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Escaping Father's Day

Tomorrow morning my children and I will get in our van and take a little weekend getaway. Malachi and Hannah have been talking about it and counting down the days since I told them about it a few weeks ago. It is no accident that I chose Father's Day weekend to getaway. I will be completely honest, this trip is my way to escape Father's Day. This Sunday social media will be full of pictures of people celebrating their dad. Sunday sermons in many churches will center on the role of fathers. Restaurants will be packed as families go out to eat. And my children don't have a living dad. I am using our getaway as an excuse to escape the day.

My husband was an amazing dad. He would get up with them in the middle of the night when they were babies. He would rock them until they fell asleep for their naps. He would take them to the church lobby or nursery during Sunday's so I could hear the service. He would play on the floor with them building forts, playing with lego's and making the sound of cartoon characters. He would make them late night snacks and let them fall asleep on his arms. He would carry them when they were tired and place them on his shoulders. Even when he was diagnosed with cancer and spent two years in and out of the hospital getting cycle after cycle of chemo he was gave 100% to his children. It didn't matter if he was tired from the chemotherapy they got all of his attention.

And I just don't want to face Father's Day. I wish this weekend was us going away as a family of four. I wish I was the passenger in the car and not the driver. I wish my children had a living father to celebrate Father's Day with.  But they don't. And wishing is not going to change our situation. It is not going to bring their dad back. I will be the first to say I am escaping Father's Day weekend because I don't want to be here where I live for the day. But I am not ignoring the day.  Our trip is a way to honor the amazing father my children had. I could make the choice to stay at home and talk about how sad and depressing the day is but doing that would be so detrimental to my children. My actions during this time of grief will impact my children years from now. How I grieve now is how they will grieve as they get older. And so I have chosen to go away for Father's Day because I think staying home will be too painful but I am also choosing to celebrate the day just as million of others will celebrate it. I don't want my children to hate holidays or special occasions because of what they are missing.

My children have talked about this trip every day since I told them about it. They know we are going away for Father's Day and I told them we are going to do everything their dad loved doing. I am not making Father's Day depressing because my children do not have a father. Rather, I am teaching them that even though their father is not living, we can still celebrate him on Father's Day. I don't want them to think of this day in terms of sadness because of what they are missing. I want them to think of it with joy because of the amazing dad they had.

There are so many hard days in our house. There are a lot of tears months after my husband passed away. His absence is felt in everything. My children miss their dad so much. But in going away on a family vacation with 3, I am teaching my children that one has to live after death. They have been through so much during the last two years with their dad going through cancer treatment, becoming paralyzed as a result of the chemo and then passing away. And if I stopped living because of my husband's death, I would be robbing my children of their childhood. They deserve family vacations. They deserve their childhood to be filled with happy memories. They don't need a mom who fell apart in the face of death.

I have felt the love of God in midst of such intense pain. I have felt His comfort when it seemed as though my world was falling apart. I have felt His peace when things did not make sense. I have felt the strength that only comes from God when my heart was breaking. I have experienced hope restored. I know that while my heart feels broken, He is close to the brokenhearted. I know that God can do good in a very painful season. I know that God can and will renew and restore that which has been lost. And I know that God will never leave me. And I can live as a result of all of that. Yes, Father's Day may be a harder day than others but in celebrating the day I am teaching my children that in the midst of pain, God is still there.


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