“Platitudes Are Bullshit”


Platitudes Are Bullshit

One of the great things about starting Grieving Dads Project is the ability to help others through this nightmare.  I know my blog posts have become less and less over the years, but that’s because I feel like I’ve said almost everything I had to say through this blog and through my book.

I feel like I’ve laid everything out on the table for the world to see as a result of me lowering my guard and allowing others to see the pain that I carried inside.  I was brutally honest and transparent, which helped me get a lot of the bad stuff out of all of the dark corners in my head.

However, that doesn’t mean everything has been swept clean, far from it.  There are still times that something new pops into my head.  A topic that I think others will connect to or find value in.  Today’s post came for a fellow grieving dad who was kind enough to send me an email about an article that he recently read.  The article was written by Tim Lawrence and was posted on his website called “The Adversity Within: Shining Light on Dark Places”.

The article is called “Everything Doesn’t Happen for a Reason”.  I know all of us have heard this statement from others at some point along our grief journey.  Although there was a time I tried to justify why I lost my children, but I couldn’t find a reason.  I blamed it on myself for not being a good person.  Maybe it was payback for something I did in my life.  Maybe I was supposed to learn a lesson.  Maybe it was supposed to happen because I was meant to write my book and help others.  I now know that all of the questioning is bullshit.  I’ve come to the realization that bad stuff just happens, that’s just the way it is.

There are a couple of lines in the article that I can really relate to, one is “Some things in life cannot be fixed.  They can only be carried”  and the other one is “In the nothingness, they did everything.”

Read the article and let me know what you think.

Here is a snippet of the article for you to ponder before you read the article in its entirety, which I encourage you to do.


So if anyone tells you some form of get over it, move on, or rise above, you can let them go.

If anyone avoids you amidst loss, or pretends like it didn’t happen, or disappears from your life, you can let them go.

If anyone tells you that all is not lost, that it happened for a reason, that you’ll become better as a result of your grief, you can let them go.

Let me reiterate: all of those platitudes are bullshit. 

Photo Credit: StarksMedia13 via Compfight cc

Posted in Agonize, Brokenness, Death of a Child, Debilitating, Devastation, Loss of a Child, Men's Grief, Men's Issues, Pain, PTSD, Survival, Trauma, Words of Encouragement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

“Dragonflies – Revisited” by Kelly Farley


I recently received an email from a grieving mom telling me what her husband had been dealing with as a result of losing their infant child in March of this year (2015).  She went on to tell me that “she knows its silly, but she feels her daughter’s spirit when she is around butterflies.”  Of course I told her it wasn’t silly at all and that I too feel a sense of peace when I see a butterfly (Katie) and when I see a dragonfly (Noah) since both of them remind me of Katie and Noah.  Her comment reminded me of an article I wrote back in 2011 before my book was published about this very topic.  It’s been 4 years since I wrote this article, but I still feel that same peace when I come across one of these beautiful creatures.  About a year ago, I was out for a walk with my wife and I saw this small beautiful bright blue dragonfly sitting on a wooden bridge that went over a peaceful stream that we were enjoying.  I held out my hand and the dragonfly moved and landed on the back of my hand and sat there for several minutes.  I choked up but I felt it was Noah just saying hi to his dad.  I hope you enjoy this classic article and please share any of your personal stories.  Peace.


It must have been a couple of weeks after the death of my son Noah when I first noticed the dragonflies.  It was mid-June 2006 and I had already been off work for several weeks.  I had called my office to let them know that I wasn’t going to be in for a while.  At the time I didn’t know what “a while” meant and thankfully they didn’t ask.  I spent most of my days doing small tasks around the house, just to keep my mind occupied.  The rest of the time I hung out with my wife, worked out and made lunch on the grill every day.  I was still trying to process what had happened to us and really hadn’t started to feel the full impact of the depth of my pain from the death of my son and my daughter just 18 months prior.

This particular day I decided I was going to start staining my fence.  I wasn’t in a hurry because I knew I didn’t have anything else that had to be done anytime soon.  So I just took my time and tried to enjoy the beautiful summer day.  This was the first summer I had off from working or college since I was probably 14 years old.  I had forgotten how nice it was to be able to get up when you wanted to and spend the day doing what you wanted to do versus what you had to do.  However, I was still trying to comprehend what had happened to my wife and me.  The loss of two children over 18 months had inflicted major depression and anxiety that wouldn’t allow me to do much of anything other than small tasks.  Even the small tasks were exhausting.

