“There Isn’t Anything Worse” by Kelly Farley

“There Isn’t Anything Worse”

One of my favorite quotes in my book is “there isn’t anything worse than the loss of a child and if there is, I don’t want to know about it.” I remember the moment I heard that statement. It was a beautiful summer day and I was interviewing a fellow grieving dad to include in my book. We were in Marshalltown, IA and sitting on a brick wall looking over the Maquoketa River enjoying a couple of beers after a long day of bike riding. Since we didn’t ride together in the event that day, it was the first time we had met, but like most of the dads I interviewed, there was an instant connection.

There wasn’t much small talk, just two dads sharing their story and experiences. We sat there staring out over the river taking turns sharing snippets of our horrific nightmare. The trauma, details we hadn’t shared with anyone else and both agreeing our lives had forever been changed.

One of the most important things I walked away with that day is the fact that the death of a child is the worst possible thing a human can endure. The aftermath takes you to places one cannot fathom until you have actually been there.

However, I am cautious about challenging my belief that the death of a child is the worst thing. I remember saying to someone after my first loss that “I’ve experienced the worst day of my life, there isn’t anything you can do to me.” Months later my second child died. So I am now careful how I say things. Although I don’t not believe there is anything worse, I am not looking to challenge that belief and like my friend said “I don’t want to know about it.”

What part of my book did you connect with?
Any stories that spoke to you more than others?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“When to Say Goodbye”

This one is a tough one because it hits very close to home for me.  My wife and I also had to say goodbye to both of our children.  There is always the “what if’s” or the questioning that goes into an impossible situation like this.  The following was sent to me by a fellow grieving dad, Brandon Tucky, who was kind enough to share his story so others that have been faced with making a decision like this could realize they are not alone. 

When to Say Goodbye

Two years ago today, my son Abraham was born.   He came out premature by a few weeks.   Although it was a natural birth, it was far too early to be term.   Immediately after birth, he was taken to the NICU unit.   We waited in pure fear for hours until a neonatologist finally came to see us.   The doctor asked me to step outside while my wife rested.   In the hallway, I waited for the worse news in my life, that Abe did not make it.   He was rushed out so fast that I did not even see him breathing.   Thankfully the doctor told me he was stable.   Stable is a word that I was not happy with.   Better than passed away, but still it sent fear throughout my body.   During our hallway meeting, the doctor went over horrible statistics about how it was in the grey area of too early to semi safe and all the medical complications that will come to pass.  It pretty much sounded like they were telling me to say goodbye.  Well, I was not ready to say goodbye and told her to do everything they could for my son.

With my head down low, I went back into the delivery room and told my wife as much as I could stomach to tell her while crying.  I am sure I did nothing but make it worse for her.  We eventually passed out from utter exhaustion and sleep deprivation.  When we woke up, I went straight to the NICU unit.  We were taken back to see Abe on lock down.  There were machines and tubes all over the chamber he was resting in.  It scared me to see so much stuff keeping him going.  A nurse came over and told me that he made it through the night, but it wasn’t without a few hiccups along the way.  I let out a breath of utter calm knowing he was still fighting.  The second shift neonatologist came to meet us and asked us to step into a room.  He reiterated the risk and depressing statistics of our son and most premature babies.  He asked us many questions about how far we were willing to go.  Once again I refused to say goodbye.  We told the doctor to do everything they possibly can for our son.

That day we got a hotel near the hospital and hunkered down for a long day.  I kept in constant contact with the nurses and checked on him personally several times a day.  My arms began to burse and crack from the number of times I scrubbed in to see my son.  By the end of the second day I began to feel good about Abe’s chances.  On the third day, we came to see Abe resting in the NICU unit, calm as can be.  He was a very good boy for the nurses that night and was about to get testing done to see how he was doing.  We waited for an hour for x-rays and blood work.   When the doctor asked us to come into the loathed meeting room again my feel good vibe went away rather quick.  He told us that his lungs had filled up with blood and they do not know why.  Once again we were asked to make a decision.  I feel so bad about looking at my wife and saying that maybe its time to let go, but she said it is not time to say goodbye.  The doctor, despite how he felt about our decision to keep caring for Abe, went on doing his job taking care of our son.   I felt so bad about, and still feel bad about, even thinking it was time to give up.

