TIME MAGAZINE: Coping With Grief on Father’s Day

I hate Father’s Day. Not because my father died this year, making it the first without him. It was sudden, but we’d exchanged loving New Year’s greetings 10 days earlier. Despite our political differences, we were on good terms. He had enjoyed every day of his 86 years so much that we teased he inspired the show, Ted Lasso. Of course, I’ll be missing him on Father’s Day, but that’s not what fills me with dread.

I hate Father’s Day because my children’s father died by suicide, and I don’t know how to console them. Or whether it’s my place. I’d been married to their father for 20 years, but we were long divorced and rarely speaking when he ended his pain. It happened several years ago on Christmas Eve, making it impossible to forget that his favorite film was It’s A Wonderful Life. Our oldest daughter suggested that maybe he chose that day to spite us. I wonder if I should disagree, or if it would hurt her more to consider that he may not have been thinking of us at all. That his pain was too overwhelming. That she is fatherless.

I got the phone call after Christmas Eve dinner, celebrating a new home with my new husband. I had decorated extra bedrooms hoping my daughters would both visit. But mourning their father was not what I had I mind. When they arrived two days later, they didn’t need extra rooms. They shared one room, one bed, one parent.

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