights we shared our feelings as we shared our food.
    This is such a precious post on a very important aspect of grief. Thank you for sharing.
    Take care
    Tricia

    • August 12, 2014 at 4:51 am

      Oh, Tricia, thank you for sharing your heart so beautifully. My husband and I have walked along both parallel and intersecting lines. I prefer the latter, but sometimes the former helps us to better understand our own hearts when we finally do intersect.

      Blessings,
      Dani

    • August 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      And I am deeply sorry about your son.

  29. October 18, 2014 at 4:58 am

    Dani, I can’t find the words to say what I’m feeling right now. I am in tears right now. You commented on my recent article about my miscarriage, so I know you know exactly what I am feeling right now. You and your husband are such brave and beautiful souls. I am so sorry for your losses, and I pray that you and your husband are able to find comfort in one another’s arms. Blessed be, my friend.

    • October 23, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      I will tell you…R and I love harder and deeper than we ever have. And while I don’t wish for anyone to go through what we have, I know each loss has made us better, kinder, more for others and less for ourselves.

      I will always be my babies’ mother. I know that now. And you?…?..? You will always be yours, as well.

      Blessings of heart and healing to you,
      Dani

  30. November 19, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Dani, this is so vulnerable and beautiful! Thank you, friend, for once again sharing your “mother heart” with us…as well as sharing your husband’s

    • January 19, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Oh, Gracie, how did I miss this?? Thank you for reading and for entering this space with me…with us…and for being a force for Good. I love reading the beats of your heart. Truly.

      With friendship,
      Dani

  31. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me
    January 19, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Thank you, Dani, for sharing something so personal with all of us.

    • December 13, 2020 at 12:00 am

      Going back through comments, I realized I never replied directly. I’m so sorry.

      Thank you for reading, Lisa. I wrote this for us, yes, but I also wrote it for so many in this community who haven’t been able to do the same. It was my way to honor my husband, step forward in transparency, and breathe into those whose hearts are Full, but whose arms remain empty.
      With heart and sincere thanks,
Dani

  32. January 19, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Thank you for reading, Lisa. I wrote this for us, yes, but I also wrote it for so many in this community who haven’t been able to do the same. It was my way to honor my husband, step forward in transparency, and breathe into those whose hearts are Full, but whose arms remain empty.

    With heart and sincere thanks,
    Dani

  33. January 29, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    Just . . . wow. I am left without the right and proper words, in this moment I’m not certain they exist. Not in this moment. Heartbreaking beauty flowed through these words and squeezed my heart . . .

    • December 13, 2020 at 12:01 am

      Thank you for the beautiful comment. I am touched. Truly.

  34. February 12, 2015 at 8:56 am

    I have this saved as a favorite and read it every few weeks. It’s an amazing write, and find myself thinking about it often. Thank you again, for sharing everything. I hope you and your husband are well.

    • December 13, 2020 at 12:04 am

      How did I never respond to this, Joe? I’m so sorry. Thank you for visiting, reading, and sharing such kind words. I hope your family is as well as can be expected/hoped for in such a year as this.

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