Sunday, June 19, 2005

Father's day has often been very hard for me. I felt such a sense of personal failure at the deaths of each of the three daughters we buried. I would ask myself the question: "What good am I if I failed to keep my children safe and well" and asked it every Father's day. I had made my children the function to measure myself against, and with their deaths the value of my life seemed voided.

As time passes, I take so much joy in the children Win and I have in our home now that I am regaining hope in life. This June 19th it was good to wake up and see my daughters and to be not a survivor of tragedy living with loss, but to be happy at being a father and their dad. Time returns me to the basics of being in love with my wife and loving my children.

Finding meanings that work is not only the heart of an individual's life, but is the core of a successful communal enterprise. There must always be meanings that matter.

I will return to utopias and life and hopes of Zion, but for now I am glad that my life has returned to meaning.

Some links:

Nate Oman's latest on Utopia

Sojourner's Net

Ozarque on the meaning of words


Lisa M. said...

Though we all have experienced different things, and no one can truly identify with anothers pain, I believe that I have a sense of what you mean when you say... "I felt such a sense of personal failure at the deaths of each of the three daughters we buried."

I have had two different still born babies (Abby and Adam) Born years apart, and terrifying me. I was told that I couldn't have anymore children. I felt, like a failure. Completely.

Then after Ethan was born (13 years later, and a COMPLETE surprise) and we had soo many problems at birth. Through the horrible days of ECMO and the NICU... I sat there wondering..the typical questions.. why? what have I done? ect... (I sense you might know the drill) Even through the most sacred spiritual experience that lifes experiences bring, I have felt ... well.. guilty. For lack of a better word, even though I couldn't define why.

And now, as the days march by, and I still have Ethan with me. They are sometimes hard days, filled with therapists and doctors and a lifetime of developemental issues and problems, I get so frustrated at times.. and again I have felt guilt. Guilt at, "Why isn't letting him live, good enough?" Why do I always want more? When am I going to be satisfied with my miracle?

Then at times I just stare at him, and think, what ever we have is good enough.

Being a parent is a sacred duty, and today (much like you have expressed) is a good day, and I, with a gladened heart can hold my baby close to me and smile. Smile for Ethan who is here, and smile for the two that arn't.

Time is an incredible tool, and for those of us, who find our "meaning" and given time, can cultivate it, why that is certainly our miracle, isn't it?

Thanks for the post. And for the ones before it.

Anonymous said...

Your posting reiterates to me the importance of time in the healing process. After my son died, people wanted me to be *over it* after the burial. I was lucky to be home Teacher to a widow of several years who told me that it took her seven years to feel normal after her husband’s passing. Now after five years, I finally am beginning to feel like myself again. I now feel some joy in life again. But my healing will only be complete when I can hold my son in my arms again.

annegb said...

Stephen, I was thinking of you the other day and our situations. My husband and son died 32 years ago, and I still cry.

My younger son died 14 years ago, and it's like yesterday.

But what I was thinking about is how culpable I am in the deaths of my children. They were not ill, their deaths came as a direct result of my actions.

I have to tell you, it's really, really hard to hang on in the face of that. It's not a masochistic thing, I can't lie about it to myself or anybody. That would be worse. But if I make it through, it'll be a miracle. Very painful.

And Floyd, I'm with you. I don't think I will ever be whole in this life. Do you ever envy people who say their deceased children come back to talk to them? It makes me mad that God won't do that for me.

annegb said...

what's that little garbage can thing at the bottom for?

Stephen said...

When you are logged in, blogger lets you delete comments you make. The little trashcan is the icon for that.

annegb, I'm so sorry you are weighed down by those feelings, but I'm glad to you continue to hang on.


Anonymous said...

I remember when Stephen told me about losing three children; the look on my face must have been a compilation of horror, puzzlement, and admiration. I finally got up the courage to ask him, "how do you get through that?" I know many people use the phrase, "I have my faith." I agree entirely. But at this point, were I in Stephen's place, I would be having more than just a few arguments with God (not that I would win them, of course, just as an imperfect mortal asking why bad things happen to good people, to children). I remember Stephen saying his church/Ward, close friends and family reminded him and his wife that they had one daughter left, and they must go forward for her. Seriously thinking on it, to the small extent I can ever begin to understand, for me I think it would take a close spouse and a child to keep me in this world. Sometimes I am weaker than I should ever let myself become, which means I must be weaker in my faith. The loss of human life is so . . . devastating and alternately thought provoking on many serious and difficult levels (I am just trying to get these words out; I am not Ghandi, and probably do not have what was his faith. I have a long way to go).

Very seriously: I have had a chihuaha since the day I was brought home from the hospital as a baby. They usually lived from 11-13 years. Losing each of them has devastated my life in such a way that the last time I sent an email to my family because I could not say the words.

This is not a child. Certainly not three children!

I suppose I have just been thinking through this. I admire Steve aqnd Win for having two, wonderful daughters, both bright and beautiful, and for putting them first. Perhaps you have done so for so long, it is second nature for you. For the rest of us looking in, it is a miracle.

A real miracle.