Later in the evening we scrubbed in to see how he was doing and the nurses were so happy to have us come over to his bubble.  I noticed right away that it was much quieter.  There weren’t as many machines going as there had been.  The nurse said that the blood cleared up and that he was starting to breathe on his own.  They also turned down some of the meds and let Abe take over for himself for the first time.   Had I said to let him go earlier that day, I would have made the biggest mistake of my life and instantly felt horrible about it.  Seeing him using his little lungs to breathe for himself was one of the most inspiring moments I have ever had.   I still hate myself for almost saying goodbye.  I sometimes think my wife saw me differently from then on.   We left the NICU unit so lifted and happy that we actually enjoyed a day without fear.  Our boy was fighting and we were all going to be home together in time.   We celebrated a good day with dear friends of ours over for dinner and then I slept that night, for the first time in the last few days, with no fear.

Come morning, we once again scrubbed in to see Abe.  The nurses said he had a little trouble during the night but got better and was back to normal by the time we were there to see him.  The nurse let me open one of the little windows so that I could touch my son for the first time.  To my amazement, when I put my goliath finger in the palm of his little hand, he actually grabbed and held onto me.  I finally had my dad moment.  My son held his dads hand.  I could not have been any happier and more proud of my son.  We told the nurses that because he was being such a good boy, that we were checking out of the hotel and going home.  We didn’t live far and honestly, really thought we finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel.   Right after I showered in my own bathroom for the first time in 4 days, I got out to my phone ringing.   The Neonatologist asked us to come back to talk about something, but to not be alarmed and drive safe.  There was no way that I was not going to be alarmed by this, so we rushed back to the hospital as fast as we could.

When we arrived the doctor put us back in the dreaded room where I refused to say goodbye many times before.  This time was going to be different.  We were informed that the blood that had vanished from his lungs was now in his brain.  She said it was a stage 4 bleed and the one procedure that could be done, was risky and severely dangerous.  We were given disclaimers about quality of life and the potential for a son who would never know he was even alive.  The doctor said she would be right back and left for a few minutes.  My wife and I just broke out in tears and a horrible pain in our hearts as we finally came to a decision where we would have to say goodbye.  No one really knows if he was suffering, or if it was only the medicine and machines keeping him alive.  We know for at least one day, Abe was giving the fight or his life to prove he was not giving up as we refused to.  Something just told me to not be selfish and to let God do what he was going to do.  My wife could not say the words to the doctor, so I built the strength to tell them its ok, and to pull the plug.

They brought Abe to us with a drip so that he would not be in pain while he passed away in our arms.  The first time I actually got to hold him in my arms, and the last time.  He gasped for air a few times which was so sad to see.  I almost yelled for the doctor to start hooking him back up to the machines, but knew it was too late for that.  Our son passed away in our arms 3/8/2012.  We had four of the scariest yet happiest days of our lives.  Saying goodbye was the hardest thing I have ever done but knew that we did it for our son.  We overcame our selfishness and thought only of Abraham, and I would live with myself knowing by being selfish and trying to keep him live, was actually making his life worse.  I am by no means telling you to give up or give in immediately, but there is a time when you have to get over yourself and start listening to the doctors, and God about what’s best for your child.   We are both saddened at times but know that he is in heaven and happy, waiting for the day we are with him once more.  In the end, it was not really a goodbye for good, just a goodbye for now.

Brandon T.

Posted in Agonize, Compassion, Courage, Death of a baby, Death of a son, Despair, Devastation, Tough | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

“Dear Colleague”

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This is a big deal.  It is a “Dear Colleague” letter that was sent out this week by Congressman Israel (D-NY) and Congressman Gosar (R-AZ).  What makes this a big deal is the fact its a bi-partisan “ask” of fellow Representatives to support this important legislation.  Seems like common sense to me.  Send this to your rep and ask them to support.  Email it, call their office or repost this on Facebook/Twitter using your Reps. Facebook Page or Twitter name.

