Father's Day can be the most difficult time of the year for children who have lost their father - especially when Mom has moved on before the children are ready. Many fans of the SecretRegrets.com project have anonymously confessed their regrets about dealing with the loss of a father. Sandy (not her real name), shares her "Unhappy Father's Day" regret from last Father's Day below, the surprising yet encouraging feedback she received from the SecretRegrets.com community, and an update on how her Father's Day actually went.
SANDY'S SECRET REGRET:
Every time on this weekend, I always become laden with sadness. My Father died of cancer ten years ago and my Mother just got remarried. This will be my first Father's Day officially with my Stepfather. Ten years wasn't enough time for me. I don't know how I'll look him in the face this Father's Day, but I regret knowing I won't. I'll regret crying. I'll regret buying him a card, and gifts that I know my Father would want. I regret wishing she hadn't remarried so I wouldn't be in this pain. But I do not regret her happiness. Sandy/22 (not her real name)
SECRETREGRETS.COM Community Feedback:
>> No one can replace your Father! But you CAN develop a good relationship with your Stepfather. Don't regret him being a part of your life or later you will regret not even trying to let him in. You know he can't replace your Dad and don't worry, he knows too. I'm glad that you are happy that your Mom is happy, however you have a right to be happy too!
>> I'm glad that you are happy for your Mom. Would it help if you just thought of him as your Mother's husband? You are 22 and already an adult. It helps me to think of my Mother's husband that way. It doesn't mean I think less of him, I just don't need him as a Father ... he is better for me in the role of my Mother's husband. Good luck.
>>Try using this day to open up to your Stepfather about your feelings regarding everything you mentioned here. It sounds like your Mom's with a man who wants to make her happy. If he cares for her, I imagine he cares for you. He must wonder how you feel about his relationship with your Mom? If he's a decent guy, he's probably willing to do everything he can to build a loving relationship with the children of his new wife. It also sounds like he might be a good person to help you deal with the loss of your Father ... which you clearly are not ready to let go of, but for the sake of everything sacred in your life, you have to accept his death and move on. I know it's difficult. Trust me. I've been there ... not with my Dad, but with my husband 2 years ago. I still have a hard time letting go of that pain, but I'm making progress by accepting his death. Moving on is something I'm not ready for yet, but I hope that I will be soon. Feeling the emotions that come from losing a loved one are the ones that have made me strong yet vulnerable all at the same time. This pain is not easily put to rest, but I WILL get past it ... and that's the only thing that gives me hope of moving on. I hope you will be able to do the same and eventually enjoy Father's Day with your Stepdad. Letting go of your Dad doesn't mean you have to forget him. Make a tradition for yourself to make a small tribute to your Dad on this day. You have my sympathies. I hope you can heal and find a new experience with days like this in the future. Your Stepdad can't replace your real Dad, but he can make a really good stand-in if you give him a chance.
>> UPDATE FROM SANDY:
Thanks for the comments. It seemed I actually made his day today, and we had a few laughs. I handled it better than I thought, and coming home to see this support from everyone on SecretRegrets.com gave me a smile. Happy Father's Day everyone.
Sandy was dreading her Father's Day experience, and it actually wasn't as bad as she had expected. She found comfort and hope in the comments that were left for her on SecretRegrets.com ... turning her "Unhappy Father's Day" into one that was somewhat happier.
Many regrets like Sandy's -- along with others -- are featured in my bestselling Secret Regrets book series. Dr. Phil even helped one daughter deal with her SecretRegrets.com regret about her Father when he invited her and I the show, dedicating an entire episode to my first Secret Regrets book and project.
So if you have any Father's Day-related regrets, I think we can all learn powerful lesson from Sandy and the SecretRegrets.com community. Acknowledge your regrets, and choose to move forward in the most positive way you can.
That actually sounds like good fatherly advice.
Feel free to post any regrets your dealing with this Father's Day here - or anonymously at SecretRegrets.com.