Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief

Father’s Day and Such


On Saturday, I had a book signing in Amherst. Someone came in and commented on the photo we display on the table. It’s the family photo that is on the back cover of the book. I said “Oh yea, that was taken on our last Father’s Day together. Oh my, I didn’t put that together. Tomorrow is Father’s Day.” That might not even struck you as odd, but it hit me for some reason and gave me goosebumps and wet eyes all at the same time. This woman went on to say it was her dad’s birthday but he has passed away. I told her she took the prize for tough weekends. Birthday AND Father’s Day. We hugged.

On Sunday, we went to my Dad’s house for a cookout. It was a relatively quiet day, but I found myself being pensive and angry. I had a conflict with a friend in the morning which didn’t help to start the day well. There were a few guys (family) at Dad’s, and none of them would toss a football or baseball around with Frankie. Frankie was disappointed, but didn’t make a big deal about it. In my mind though, I was very hurt. Doesn’t anyone remember that it’s Father’s Day and this ten-year-old doesn’t even have one? I know everyone was tired and full, but it would have meant a lot if they had spent a few minutes being that male person for Frankie.

On the way home, I started that bad record in my mind about how things aren’t fair. All of my nieces and nephew had both their grandparents til they were adults. They all still have both their parents. My son lost his Grandma at age four, and now doesn’t even have a father. It’s not right. But I learned a long time that life isn’t always fair. So why does it get to me on some days and not others? A wise friend reminded me that selling the camper last week probably opened a can of grief worms for me. (Summer is so smart.)

Then it’s Monday. Moving up day at Frankie’s school. I hate when I screw things up and I really did a good job with this one. I started out the day remembering that Frankie had to wear his yellow shirt, which was covered in mud and not washed. So that started a frenzy of activity to try and get it ready and a whole lot of self-blame for being a single mom for two and a half years now and I still drop the ball. The problem was, that Frankie was selected by his peers to read a speech on behalf of his class so he was going to be up front.

I rushed and got to the school. It is hitting me now that my son is going through a milestone marker. He is going into Middle School. Holy cow. That is a big deal. And I’m going by myself. If I had thought about it, I would have asked someone from my family to come with me. But I didn’t. He’s growing up. And then the fear starts. Only a few years left now for Social Security. Am I going to be able to keep the house when that money is gone?

By the time I walked into the building I knew I was in trouble. But true to the Bitter and Sweet mantra, I just prayed that Frankie’s second grade teacher was in the building. She was his teacher when Tim died and she has become a dear friend. Not only was she in her room, she was alone without any students. I walked in and collapsed in her arms. The sobs just came. I haven’t had days like this in a long time, but when it hits, it still hits like it was just yesterday.

I gathered myself and made it to the assembly on time. I videotaped it. When Frankie got up, everyone cheered for him. They didn’t cheer for the other two speakers. He did a smash-up job and I was so proud of him. He really is growing up. And he’s outgoing and a ham. Life IS still sweet. Just have to shed some bitter tears once in a while.

Author: Help for Healing

My name is Darcy Thiel. What people say they appreciate most about me is my genuine nature. I utilize my professional and personal experiences to increase my understanding and compassion to help others. My career has many faces, so let me tell you about a few. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in NY State and am a couple and family therapist. As an Adult Planning Specialist and End of Life Doula, I take my experiences with my parents’ and husband's illnesses and passing to help others navigate the crazy, complicated medical world we live in. This dovetails with the books I have written. Bitter and Sweet: A Family’s Journey with Cancer, the prequel to Life After Death, on This Side of Heaven is an honest and raw perspective on coping with the diagnosis and subsequent loss of Tim, my spouse. I have done extensive speaking on the above topics through live audiences, radio shows, and an occasional TV spot. For more information, see my websites at,, or Copyright Help for Healing by Darcy Thiel © 2012-2019. All rights reserved.

4 thoughts on “Father’s Day and Such

  1. Love you both, Darcy! And love that you keep it real…always. 🙂

  2. You truly have the gift to write. It sounds like Frankie is loved by many at his school. As hard as your day may get you always seem to find the sweetness in your experience. That is a very unique gift as well. Stay strong!!!