I have to say, it’s pretty cool to see my name in this bill.  Now we just need to get it passed for all of the bereaved parents that will follow in our footsteps.

Click the link below to see a readable copy of this letter.

2014.02 Dear Colleague Signed

Posted in Bereaved Parents, Death of a Child, Farley-Kluger, FMLA, HR.515, Parental Bereavement Act of 2013, s.226 | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

“Slump” by Kelly Farley

Slump

Call it winter blues, a sump, depression or whatever else describes feeling like I’ve been feeling.  The last couple of months have been a struggle for me.  I know deep down it is all part of the “new me” that was created as part of losing Katie and Noah, but I still don’t like it.

I am nowhere near as deep in this shit storm as I was for years after their death, but it still impacts how I live my life.  The last six months I’ve been on a rollercoaster ride that consists of the old me highs to the new me lows and can’t seem to find a place in the middle that creates a level of peace.  I feel like I am constantly searching for that one thing that will bring me happiness but I can’t seem to find it and when I do, it doesn’t last.

I have always been an idea guy and get very excited when I come up with ideas that no one else has thought of and turn it into something.  It ranges from inventions, business models or public service initiatives.  I have had a lot of them over the last year but I can’t seem to hold on to any one of them long enough to follow through with it.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to “perform” and lately all I’ve been doing is going to work, coming home and sitting in front of the television or reading a book.  I know its ok to recharge and have some down time, but I can’t seem to allow myself to do it.

There have been a lot of changes in my mental health, personality, view of the world since the loss of Katie and Noah.  Some are good, some not so much.  I would say the two negatives are the emotional roller coaster rides and my inability to focus for long periods of time.  Before their deaths I was always full speed ahead and very focused on whatever it was I was trying to conquer at the time.

I know I’ve accomplished a lot over the last couple of years with publishing my book, this blog and starting the Parental Bereavement Act of 2013.  I did these things to honor Katie and Noah as well as to help others through the aftermath.  I didn’t do them for monetary gain, I had a different motive, to do something that Katie and Noah would have been proud of their dad for doing.

The following is a snippet from the “My Story” section of my blog when I started Grieving Dads back in 2009.  I haven’t felt that way in a while and need to find a way to get back to that mindset:

“I look and feel different now.  The stress of their deaths has sprinkled some gray into my hair and lines on my face.  It has taken a part of me that I know I will never get back.  My definition of success has changed.  I no longer feel like I am rushing around all of the time trying to prove myself to the world.  I am no longer the go-to guy at work.  I do my job, but I don’t do it as if I want to run the company someday.  I could easily be persuaded to run off to a simpler way of life.  I know Katie and Noah would want me to make a positive impact on other’s lives, which this project has allowed me to do.  The idea of helping others helps me.  Material things do not hold much meaning to me anymore.  Spending time with my wife and my dog Buddy is much more satisfying than working long hours to acquire material items that do not provide happiness.  I now know that it’s okay to show emotions and that it’s not a sign of weakness.  I prefer a quiet and peaceful life.  To be quite honest, I am fairly confident that even if I wanted to, I couldn’t maintain the same pace as before the losses, but I now know that’s okay.”

Seems as if I’ve lost the “I now know that’s okay” mindset and I trying to get it back.

How about you?  What kind of struggles have you’ve dealt with since the death of your child?

Posted in Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Death of a daughter, Death of a son, Depression, Emotions, Grief, Grieving Dads, Happiness, Hope, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Son, Men's Grief, Peace, Perspective | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

“Friendships and Forever”

The following piece was sent to me by a fellow grieving dad, Kirk L.  The topic is based on how our friends respond to us after our losses, how our circle of friends change and our new perspective on our own demise.  I have spoken to many grieving parents and almost to a dad, most no longer fear death.  Feel free to weigh in on this topic.

Friendships and Forever

I heard today that a friend of mine’s father in-law passed away and that got me thinking about loss and friendships.  It would seem to me that as grieving parents we have a perspective on loss that thankfully few can comprehend.  When I look back at life before Ash died we were in contact with so many more people than we are now.  I know there have been quite a few articles written about this subject but here is my take on the issue.

