Dad or Mom, have you heard these statements from one of your children?
“I hate you! You never let me do anything.”
“You don’t understand me!”
“I can’t wait until I turn eighteen so I can get out of here. You have too many rules.”
“Why won’t you help me (by giving money, etc)? Don’t you care what happens to me?”
“What do you mean you won’t _________? I thought you loved me?”
Have you thought any of the following about your child?
I never dreamed my child would grow up to ____________________________________.
On my worst day I couldn’t have imagined my child would _____________________. I haven’t seen them in a long time. It pains me just to think about it.
How can this child I love so deeply hurt me so badly after all I’ve done for them?
Dads were their son’s first hero, “My daddy’s stronger than yours!” and their daughter’s first love, “Daddy, will you marry me?” Moms were adored and clung to. They quit jobs, stayed home, and focused on their child’s welfare.
No one warned us that being a parent could one day bring us this much pain.
Father’s Day is today. Are you a dad with a broken heart? Is it weighed down with pain, worry, fear, and rejection? If so, Father’s Day can be hard. Positive memories from when your son or daughter was young and innocent flood your mind. Negative memories and their associated emotions overwhelm you.
Men tend to hide their emotions, but this is different. Tears are close to the surface 24/7. Oh God, please don’t let anyone ask me about ________, or how I’m doing.
There’s a lump in your throat—but you hold back those salty rivers. You can’t let anyone see you cry. You’re a macho man, right? Besides, if you let them come, you might not be able to stop those salty rivers.
Can’t I get a free pass for Father’s Day? you wonder. Most of your friends have plans with their families. How you envy them. Their children enjoy being with them: cookouts, camping and fishing trips, beach or boat outings, theme parks, gifts, dinners . . . except for you. Perhaps you have other children who will be thoughtful, but not them—the one you ache over and can’t stop thinking about.
How can you stay emotionally healthy when your child is troubled? My daughter was losing her battle with addiction, mental illness and self-injury. She was an adult. I had done everything we knew to do to try and save her, but we had no control anymore. However, I wasn’t completely powerless. I found six things that helped—not her, but me.
1) Be honest with yourself.
2) Find a trusted friend who will listen without judging.
Suicide. It impacts millions of families worldwide annually. Each year, 34,598 people die by suicide.
photo cred. Franscesco Gallarotti
An average of 94 completed suicides every day. More people die by suicide than by homicide (18,361) in the United States. Suicide is the eleventh-leading cause of death across all ages.*
My aunt died by suicide in her late 20’s. Dear friends lost their daughter, a college sophomore. The list goes on and on.
The following letter was written by a young man to his friend who died by suicide. The I Am Second website posted it. They typically share life-changing videos of celebrities, but this was different – special. I believe his letter contains important messages parents need to share with their children who struggle.
Each one could be spoken by a worried parent to a beloved son or daughter. We think they already know these things, but they need to be reminded. They need to hear it from your lips, because when the heavy cloud of depression and despair settles down on the heart and mind you develop amnesia. You forget.
These simple phrases could be life-saving.
I was the last person you ever called and I missed it. I’m still not sure how it happened. But you took your life before I could call you back.