While I was taking a break sitting under the shade on my patio, I noticed two dragonflies hovering around my backyard.  They were not just passing through my yard; they seemed to be hanging out for a while.  I don’t live near water and I had never noticed them before, but I enjoyed watching them that day.

The next day I got up around 9 o’clock, which was typical for that summer.  I was usually up until about midnight and obviously needed the sleep to cope with the pain I was dealing with inside.   When I went outside to start working on my fence, the dragonflies were there to greet me.  The dragonflies and I spent the rest of the summer hanging out in my backyard.

I started to have other experiences with dragonflies during this same time.  I live near a bike path that leads to a local forest preserve and would often ride the 12 mile loop as part of my daily workout.  There were times when I would be riding and thinking about my son when a dragonfly would appear out of nowhere and would fly along with me at the same speed.  He would fly about 3 or 4 feet away from me, but would stay with me for a while.  I would just smile because I thought it was Noah letting me know he was ok.

It’s been just over 5 years since the loss of Noah, but because of these experiences, I think of Noah every time I see a dragonfly and I just smile.  On a recent bike ride on that same trail I came upon a swarm of dragonflies, the big ones with the double wings.  There must have been over a hundred of them in a fifty foot radius anywhere from 4’ to 12’ off the ground.  I stopped my bike and I just stood there in the middle of this swarm.  They were beautiful.

They must of known I was there because they would stop 2-3’ in front of me and look at me.  They would fly slowly by to let me know they were aware of my presence.  This had to be one of my best experiences in a long time.  I must have stood there for about 15-20 minutes watching them.  I even called my wife to tell her about what I was experiencing.  I felt close to Noah when I was standing there with those dragonflies.  I think it was just his way of visiting his daddy and to let me know he was thinking of me.

I have met several grieving dads (and moms) over the last several years that also have similar personal stories when it comes to our children visiting us.  There have been other signs from Noah, but this particular one was spectacular.

Does your child send you signs?  If so, what are they?  If not, do you keep yourself open to seeing signs?

Posted in anxiety, Bereaved, Crying, Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Debilitating, Depression, Despair, Devastation, Dragonflies, Emotions, Exhausting, Grief, Grieving Dads Words, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Loss of a Son, Miscarriage, Pain, Signs from our children, Survival, Time, Words of Encouragement | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

“Full Impact” by Kelly Farley

Full Impact

I was recently at an event for the consulting engineering industry that I work in and ran into a couple of fellow colleagues. During the conversation, I asked one of them how a fellow co-worker and friend of mine, who currently works for his company, was doing. The response was that “he was doing well but still dealing with the after effects of a car accident he had last year.” I had known he and his fiancée was in an accident where the vehicle they were in rolled several times. Fortunately, they both had their seatbelts on and “walked” away from the accidents with bumps and bruises.

One of the “bruises” that our fellow friend had was a severe concussion. The guy I was speaking with mentioned that our friend has had some lingering symptoms from the head/brain injury. Symptoms such as headaches, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

While he was telling me this, I started to think about my own head “trauma” that I experienced after the death of my children. I have and still do experience many of the same symptoms he was mentioning. Although the head/brain trauma (physical) our friend experienced was completely different then the head/brain trauma (emotional) I experienced, the symptoms were very similar.

I decided to do a little research on emotional trauma and the symptoms. As a result, I came across this website that helps explain “emotional and psychological trauma” and the impacts it has on you. I was kind of surprised to see all of the symptoms that I had experienced and a few of them that I still deal with like difficulty focusing at work. I still haven’t figured out if it’s because it’s a symptom or I have learned to not really give a shit about some of the things at work. I think it’s the later most of the time.

This is an important thing to remember when you get frustrated with yourself because you feel like you are not the “old you.” It’s because you are not, you have experienced a full impact injury that is hard to see and comprehend. Call it PTSD or whatever you want to call it, but make no mistake about it, there was damage done to the brain as a result of losing your child.

This following are some of the emotional symptoms of trauma that they have listed on their website:

·       Shock, denial, or disbelief
·       Anger, irritability, mood swings
·       Guilt, shame, self-blame
·       Feeling sad or hopeless
·       Difficulty concentrating
·       Anxiety and fear
·       Withdrawing from others
·       Feeling disconnected or numb

Another symptom that has stayed with me is agitation. There are times when I notice (my wife also notifies me of this) myself becoming more irritable or agitated. I have noticed that the anti-depressant that I take has made a huge difference and has helped me stay calm most of the time.

What symptoms have you dealt with?