The thought of death scares the living daylights out of our (grieving parents) friends.  It’s not the fact that our child has died but rather the fact that they have to face their own mortality or the mortality of one of their loved ones.  Life is as we know it can change in an instant.  We are a reminder to everyone we know that they will in fact die.  I used to think that some of our friends shied away from us since the accident not because they don’t know what to say but rather we are the closest thing to the grim reaper that they have seen.  We are reminders that loss can happen and will happen.

Our friend’s father in-law was 60 years old, 8 years older than myself.  I sent a message to our friend to give our condolences and strangely he replied “I’ve been thinking a lot about you guys”.  I was expecting a “Thank You” or some other cordial response.  But for a moment I felt like he gets it!

We had our circle of friends that had kids Ash’s age, however, few of these people have remained close to us after the loss of Ash.  Some of Ashlyn’s friends and some of our friends that were touched by her are still in our lives.  The circle has changed somewhat now with some of our closest friends being parents of loss.  The bond is undeniable and if you have ever been with some of these people, they are the most caring and understand that you will ever know.  They have a completely different perspective on life.

I bounced my thoughts on this subject off of some of my old co-workers and they seemed terrified that I would think that we remind them of their impending demise, but some agreed.  Perhaps I’m off base thinking this but it’s a thought that I wanted to share.  Who knows maybe further down the grief road my opinion on this subject will change.

We know what is waiting for us, we just don’t know when.  Before Ash died I was almost obsessed with doing everything I could to make sure I would be there for my daughter.  I’ve made peace with the fact that I will not live forever.  My time here is finite and that’s fine with me.  I want to see my daughter again and really don’t care to live to be 90+ years old.

Your thoughts?

Posted in Friends, Grief, Grieving Dads, Grieving Dads Project, Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back, Loss of a Child, Men's Grief | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Permission to Go”

The following was sent to me from a fellow grieving dad, Michael M. and it hits on several points that I connect with.  The biggest one is the difficult discussion/decision of letting your child go.  Many of us have had to make this decision and it causes great emotional impact.  How about you, do you connect with anything in this article?

Permission to Go

Those of us that have been there are the only ones who know the feeling.  People can sympathize with you all that they want, but unless you have actually been there, you have no idea.  You don’t help bring a life into this world with the intention of outliving them.  It is never even a thought in your mind until you are faced with that cold reality.  You are here, and your child is not.  For some of us it was sudden and happened in the blink of an eye, an accident, a tragedy you never saw coming.  For some of us like me, it came through disease, you watched it happen.  Worst of all, you felt helpless as it did happen.

I never expected to hear the word Cancer in regards to my 19 year old son.  I would have put money on the fact that my children would hear that word in regards to me before I would hear it about them.  But that night at the emergency room my world was flipped completely upside down.  I had no idea what to do or what to say, but I had to stay strong for him, right?

I spent the next 10 months of my life at my son’s side.  I often spent some of those days feeling bad about myself and feeling like I was inadequate as a father for not providing for my family.  In retrospect, I wouldn’t change one minute.  I was able to spend the last 10 months of my son’s life with him, almost every waking hour.  I watched him get better, I cheered on every victory no matter how small or big.  But I also watched the cancer come back and break him down in a fraction of the time that it took for him to start building himself back up.

I am a Christian man, but I had to make two very hard decisions that tested me to the core of my beliefs.  The first one was when we found out Justin was terminal, that we knew the end would come but we didn’t know when.  I had to sit down with my wife and we made the conscious decision to not be angry with God for taking him.  It sounds simple but to this day I know people that still struggle with that exact same thing.  They still carry the anger that their child was taken from them and it can be blamed on someone.  Yes Justin was taken from this earth, but I prefer to believe he was chosen to go when he did.  He made the impact he was meant to make, he lit a fire in me to keep his legacy alive through the work I try to do now in saving other parents from the pain.  He was chosen to go before all of us.  He is the lucky one, he isn’t in pain anymore.  We are the ones left here with the pain of him being gone.

