when father's day is hard

when father's day is hard

well here we are, our next big weird holiday that is great for all kinds of people and really hard for many others. i think at this point i will have covered all of the holidays except for valentine’s day–christmas, mother’s day, easter (for faith shifters). this year, father’s day snuck up on us and we have been buried with kids and sports and summer and refuge and work, but i didn’t want this day to go by without taking a pause and remembering that it’s not all bbq’s and picnics and happy-go-lucky-celebrations on father’s day for all kinds of different reasons.

if you’ve got a good daddy and can celebrate today, enjoy! it’s a gift.  

but for those of you in a different place, i just wanted to acknowledge the reality of this day.

this father’s day, there are so many out here who…

are grieving the loss of their fathers–it might have been years ago or just recently, but the hole they leave can never be filled.

are grieving the loss of a child–the ache is always there, but its reality magnifies on this day.

have children of all ages who are hurting and struggling and believe if “i had just been a better father back then” things would be better for their kids.

wish they were able to have children but haven’t been able to and are constantly faced with that reality.

long for a dad who is present and available and caring and protecting but received a much different kind.

never knew their father but always wondered what he might have been like and why he didn’t stay.  

dream of a different kind of father for their children.

dream of a different kind of father for themselves.

remain stuck with ex-husbands and ex-wives and partners who fail to take care of their babies properly and make life hard.

or remain connected to ex-husbands and ex-wives and  partners who might be really great, but this holiday is a reminder of the loss of marriages and dreams.

were taught a really damaging theology about God and are unwinding from beliefs that included God the father who was constantly mad, disapproving, and harsh. 

wonder what it would be like to hear the words “well done”, “i’m proud of you”, “i’m with you all the way”, “i believe in you” from their fathers.

believe we’re less-than because other kids and friends have fathers-who-care and we don’t.

ache for a hug, a smile, a laugh, a push on the swing, a kind word, a tender touch from their dads–again, or maybe for the first time.

like some of these other holidays, this day is sometimes a day of grief.

i pray you can let yourself feel what you need to feel.  that you can remember you’re not crazy, and the loss of a father–no matter what that loss looks like–always hurts. 

that you acknowledge God and real-life can get all tangled up and sometimes we need a little help untangling it. 

this father’s day, i am always reminded how daddy love is so important and sometimes so elusive. it’s also why community can be so important;  some of us desperately need safe surrogate fathers & brothers & sons to help heal brokenness in our lives and restore some of what’s been lost along the way.  it can never fully replace what’s been lost, but sometimes it really helps.

may hope and peace seep in today in some small unexpected way.

love from colorado, kathy

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life and online. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

8 Comments

  • Thank you so much for this. “this day is sometimes a day of grief.” Yes, yes, yes. 🙁 The ones I relate to:

    -long for a dad who is present and available and caring and protecting but received a much different kind.

    -dream of a different kind of father for themselves.

    -were taught a really damaging theology about God and are unwinding from beliefs that included God the father who was constantly mad, disapproving, and harsh.

    -wonder what it would be like to hear the words “well done”, “i’m proud of you”, “i’m with you all the way”, “i believe in you” from their fathers.

    -believe we’re less-than because other kids and friends have fathers-who-care and we don’t.

    -ache for a hug, a smile, a laugh, a push on the swing, a kind word, a tender touch from their dads–again, or maybe for the first time.

    If you’ve seen my post on TLS FB you know more of why I relate to these…. Again, thank you, Kathy.

    Reply
  • You forgot those who have never been a father and sometimes long to know what that feels like.

    Reply
    • yes, thank you. it was in my head and never made it to paper, but another friend mentioned it to so i added it. thank you.

      Reply
  • So good. Today I feel an overwhelming sense of not being wanted. I always wondered how different things would have been in my life had my father been in my life. When I found out he died, I cried for what wasn’t. The hole my stepdad left when he checked out of my life after my mom died is deep. Usually it can be easily filled with plenty of things, no problem, but all of those ads everywhere and Facebook pictures, which I am staying off of, unearth a longing that takes my breath away. Grateful to be remembered. 🙂

    Reply
    • thank you for encouraging me to consider this last year….it’s so real and you give language to it in such an important way. your honesty and heart is a gift.

      Reply
  • This is beautifully written. Thank you for acknowledging how many people live with the pain of broken and/or destructive relationships with a father. We hold in tenderness this work of becoming gentle men who can provide support to others and especially children while being peace-makers instead of warriors in the world.

    Reply

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