My heart goes out to the good fathers who do not hear the tributes.
Here are some words we are unlikely to see on social media:
"Thank you Dad, for putting me in a therapeutic hold when I raged, so that no one would get hurt."
"Thank you Dad, for the extra job you took to pay for the psychiatrist, medicines and hospitalizations."
"Thank you, Dad, for putting a lock on my sister's door so I couldn't hurt her."
"Thank you, Dad, for waiting up night after night, wondering where I went, or with whom, to do what."
"Thank you Dad, for picking me up at the county jail, where anger, hurt and relief were twisted together on your face."
"Thank you Dad, for paying for rehab, twice."
"Thank you Dad, for having me arrested when I stole from you to buy drugs."
"Thank you Dad, for providing for me and loving me and doing your best to teach and protect me, even though I am either not willing or not capable of having any sort of reciprocal relationship."
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) "Four million children and adolescents in this country suffer from a serious mental disorder that causes significant functional impairments at home, at school and with peers. Of children ages 9 to 17, 21 percent have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder that causes at least minimal impairment." *
So, I thought it was important to say "Thank you" to the good fathers that keep the faith, do the hard work, and pay the price for what has been a broken dream and a hard circumstance; those who have spent more time visiting prison or group homes or other institutions than they have going to their children's sporting events, recitals, graduations or birthday parties.
Your child's illness isn't your fault. It is your burden, but don't try to carry it alone. Ask for help. Keep hoping and praying and seeking solutions that might result in better days for your children. Take care of yourself and your spouse. Celebrate small successes.
Know that today, Father's Day, someone has thought about you and admires your courage, your perseverance and the loving support you provide.
*U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, 1999.