The second decision, whether it can be called that or not, was the decision to let him go.  Actually it wasn’t to let him go, it was to give him permission to go.  People that have not been there won’t understand, but it is one of the hardest things I have done, but it also brings a sense of peace.  Justin died at our home, surrounded by family, but he went on his own terms and when he was ready.  What do I mean by ready? I firmly believe that he waited until everyone he wanted to see had been there.  He was far beyond normal communication, he had so much pain medicine in him that he was hardly coherent, but I know he heard every word.  The night before he died all of his siblings came in and told him good night and how much they loved him.  He couldn’t react much, but he heard.  The day he died was the day the one Aunt that hadn’t made it here yet came to see him and spend time at his bedside with his other Aunt.  But once the visits were done, I specifically told him that it was ok.  He didn’t have to be strong for anyone anymore, he could go.  I watched his mom tell him much the same thing and here is how I know he heard.  Either his mom, stepmom, or I were in his room for much of the last 24 hours of his life.  The one moment when neither his mom nor I were there, when my wife (his stepmom) and his Aunt were in the room was when he began to draw his final breath.  Almost as if he waited for that moment for us to be out so he could spare us from seeing him go.  Sure we all made it in for the moment he passed, but I think he heard that it was ok and he left on his own terms.

I will never regret giving him permission to go because I know it gave him peace in hearing that he didn’t have to fight for anyone or anything, he could just go.

Posted in Agonize, Cancer, Death of a Child, Death of a son, Devastation, Faith, Grieving Dads, Loss of a Son | 9 Comments

“Kept it All to Myself”

The following was sent to me by a fellow grieving dad to let me know how he was treated at is place of employment after the death of his children.  I can’t tell you how much this pisses me off and how I would like to have a few moments with these workplace bullies.  This is exactly the reason we need to get the Parental Bereavement Act of 2013 passed in DC.  Bereaved parents need time to catch their breath without the additional stress and fear of losing their job.  Let me know if you want to help us on this initiative. www.FarleyKluger.com

Kept it All to Myself
written by Ken W.

What if your child died, and when you returned to work your employer greeted you with indifference or hostility?

My daughter Cassie died in early 2012, victim of a rare and horrific progressive fatal neurological disorder called Batten Disease. The same disease had killed Cassie’s older sister Lindsay in 2007.  I work in information technology, my profession for nearly 30 years. My employer when Cassie died was an IT service provider that specializes in Cloud based business solutions and subsidiary of a large “Big Box” electronics store chain whose name we all know. My job was to install and support computer systems for our small business customers.

Having exhausted three days’ bereavement pay and then another week of unpaid leave, I returned to work.  Or better put, I returned to work in body.  Everyday work I had handled easily before Cassie died was often beyond me. I couldn’t connect the dots on the simplest of IT tasks. I made mistakes left and right.  I missed meetings when they were right in front of me on my calendar.  I would look at the computer screen and see nothing but odd arrays of meaningless characters and numbers.  Nearly everything I knew about how to do my job was tucked far away, under wraps inside my head, to be extracted only with the force of a crowbar.  This scared me to my core. I knew something was wrong and that it was affecting my ability to work.

I felt I was losing my mind and I kept it all to myself.  I have since asked myself why I didn’t let anybody at work know.  I conclude it was a combination of things.  First, I was scared of the stigma that would attach to me if I announced I was in trouble.  Second, I was in a haze.  I doubt I could have described the problem, and I would not have known who to call on for help. Finally, the atmosphere at my company was indifferent to anything resembling a personal problem.

After Cassie died, I received little acknowledgment of my loss.  It was as if her death were a dark secret. There might have been a card and flowers – I’m not sure.  My boss and two co-workers showed up for Cassie’s memorial service.  A select few people said nice things by way of email and I got a phone call from a highly placed company executive offering condolences.  His call caught me by surprise and it meant a great deal to me.

