It's no secret that, between Shane and I, I am the one that is more active on social media. Shane has never loved the internet. It wasn't until we got iPhones a year ago that he finally got his own email address.
He has never minded me using social media, or my blog, he just prefers not to use them himself.
Since he doesn't use social media, he doesn't have the contacts that I do. He's not as verbal (both written and spoken) about his life and his struggle with losing Joshua. I always have been.
It seems that every anniversary and birthday that comes, our friends have been very good about telling ME that they remember Joshua. They do a good job of passing on their sentiments and love, and for that I am grateful.
However, Shane is often times left in the dark.
I think that is probably true of most fathers who have lost a child. The daddies don't show as much emotion or aren't as verbal, and when they struggle, they struggle internally or to a few trusted friends. They don't blog about it (typically) or post on Facebook that they are feeling sad. They just don't.
But, they grieve. Oh, how those daddies grieve.
I have seen it for myself. In very quiet and personal moments, I've seen Shane wipe away a tear. I have witnessed him looking at the picture of him holding Joshua that hangs on our fridge, his eyes lingering a little longer than normal, often accompanied by a big sigh. Or, sometimes he gives one of our living children a hug that lasts just a little longer than usual, simply because he needs an outlet for his loss. Sometimes, out of the blue, he sits down next to me on the couch and puts his head on my lap and lets out a deep sigh. It's a sigh that, I have come to learn, is a sigh expressing his loss and his grief.
As each year comes and goes, my grief is usually more "public." People know when I am having a hard time and, graciously, those closest to me usually offer support, prayers, and encouragement. What they don't realize is that Shane is, often times, feeling the same and even though he doesn't express it, he needs the emotional support as well.
As we come closer to Joshua's birthday, or if you know a daddy that has lost a precious child, please don't forget them. Tell these men that you remember their child. Tell them that you are praying for them. Offer encouragement and support or just simply a listening ear.
These daddies struggle just as much as the mamas do. They just do it differently.