The Invisible Man
It didn’t take long to realize that grief for the father of a child was going to be different. When the first people started coming to the house after the death of our baby, the question seemed to ring, 'Where is your wife'? 'How is she doing?'
In their minds they realized she had lost a child. She would be grieving the loss. She would be having a hard time, but as for me, the father, they seemed to think I wouldn’t miss
him/her at all. There seemed to be a consensus that the mother suffers the loss but the
father doesn’t. Neighbours would walk by me on their way to see my wife. They would
comfort her. “We are so sorry,” they would say. “Is there anything we can do? How hard this
must be for you.” All this time I stood there too. Standing there as if I was invisible. Yes, right from the start it was obvious grief for the father was going to be different. The death had
been sudden. It was unexpected. No warning, no way for us to know our son was going
to bed that night so happy and full of life not to wake up in the morning. It hit hard. Added to
the overwhelming feeling of loss was the weight of guilt I carried. Unceasing guilt that
plagued the mind. It has many names but for most it is called the “if only.” “If only” I would have, “if only” I would have seen, “if only, if only, if only....”
The father is the protector of the family. As protector of the family I should have been able to
prevent the death. It was my responsibility to see the subtle changes. I really knew these
statements weren’t true but so many questions filled my mind. Questions that have no
answers but questions that are so hard to say the least. Most don’t want to hear the father
ask these questions so he has to carry them all by himself. “If only ” are a terrible disease.
They result in an added burden to those who let them run their course. They run to wrong
conclusions, an unneeded addition to the feelings of guilt. There I stood, the Invisible Man. I hurt, hurt so very deep but it was soon obvious I would be unnoticed. Unnoticed with a
barrage of questions to fill my mind.
The father who wrote this is unknown