All in all, though, there was silence.  The message was clear – there’s no place for grief in the workplace and my job was to go on as if nothing had happened.  I renewed my driver’s license a month after Cassie died; I look at my picture and I see the hollow stare of the bereaved.  That was the face I carried on the job when I returned to work. That is the person people saw in the hallways.  They had to have seen I was suffering.  It was unmistakable.

A few weeks after Cassie died my supervisor tapped me on the shoulder and asked that I step into his office.  In a far corner chair was his boss.  Both faces were grim.  He began by telling me I was on the brink of being fired for my recent job performance and that I was going to be placed on something known as a “PIP.” I had to ask what he meant, as I did not know that PIP in human resources parlance is an acronym for “Personnel Improvement Plan.” Throughout my career in information technology I have been a top performer.  The idea of being on some sort of corporate disciplinary status was foreign to me.

Although the meeting lasted about an hour it seemed to go on forever.  In raised voices each boss took turns reciting from a yellow legal pad a long list of recent failings. I could see passers-by peering through the office window, wondering what all the noise was about.  Many of the items the two bosses read off had merit.  In fact, I could have help write their list for them. At the same time, nothing was cause for dismissal.  The truly “fire-able” stuff I had managed to catch and correct before anybody noticed.  Other transgressions seemed to be tossed in for cruel and vindictive good measure.  My immediate boss appeared to be enjoying himself at certain moments as he took full advantage of his vested power.

Neither supervisor, young men in their 30s with children at home, even acknowledged Cassie.  They knew my daughter had just died – one had attended her memorial service, for which I suspect he filled out an expense report. There was an unacknowledged 800-pound gorilla in the room. Phrases such as “horrible disappointment,” “we expect so much more from you” and “this gives me grave doubts about you” rang in my ears. I felt about two inches tall. I had no voice.  I had been torn to the ground.  I left the meeting dazed and about as low as a man can be.

Afterwards I called my wife, Lindsay and Cassie’s stepmom, to tell her what had happened. “My God, your daughter just died!” she exclaimed.  “What the hell do they expect of you?”

For the first time in weeks I had clarity and I felt a great weight lifting from my shoulders. I knew in that moment that I needed time off. I wasn’t ready to be at work.  Not by a long shot.  Two of my children had died. I was exhausted. I was grieving. I had nothing in the tank for work. That day I also decided I would never again set foot in the offices of this company – even if it meant being without work.

Diagnosed by my doctor with acute grief, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I went on a six-month medical leave of absence and sought help from a grief counselor. Counseling has been incredibly helpful – allowing me understand that my recent poor job performance had been the direct result of grief. It was a perfectly human reaction. I had no choice in the matter.

Time has been a healer and I am back at work, having found a new and better job in a different state far away from my Minnesota home. I still suffer at times from brain fog, but nothing like before. In fact, I sense I am better today on the job than before and it has nothing to do with my technical abilities.  Instead, I feel I have grown as a person. I am far less likely to judge.  I take a greater interest in others than before. I feel a calm growing inside me at work, for I understand something about life that not everybody is privileged to know, and I intend to use my experiences for the better.

Most co-workers and supervisors at my current job know that two of my children have died, but nobody knows what happened at my old job. I have kept that to myself until now.

I last spoke with my previous boss on a phone call arranged by human resources a few days after our meeting.  He began by saying he couldn’t ask me why I was going on a leave of absence because human resources said it was against the rules to inquire.  I told him I had been diagnosed with acute grief and PTSD.  “Well, that’s too bad.  But when you come back you’ll still be on a PIP.”

What’s funny is that I never officially resigned my job and I never asserted any Family Medical Leave Act rights.  There was no exit interview, no opportunity for me to tell anybody within the company my side of the story. My last contact with my former employer was fitting and ironic.  About a year ago I received an official-looking envelope in the mail.  Inside was a letter on corporate letterhead reminding me I had signed a non-compete clause when I was hired and that there would be severe repercussions should I take a job with a competitor and share my former employer’s corporate trade secrets.

