Fathers of Loss Support Story: Craig Christie’s story
Father of Loss Support Series:
Meet Craig, adoring father of four children, his youngest, Sarah was born still at 24 weeks.
Craig is also a keen cyclist who participates in Sydney2CAMberra, providing funding for these videos. In this year’s special virtual ride, he will be donning the yellow jacket as last year’s highest fundraiser.
At 24 weeks pregnant with our fourth child, we went for a check-up. They couldn’t find the heartbeat with the Doppler. We were told to go to the hospital. But we already knew.
I felt pain right in the core of my being. I felt deep sadness for what could have been.
It’s five years on, and it still creates sadness in me. The pain does reduce over time but it still hurts.
Sometimes moments come out of the blue. It’ll be the first day of school for the year, and I’ll think that Sarah should be starting too. Those times can be the hardest.
I wish I’d know that grief is different for people. That there is no wrong way to grieve. I wish I could have stayed in the experience of grieving, but having to organise the funeral made it hard.
I wish I had more downtime and less organising time after Sarah died.
My family being there and being supportive helped a lot. The fact that friends and family just reached out to me, not knowing what to say, but just reaching out to me was valuable.
If you are helping a family in the same situation, allow them to speak their truth. Let them find a safe space to share with you.
We made sure not to spend time with people who we thought would say things insensitive things. Our time was spent with those who we knew would be supportive.
At one stage, I thought I might cry all the pain away if I cried enough, but it didn’t work like that. But being able to express myself did help.
One thing I did realise was that it seemed to hit my wife first emotionally. Then after I’d had the time of supporting my family and organising everything, I let myself sink into the grief a bit more. Things happened a bit slower for me than they did for her.
I want other fathers who are going through this to know that you don’t need to be a big strong, stoic man. These days being strong is allowing ourselves to feel our emotions and feelings. I made a real point not to hide my tears in front of my other children. Particularly my sons, I wanted to cry in front of them to be a good role model showing that men can cry too.
To friends and family supporting people, make sure you make allowances to be outside your comfort zone. Just get past that. Talk to them. Make some assumptions. Offer specific help. Even if it’s mowing the lawn, but ask first. Create space where conversations can flow. Even just sit next to them.
Sometimes no words are powerful as well.
Our children all know about their little sister and we always celebrate Sarah’s birthday. She’s still part of our life. She’s still our fourth child.
Red Nose 24/7 Bereavement Support Line 1300 308 307.
Last reviewed: 1/12/21