  3. Dearest Darci… Being A single-mom…Is Usually Never a choice. ( Sometimes..We need to do what We feel is “right” for our children and family…and it becomes a forced decision)…and We make decisions in the best interests –of our Children…sometimes Ourselves too…to be safe and healthy… This WAS Not the same situation for You. So…I know there Are similarities…in Parenting Alone—But YOU didn’t choose that..Want That…decide That. It is different for You. You Knew Tim would be there..if He was able @ Frankies Continuation to Middle School. You and “Frankie” Soooo wanted Tim there! Why wouldn’t You!?? I know…it’s probably kinda easy to just “relate” as a single mom…but Darci…even if it’s Your reality…It happened to become that..under different circumstances…than lots of us “single moms” have. Don’t get me wrong…WE grieve..the loss of love We thought We had..the Loss of “family”….but fact of the matter is…those of us who are divorced…Well, we wanted…but never Had That family together! …If We DID…we wouldn’t be apart… YOU…You…YOU HAD that with Your husband and You created and joined your family together. I hope…I am making a little sense…You never choose to be the “Single Mom” ( …some of us got the choice…not that We weren’t disappointed for having to be in the position to make it). YOURS was made For YOU. God . You have a great burden to bare…raising Your 10 yr. old. My advice to You. At events like the “cook out’ ..Just put it Out there…nicely…and say “hey…know what.?…Frankie’s Dad can’t be here…would You mind giving Him a little extra support today..???” Sounds like You have a lot of support around You. It sounds like Everyone You hang out with would always support You Both in the situation…just sometimes…time passes and Your friends/family aren’t AS sensitive…They don’t mean to be insensitive…I am sure. You can choose to be disappointed with Your Families interactions w/ Frankie….But..from what I have read…They Love You BOTH…and They are there for You! Sometimes..their lives go on a little easier…But It sounds like Your family and friends LOVE YOU BOTH..sooo much. Even tho…You don’t think You should have to remind others…sometimes…You do. Promise…everyone will step up for You both!..( well from the things I have read from YOU). Try to focus on the Positives…I KNOW it’s easy for me to say…but sometimes…We all just need to be reminded to do that! I’m sure the father’s sucked…but think..probably anybody would have made it better if they could have. Trust In The Lord God …With ALL Your Heart…Lean Not On Your OWN Understanding… I can’t tell YOU how to feel. I cannot tell You how to grieve either…It’s obvious that You are Still. And That is So O KAY…But…I read your posts and am offering my opinion…even tho You didn’t ask. And I hope and Pray..You will just receive it from a perspective of an old friend…Who still dearly Loves You..and really cannot imagine Your heart ache… YOU…Darci…YOU are an amazing lady!! I understand your need to release in your posts…probably just venting a lot..which is probably healing. I am just Wondering…if it would be an okay time for You to just Explode in writing all the GREAT times…memories that arouse the happiness in Your soul and the laughter of times…and smiles of events, private jokes..etc.. The memories of Tim that reconnect you to him in love…NOT loss…and The great times You all had together. I know…I know You are trying to chronicle His memory. AND I KNOW…There Is NO Way I Can Ever Understand Your Loss…I get it…but I …Well I only see what you write…and I Love You and hope you don’t get “sucked into” … the documentation and logging of all the “LOSS”.. I pray that in No Way this sounds Insensitive…because it is NOT! Personally, when I read your posts.. I LOve to hear about the stories and times together You had with Tim…….I so enjoy the stories of Gain/LOve…(in the midst of Loss..)….Those rock!! I Love YOU!!!!

    Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 18:12:46 +0000 To:

    • Thank you, thank you! When I blog I guess I am always asking for opinions so write away 🙂 I try to balance happy entries too. The blog will also be used in the next book which is about grief and loss so I try to keep that in mind when I write. I believe in all my heart that finding the sweet is part of surviving the bitter so I will mindful of that as well.

      I have a ridiculous amount of support and always have. That’s part of the frustration of having bad days, I felt the same way when Tim was sick. How can it be so hard when you have so much love and support? But it is, nevertheless.

      Love you back sista!

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