Have you sought professional help? If not, why?

Posted in anxiety, Counseling, Crying, Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Death of a daughter, Death of a son, Debilitating, Depression, Despair, Emotions, PTSD, Trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments


The following was sent to me by a fellow grieving dad who thought that sharing his story could help others dealing with the aftermath of losing a child.  It’s been 10 years since his loss and he still struggles with pain that he never dealt with.  He has since taken steps to help himself and others in his life.  I applaud him for taking this step in telling others his heartbreaking story.  It takes courage to sit down and write your story and to share it with the world.

The message of his story is “You can close the door on grief (and PTSD) but it will peek in through the window at some point in time.”  There is a lot of truth in that statement.


My story is an odd one, mostly due to the fact that even though I was married to my son’s mother, I was a lone parent grieving. One who took 10 years to finally seek help and learn how to grieve properly.

December 20, 2004 was supposed to be a normal doctor visit for my now ex -wife. Next thing we knew, she was being admitted for pre-eclampsia aka toxemia. Months before, we had learned that our baby would be born with complications, and being the loving parents we were, decided to continue the pregnancy, not knowing what the next 4 months would hold.

On January 7, 2005 after a blood pressure spike and an emergency caesarean section, we welcomed Kyle into the world, a world that would change my life completely. Born 2 months premature, weighing 3 lbs. 7 oz., but 19 inches long, we found our son had a lot of issues. In the womb, his right leg managed to get tangled around his umbilical cord, resulting in no bone to be formed between the bottom of his knee and the top of his foot. As the leg grew, it pulled on the cord, causing his spine to curve, and resulting in scoliosis so severe that he could lay on his side, arch, and place his good foot on top of his head. Worst of all, the strain on the cord being pulled caused a severe external hernia called a omphalocele that left him with every internal organ except his heart and lungs on the outside of his body. Teams of surgeons were able to repair that as best as possible as time progressed. The first prognosis we were given was Kyle had a 30% mortality rate and they only had 10 days to get his organs back in place before more complications would arise.

Countless nights we, mostly me, watched him lay there, Bed 13, motionless, drugged, like a frog in biology class. Twenty-one days later, we were finally able to hold him and see his eyes open.  But no matter how calm he looked we knew he was in tremendous pain. Over the course of several months, more surgeries would occur. Stents in his kidney being one of them (and I say kidney because he only had one, because both of his developed together like conjoined twins). Finally a tracheostomy was performed to add a stoma that could be attached to his ventilator so he could finally use his mouth to eat some, even if he did have a GI tube in place. During this time I changed my life and made it about my son, my pride and joy, while my ex-wife decided to embrace postpartum depression full force and distance herself. After several attempts and jumping through many hoops, we were able to take our little angel home, after 107 days in a NICU. We had no forewarning that within 3 days’ time we would no longer have him with us on Earth.

I could elaborate more and go on to praise the NICU and much more, but as hard as it is to type the opening, the middle and closing will be much worse.

Home healthcare was set up. We would have nurses there 12 hours a day, from 9 AM to 9 PM, and we would cover the other shift.  After all, we were both medically trained and his mother was a LPN at the time.

This is the part I will probably go off into a tangent, and make statements that will make my current wife have a migraine after she edits this. But this is pure emotion. I was at work and had worked all night. I even stopped and got my little buddy some new toys, and a new outfit (that he ended up being buried in). I had bragged to the cashier in Walmart about how well he was doing, not knowing that 35 miles away, she was snoring.  After waking up and seeing him crying, (seeing, because we NEVER heard him cry) instead of tending to him, she had cranked up his oxygen and went back to sleep. While she slept, Kyle slowly and helplessly drowned, and suffered a major cardiac arrest.

I was within 11 miles when I received the call, her voice frantic, saying he was unresponsive, and that I need to get my “fucking ass” home now. I arrived, very quickly, and rushed in to see him laying on our kitchen table, while she stood there talking to her parents on the phone, calmly saying to them I think Kyle is dead now. I put on the stethoscope and with tears in my eyes listened to his last 2 heartbeats. The ambulance arrived, and I was told by her to go with him because she needed to walk our dogs, get ready, and would meet me at the hospital.

The ride, even going 115 mph took forever, even with us stopping on the highway so a critical care medic could hop out of one ambulance and into ours, even though it didn’t do any  good. And at that moment, I started to emotionally and mentally shut down. The first thing I did at the ER when they pronounced him DOA was call my brother, who was a medic in the town. He actually got up, took a company ambulance and came to the hospital to be with me. Slowly family came in, and cried, gave us condolences and tried their damnedest to relate, saying things like “Oh loss is terrible…” Bullshit, a loss of a child is not a normal loss. No one should ever have to bury their own children…EVER.

