It’s Ok To Be Sad You Don’t Have A Dad

Why I Wrote This Post

I wrote this post because the more I talk with people the more I realize people losing their dads or not having dads present in their lives emotionally is more common than people think these days.

I plan to form this blog post into a children’s book one day. This is another rough draft idea of mine. Let me know what you think and what is helpful. If you haven’t read the other children’s book idea of mine I posted it May 15, 2015 entitled “Every Deserves A Pom Pom” if you want to read that one as well.

I wrote this as an exaggerated discussion with my almost 4-year-old son. We have had many conversations like this one but I combined many ideas into one. Hope you enjoy it:

“Mommy. It makes me sad I don’t have a dad”

“I know it does honey. I’m sad you don’t have a dad too. I miss your dad all the time.”

“Yeah, he was a good dad.”

“He was. And he loved you so much.”

“Yeah I know. ”

“I know none of your friends have lost their dads like you baby but Father’s Day is not easy for everyone.”

“What do you mean?”

“Some people have father’s who love them. Some have father’s who don’t. Some have father’s that look like great dads when they are around other people but when they are at home they are not nice to their families. Some have father’s who left their family to live somewhere else and didn’t tell anyone where they went. Some father’s got divorced and live in separate homes from their kids and only see them certain days. Some have never even got to meet their dad. And some die like yours. And I know nothing I say can bring him back or ever replace your dad but you did have a dad for two years of your life.

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Our first and only time we went to the beach just the three of us. Shortly after this our 14 month cancer journey started.

You had a dad who loved you. You had a dad who cared about your heart and your character. You had a dad who dreamed of playing baseball with you when you got older. You had a dad that even though he had cancer and was in so much pain he chose to love you and me until he died. He chose to hold you when you cried. He chose keep working so we could have food to eat everyday.”

“Yeah, I remember watching TV with him and the nurses in the hospital gave me juice and crackers when we visited daddy. I still feel sad though.”

“I know you do. I cannot take away the sadness that you feel. But I can join you in your sadness. I get sad a lot too about missing your dad. And I can join you when you angry, or feel lonely, or feel like you are the only one without a dad. Because I feel the same things sometimes and it makes me sad you have to feel these things. But do you know what I else I can do?”

“What?”

“I can pray for you. Prayer is not only for talking to God it is also a way to invite him to join you in how you are feeling.  I can pray that you would feel God’s comfort like a warm blanket around you. I can pray for your heart to have peace like a peaceful lake. I can pray that God would sing over your heart kinda like how when mommy sings you to sleep. Some times prayers are like hugs for our hearts. I guess you could call them prayer hugs. Some problems cannot be fixed but everyone deserves to be hugged and have their hearts hugged by God when they are hurting or having a bad day.”

“Yeah but I’m having a sad day.”

“Yeah, we all have sad days. But we have each other and we have God and so many friends and family to be with us when we are having sad days.”

Closing Remarks

I hope that however you are feeling this Father’s Day you would know that you are loved. I know there are some people who don’t have dads like my son or have dads that they have never felt loved them back. But you are loved by so many other people. And even though I cannot physically be with everyone who is hurting this Father’s Day know that I pray that God would hug all of your hearts today with however you are feeling today. He cares about our hearts and our hurts. I can never get enough of this verse of God being protective like a father but also gentle and loving like a mother:

Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV) says:

“The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”

 

The Need For Community: Don’t Hike Alone

I have always felt like  hiking is a lot like life. There are ups and downs, there are times when there seems to be nothing but an uphill climb, there are times when you need to rest, there are times when you feel you aren’t going to make it; but if it’s a long hike you should always walk it with other people.

Many churches talk about marriage, have marriage conferences, constantly talk about how to have a healthy marriage, and so on. Which is good, and we shouldn’t stop talking about it, but if that takes up most of the sermons and focus it leaves single people, single moms, and single mom widows like myself feeling very left out.

Ben was my “hiking” partner in life  and it was devastating  to grieve and to lose him when he died.

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Another dad carrying my son on a group hike

Hike Reflections That Transfer to Life:

  1. The actual hike I recently went on helped me feel less like a single mom but more like mom with a child and a great community of people who were there to lighten my load when I couldn’t hold my son any longer. Losing Ben made me feel overwhelmed and alone but “hiking” life with community helped me see that my family is more than just me and Zeke, it also includes the family of God. Being in community certainly doesn’t ever replace or feel equal to having a husband but it does lighten my load and it does give me encouragement when I am tired and feel like I can’t keep going.
  2. It helped me realize that raising my son will look different from the rest of my friends who have husbands. But my son is well cared for by other dads and other men who love him too. Maybe not the same as Ben, but these men still love him and that is something all kids need and deserve.
  3. We are all on this  life hike together. God did call us to be “fruitful and multiply” but the over arching thing I think God wants for all of us is to be in community with people of all relationship statuses. Being married isn’t the best relationship status we can strive for, it is just ONE relationship status that we can be in. Whatever relationship status we are in, God wants us to love everyone; to seek after His heart; to care for one another.
  4.  We should strive to not only strengthen our marriages but to be aware and be alert on  how to care and to include people of all walks of life and relationship statuses. I am going to keep this in mind if I ever do get married again. If I get married I want to intentional in how to include all kinds of single people: single moms, widows, divorced, people with no family, and so on.  Being intentional means that I will have to think of things and activities that anyone can enjoy no matter what relationship status or walk of life they are in.

A Few Activities Everyone Can Enjoy Together:

  1. Hiking of course!
  2. After church, or just because, pack a lunch and have picnics outside together
  3. Having game nights
  4. Playing sports after church or during the week together
  5. Craft or sewing sessions together
  6. Building projects for families in need
  7. Raise funds for people in the church or a cause and coordinate garage sales together where people can offer things to contribute to the garage sale and ways to help on the day of
  8. Cooking and/or having meals together

Note: Doing activities together must also take into consideration realistic times things  start and end. Single people without kids have the ability to have events that start at 10pm or go on spontaneous trips. Single moms, single widows, and married people can go to these events but most the time it takes planning ahead of time of  who can take care of the kids, if places are kid friendly, and nap/ feeding times.

And people with kids (myself included) when hanging out with people who don’t have kids make sure the majority of the conversations don’t revolve around just topics on kids. We need to make sure we talk about things everyone can contribute and add to.

Some Topics Everyone Can Talk About

  1. Good movies/TV shows and why we like them
  2. Hobbies
  3. Favorite travel places and stories
  4. How work is going
  5. Dream Job/worst job
  6. How to pray for one another
  7. Where do you feel stuck in life and walk with God?

All Relationship Statuses Matter

I felt very validated at my church when one of our pastors actually said that single people are just as complete as married couples and have a lot to offer the church community.

Ultimately we all need each other. We cannot “hike” life alone. For the all the different kinds of single people, may we be people who recognize that we have a lot to offer  our communities beyond babysitting. We have resources, talents, and gifts that bless married and unmarried people. And for people who are married, be people who not only focus on strengthening your marriages but being good friends to others and loving people who are married and unmarried and include them in activities and events.

May we strive to be people who appreciate and affirm people of all relationship statuses no matter what relationship status we are in. And may we all strive to be intentional in how to include one another in each others lives. We exist to carry one another’s loads, to encourage those in marriage and not in marriage, to care for our children, to care for the world around us, and to reflect Christ in how we love and live our everyday lives. When we are in the family of God  together  we all have a lot to offer one another and are ALL COMPLETE relationships in Christ.