When I think of my husband Brett and Fathers’ Day I am reminded of song by a band named Blink 182 called “All the Small Things”. The first line of the song reads, “All the small things, true care, truth brings.” Brett’s truth was to show those he loved, unconditional care. When you lose a loved so suddenly, especially to suicide, every moment of that person’s life seems to overwhelm you at once and become the center of all waking thoughts. What I found through all the chaos of my husband’s death was that remembering the small things seemed to bring the most comfort. I could give you a list of traits and accomplishments but I am unsure if that would give you a true sense of whom Brett was.
I remember how much I cried the first night I realized there were would never be another glass of water on my night stand waiting for me because the one who loved me knew I didn’t drink enough throughout the day. There would no longer be a cuddle in the evening telling me in a deep kind voice that I was the best part of his day. And most of all my children wouldn’t have their Dad around the dinner table to share the news of the day.
When Brett was alive I knew time was precious and small gestures matter when it came to the raising kids but I failed to recognize his small gestures when he was living. Fatherhood was something that Brett knew was a gift from God but sadly in his last hours he was tortured with thoughts that he was unworthy and toxic to our children. My children on the other hand never forgot while he was living or when he passed the impact the small things he did had on their life. The tears would fall when they would realize their dad was not going to be there to take them for a Slurpee after school on Fridays or when I would forget to get up on Saturday mornings to make cinnamon rolls like he did every weekend.
With all this said, when the first Fathers’ Day without Brett came upon me I seemed to have gotten lost in the haze of grief and I thought we have to do “it” big. Have a dinner, release balloons, have friends over, memorialize him a special way, etc. Initially the kids went along because that is what my grieving children thought needed to be done not to shatter the fragile shell that was holding their mother together. It wasn’t until the 3rd Fathers’ Day that I realized I wasn’t really doing what my kids wanted to do to honor their father. Truthfully, Brett was an unassuming person who rarely liked the spotlight, so Fathers’ Day while he was alive was usually quiet. So in that spirit we began to have a more quiet and private Fathers’ Day. We would attend church and eat one of his favorite meals, which he had many.
In this change began an idea that we didn’t have to memorialize Brett only on Fathers’ Day or any other special occasion but rather we could honor him throughout our day when we are doing the small things that would have made him happy. Whether it is sharing a funny story on our way to school, cooking a new recipe he might have liked or sharing his struggles so that someone else will know that they matter and that life can be a choice.
My belief is that Brett’s spirit has been woven through the fabrics of our daily lives and this brings great comfort to me and my children. No matter how you decide to honor your loved one whether on a special holiday or just an ordinary Tuesday remember to let your heart and YOUR children guide you. Mother’s don’t always know best!
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