When his mother finally decided to show up, she was distraught and told me what happened. Keep in mind at this time I still loved her, and didn’t think saying ‘Hey she basically killed him in his sleep’ would be a good idea.  I didn’t say a thing, and that still haunts me. We were able to waive getting an autopsy, and instead of waiting for the funeral home to come pick him up, my brother took him via ambulance out of their service area to deliver him to the funeral home.

The ride to plan the funeral was quiet, and one that I still cannot remember, due to mental blocking. At the funeral home I sat as quiet as a church mouse while she and her entire family planned the whole ordeal. We went home, she went to the TV, and I went to the bed. While she watched sitcoms and giggled, I wept, I moaned, and I slept for 19 hours. I never got up, no bathroom, no food, no care really. A couple of days later, while at the service and standing in front looking down at my firstborn, who looked like a porcelain doll, I heard her say under her breath, “I should have just had an abortion.” Shocking as it was supposed to be, it flowed off me because I was still numb. At graveside, I played guitar while my sister-in-law sang Will the Circle Be Unbroken. Afterwards, my ex told me in private that I embarrassed her by doing that. Again, it flowed right off, the numbness killed the sting.

Two years….I stayed for two more years. I don’t remember much because I found condolence and comfort in alcohol and recreational drug use, mainly marijuana. Being stoned and drunk helped me tolerate her.  Waiting to go to bed after she woke up was only way I could get my measly 2 hours of sleep. Nightmares? Hell I have had the same damn nightmare for over 10 years now. Nightmares that I probably won’t share here but one day will.

August 2007 I found myself in the hospital, this time I was on deaths door. After I lost my heart, I decided to at least live my dream, and I became a professional wrestler. Days prior, in a freak accident, a very large individual accidentally landed on me hard, and basically caused my gallbladder to explode. So here I was, toxic, sick, and alone and she decided to leave me there because the damn dogs needed fed and she was tired. I vowed then that I would be leave by the end of the year. And I did. I won’t lie, I mainly left after meeting my current wife, hopefully my last wife and my soulmate. And I was happy, not completely repaired, but somewhat. Within a few months, we learned that she was pregnant and I would soon be the proud daddy of a little girl. Yeah proud… And scared shitless. Scared to the point that one time during her pregnancy, I was constantly on her ass not letting her do anything out of fear of having to relive my past hell.

March 29, 2009 we welcomed our daughter into the world, and she was big, and healthy. But again complications caused an infection and our child, my 2nd and her 1st was hospitalized, as what was considered to be a boarder baby. That lasted close to a week and then we were able to finally take her home.

Fast-forward over the course of the past 6 years, a lot has happened.  I have seen a little girl grow up, suffer some serious illnesses and always persevere, but I feel I have shunned her until recently. I mean I have always loved her, but I was always afraid to get too close out of fear of losing her like I lost Kyle.

The beginning of this year, 2015, marked 10 years since my son was brought into the world, and taken out in an instant and my subsequent plunge to rock bottom. Plummeting to the point that I felt like the only solution for me was indeed suicide. One night on my old job as a transport driver, I devised a plan, and that was to say fuck my work plan, I was going to detour. I planned to go to my son’s grave (which we will get to in the close) and take whatever medicine I had in my bag and take an eternal nap. I felt like a worthless husband, horrible person and a failure as a father. While these thoughts ran through my head I passed the exit. Oh well, I thought.  I had to pass it on my way back, and I needed a drink, I can’t swallow pills without one. Unbeknownst to me, the cashier selling me the drink was a parent who had also suffered a loss like mine. She has since become someone who I have a bond with. I got to the counter and as I was paying, she noticed my tattoo on my wrist that had the date of birth and date of death and I explained it was for my son. We started talking, and she told me about her loss. We both talked about our second child, both girls, and I told her about how I have taught my girl all about her big brother. She asked how I did it, in which I explained that we never hid it from her. After around 90 minutes of conversation, we hugged and I went my separate way. Again on the way back I missed the exit, but this time on purpose, because I knew then that I wanted to live and seek help.

