As a Mother and a Widow | I Have Yet to Fully Come to Terms With Celebrating Father’s Day Without My Husband!

My little girl came to me and asked, “Mommy, are you going to get me a new daddy?”

It was like a swift kick to the stomach.

Mark, my wonderful, loving husband, died suddenly the day after Thanksgiving 2019. To celebrate my fortieth birthday, my wife and I had just returned from a whirlwind romantic trip to Bordeaux, France, where we had left our two young children in the care of family. How did the best week of our lives turn into the worst in the span of a single week?

I’m still getting used to being a single parent, but I have a wonderful network of friends who have helped me tremendously.

The Juju Cult of No Bad Feelings group text chain keeps me grounded and supported in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced on the days it doesn’t. It’s the safest place for the kinds of candid, honest, and occasionally awkward conversations that most people would rather avoid.

Father's Day

Guffaw With a Side of Relief

People came together in support of us after Mark’s death. However, as time passed and holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions came and went, people began to avoid the subject altogether out of fear of offending me.

Because I was in pain and didn’t know how to ask for help, and because other people were afraid to make a move for fear of upsetting me, I felt very alone. When I needed to support the most, I was unwittingly left alone. In these situations, the chain of texts has been invaluable.

A school where my children attend was considering eliminating Mother’s Day celebrations in favor of a “special-adult craft” last month. The vast majority of my pals praised this for being welcoming, and I agree.

In the interest of “no hard feelings,” I told the Juju Cultures that I wouldn’t be expecting anything special for Mother’s Day and that the day would be treated like any other Sunday if my children didn’t make me something at school.

For single mothers without a partner to help them celebrate Mother’s Day, the day can pass unnoticed and serve as a painful reminder of what they are missing out on.

My friend took a pickaxe to the iceberg in the room and asked me this in a text message: “Regarding Father’s Day, how would you like me to approach it? How would you like us to help you?”

Even years after our tragic loss, having this conversation established and accepted among my loved ones was crucial. For some reason, your question prompted me to reconsider my previous assumptions.

Father's Day

Building Up Our Traditions

This is a question that can only be answered on an individual basis for each family in a similar situation. Don’t assume anything about a family’s desires before you directly ask them.

Here at the office, Mark is a frequent topic of conversation. We celebrate his birthday with a cake and a discussion of how Daddy likes to spend time each night on the moon while the kids and I blow him kisses goodnight.

Family and friends can show their support by sharing memories of Mark with the kids while partaking in some of his favorite pastimes. For some families, this might be too much; in those cases, it may be helpful to distract everyone from their troubles by engaging in a fun activity.

Father's Day

Both requests, as well as any variation in between, are acceptable. Being curious and asking questions are essential.

We’re still figuring out what works best for our family, and I’m sure that as the kids get older, these practices will change. Nonetheless, I know that my children will always have a group of people who are eager to honor their father.

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