I would hope the managers in most companies have greater compassion skills than my managers did.  I have wondered if they ever took stock of the great harm they inflicted on me that fateful day.  I conclude they probably did not, since they live in an echo chamber of like-minded horrible management.  To be clear, I believe any company has the right to expect good job performance from its employees, and my performance had suffered.  Still, there was no excuse for management to have regarded this as a personnel performance issue.  To this day, I cannot understand their actions or motives.  They could not have done worse had they tried.

My experience is one that could be shared by anybody – even my former bosses.  Grief is no respecter of individuals. Rest assured it will knock on the doors of each our homes in time.  Sadly, federal and most state laws do not regulate bereavement time.  In lieu of a collective bargaining agreement, it is up to the employer to determine how long an employee should be away from the job when their child dies.

This needs to change.  Updates to the Family Medical Leave Act now before Congress would recognize the loss of a child as a qualifying event.  I am in favor of these changes.  I also wish there were no need for such legislation, because what I truly wish is that employers would have mechanisms to support and protect their valued employees built right into their HR programs.

In a larger sense, I fear most of us travel to work each day to places devoid of a compassionate moral compass.  Nonetheless, I believe in the collective good will of well-intentioned people, because a parent who loses a child is in the worst place imaginable.  I would welcome education within corporate America to make sure that management is trained to know what to do when a grieving parent returns to work and his or her job suffers.  It should not be up to the whim of a clueless manager to further devastate an employee already in the midst of the worst days of their life.

Lindsay and Cassie were beautiful children with hearts warm as the sun and wide as the oceans.  The world was a better place because of them.  There must be a way to honor their goodness, perhaps by letting some of that beauty inside the walls of corporate America.

Posted in Anti-Bullying, Bereaved Parents, Death of a Child, Death of a daughter, Death of a son, Debilitating, Despair, Devastation, Farley-Kluger, FMLA, Grief, Grieving Dads, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Loss of a Son, Men's Grief, Parental Bereavement Act of 2013, s.226 | 7 Comments

“Interview with Senator Inhofe”

The following is a recent interview with Senator Inhofe (R-OK) speaking about his son that was killed in a plane crash this past November.  The one thing that stood out to me is his comment about “I will see him again”.  I too believe I will see both of my children again and I too look forward to that day.

Click here to watch the interview.

I reached out to his office today and asked him to co-sponsor Parental Bereavement Act of 2013 (S.226) that is currently in the Senate with no Republican support.  His support would be greatly appreciated and would help with making this a bi-partisan bill.  We all know that the death of a child and the aftermath that follows doesn’t care what your back ground or walk of life is, it can happen to anyone at anytime.

Posted in Bereaved, Bereaved Parents, Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Death of a son, Grief, Grieving Dads, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Loss of a Son, Parental Bereavement Act of 2013, s.226, Senator Inhofe | 1 Comment

“Blind Sided”

Blind Sided

I had a very strange and familiar thing happen to me today at work.  I was in my office discussing work stuff with a co-worker/friend when I mentioned that I was going to be working from home in the afternoon because my dog Buddy wasn’t doing so well.  He had hurt his back about a month ago and had gradually gotten better and had become playful again.  Unfortunately, he had reinjured it again yesterday and was unable to move very well.  I continued on talking about how hard it is to see him like this and how I was concerned about him.  I then said “I have already had to say good-bye to two children; I don’t want have to say goodbye to my friend Buddy as well.”  As soon as those words left my mouth, I started to weep.

The words of “saying goodbye to two children” and the thought of saying goodbye to another family member I love hit me really hard.  It was strange because I haven’t had emotions triggered like that for a while, familiar because there was a time just saying their name or thinking about them triggered this kind of response.  Although healing has taken place over the years, it goes to show you are never 100% healed emotionally or physically after losing a child.  The pain sits just below the surface just waiting to be triggered.

Have you had a similar situation?

Posted in Death of a Child, Emotions, Grief, Pain, Triggers, weeping | 2 Comments

GRIEVING DADS: To the Brink and Back

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My book Grieving Dads:  To the Brink and Back is available on Amazon for $19.95. You can order a copy of this book today by clicking on the “Buy Now” button below or click here to purchase through Amazon.  Please see reviews by fellow grieving parents and grief professionals below.

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