The Lost Fathers – spare a thought

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Fathers Day. A moment to reflect on being and having a dad. A complex thing, boiled to a simple notion on a single day. But for all the love and reflection spare a though for the lost fathers, a breed somewhere else from the Facebook posts of admiration of fatherly love.

A father never sets out to get it wrong. On the contrary, they are usually full of optimism and hope, believing that all before them was a temporary thing and that this is their moment to correct, to look forward, to be a better man. My dad was and is a good man and father. I believe I am a good man and father. But for many and those whose expectations were never realised, there is a truth made more real than ever on a day like this, that they didn’t make it. For others looking at the father they knew or know, there is an equal truth that they remain without the beacon they needed or wanted. A lost father and lost children.

Spare a thought for them. The man who started with hope but became overwhelmed by expectation. The man who had no blueprint or map because he too was denied the father for him, the boy. The man who never shared or talked or cried because he couldn’t, without the language to express or the courage to open. The man who focussed on his work at the expense of his family, because it was easier. The man who tried to show his love but failed. The man whose anger was a mystery to him, yet lived with him all the time. The man who chose the wrong turn, who loved the wrong person, who fought the wrong battle, who missed the right thing at every turn. The man who wanted to be better but never was. The man without the father in him who meant he could not be the father in them.

No one sets out like this. Some are damaged. Some are empty. Some are vain. Some are not very bright. Some are just bad. But there is a tribe of lost fathers, some thinking about that today and for some a thought that may never occur to them as they remain in ignorance. For others they will look at their father and wish they had the unconditional, kind, wise, sturdy but open anchor, honest, funny, emotional and guiding light that other have or had. Lost fathers affect us all. So spare a thought today of all days.

2 comments
  1. Howard Lake said:

    Thank you Stephen. Remarkably clear, humane thoughts. You’ve succeeded in making me ponder this on this day.

    Liked by 1 person

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