Days Go By

As one would rather expect, there is not a Father's Day card for the men in dead baby land. I know - I asked. Oh, don't look at me like that, I asked nicely. I asked if there was a Father's Day card for men who had recently lost their children. Underneath the banner that proclaimed Father's Day was June 21, waving dismissively at the rack of cards, I persisted. A card for someone who will not have the greatest Father's Day, for when things are not good? For a Father's Day that will be hard? Surely, Hallmark, that makes Father's Day cards from the dog, could make a card that acknowledged the painful reality that Father's Day is not always a new tie, an ugly pencil holder and an apron proclaiming "world's greatest dad".

But, no. Let me tell you a secret - there are only 2 Father's Day cards out there. There is the "can I borrow $20 bucks type - clearly identified by it's reference to cars, beer, and bbq's" and the "You're my inspiration - with the attendant river-at-sunset scene" and I think we can all be clear that a living child is a clear pre-requisite for the purchase of both of those cards.

Oh, I can put together a gift, BBQ stuff, M and M's, an F1 car magazine, things to celebrate Mr. Spit's particular interests. I can put together presents, but I wanted the card, to make it legitimate. So that I was not the only person saying that Mr. Spit is a father. In our shared remembrances, in my memory - when I see him cradle our Gabriel. My hair, his father's hands. A mix. With a mother, and a father. Two parents to grieve and celebrate.

The clerk at the Hallmark store suggested a sympathy card, and I realized the problems were larger than card selection. There is a time and a place for sympathy, for tender care and concern, for abiding. But equally, there is a time that recognizes what is. Mr. Spit is a father whose son is not here, not close enough to touch, and not able to make an ugly pencil holder. And frankly, when your son is not here, no one remembers you on this day. You don't count. But, this does not mean we cannot, should not celebrate. Gabriel was here. And in those 30 minutes of here-ness, Mr. Spit became, forever, irrevocably, a father.

Today I wanted to mark this. To mark that if the father of a dead child can do well by his son, can be a good father, then Mr. Spit, he does those things. He remembers faithfully. He grieves. He loves, still, always.

I do not want to be the only one, insisting that Mr. Spit is some one's dad. That he is a father, that he deserves to stand up and be recognized. I wanted a card for him. I didn't want to be the only person insisting that Mr. Spit too, could celebrate Father's Day.
I am tired of the way we are ignored, expected to be over this, to be all better. And, for one day, just one day, I wanted Mr. Spit to be celebrated - feted - held up with all the other fathers, and not shoved off to the side. I wanted to stand up and argue, I wanted Mr. Spit to hear that he is a father. That he is important. That Gabriel is important.
And, I couldn't find a card.

Happy Father's Day darling.