In the past few months I’ve gotten help, met many wonderful helpful people (you all know who you are, especially if I shared this with you) and am currently in a good place. I do have my good days, and I have my bad days. I still make time to go at least once a month to decorate his headstone and see him. Mostly my wife does the decorating, as she has claimed him as hers and she is constantly making his site look beautiful. She is my rock and my closest confidant.  It is pathetic that we live almost 100 miles away and go once or twice a month, while his birth mother lives 3/4 of a mile away and hasn’t been there in 8 years. But enough bitterness, she will answer for her actions one day. I can’t forget her but I can forgive her, even if I have to do it every day.

In the past I blamed the doctors, the experts, and even God. Now I just blame myself for letting it go this long. If not for my encounters with my new friends, and my wife taking me to task to finally get pictures printed off, obtain his birth and death certificates and face all my fears, and anxiety, I wouldn’t be typing this. I also must acknowledge if not for the group therapy, my counselor, and being suggested to not only read Kelly’s book, “Grieving Dads: to brink and back” but also Paul Young’s “The Shack”, I wouldn’t be typing this. But most importantly, if not for the growing bond between my daughter and me, things would not be as they are now.  I will never stop grieving, and may never fully accept it all, but I’m trying, and that should count for something. Maybe one day.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

“5-Year Plan”

5-Year Plan

I am one who is always looking forward to the excitement of what’s next, instead of enjoying the moment.  Enjoying the moment is a hard thing for me to do.  It takes practice and intentional behavior.

Because of this, I am always thinking ahead and trying navigate and guide the future.  I should know better, as a grieving dad, I know all to well that I cannot predict the future.  But I at least try.  I do this by setting goals and creating “To Do” Lists.  I was having breakfast with a good friend of mine recently and I asked him the question, “do you have a 5-year plan?”  His response was “no, I really haven’t had one for a long time.”

I agreed with him, I haven’t had a 5-year plan since my twenties.  It kind of turned into, go to work, save your money and retire.  Not much fun in that plan.  Actually, it kind of sucks the life out of you and drains the fun out of your life.  I then asked him the question, “why did we stop setting goals or developing these plans?”  Neither one of us really had a good answer for the question.

So I decided I was going to start thinking about my “plan”.  Like I said above, I should’ve known better, but I am a action oriented person, so I started working on it anyway.  I can’t help it, I like to set goals and I like to achieve them.  At the beginning of each year I sit down and think about the stuff I want to accomplish or experience in the upcoming year.  At the end of the year, I check off the goals I achieved and then start thinking about next years goals.  Some of the goals are as simple as “take a vacation” or “take up a new hobby.”  Kind of sad I have to remind myself to take a vacation or take up a new hobby.

All of these plans and goals have a tendency to put pressure on myself rather than just letting life flow and happen.  I like to think that I have control, but I don’t.  I know that, but I still try.  This morning I came across a really good article about 5-year plans that was written by a grieving mom.  It really hit home with me and I wanted to share it with all of the other grieving parents and “Type A’s”.  It’s about letting things just “Be”.  Enjoy.

5-Year Plan Written by Kelly Buckley



Posted in Happiness, Life Lessons, Living Simple, Peace, Restless Soul | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

“Father’s Day – 2015” by Kelly Farley

Father’s Day 2015

Well, as much as I don’t like to think about Father’s Day, it’s kind of hard to ignore it.  All of the advertisements are in full swing on social media, websites, tv, radio and everywhere else I look.  It’s not that I am afraid of this day, I just don’t really know how to handle it.  I don’t have any living children to spend time with so I generally just spend quite time with my wife.  Most of the time we just stay around the house or go out for lunch. Maybe go for a run or a bike ride.

I don’t know what if feels like to spend Father’s Day with my children because they died before I got to experience this and other things a parent are supposed to experience with a child.  Very rarely do I hear from anyone of Father’s Day.  Most people probably don’t know what to say or do, I get it.

I do want people to acknowledge that I am a dad and that this day is difficult, but I don’t like to hear “Happy” Father’s Day, because it’s not.  There is nothing anyone can do or say to make it “happy.”  That’s just the reality of it.

Instead of wishing all of you a “Happy” Father’s Day, I am going to say, “I am thinking about you on this difficult day and wish you a “Peaceful Father’s Day.”  Because one of the most important things to me is the feeling of peace.  That is not an easy thing to come by after the loss of a child, but once you find it, it’s invaluable.

What are your plans for Father’s Day?  How do you plan to “get through it?”

Posted in Bereaved Parents, Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Death of a daughter, Death of a son, Fathers Day, Grief, Grieving Dads, Grieving Dads Project, Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back, Kelly Farley, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Loss of a Son, Men's Grief | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments



I subscribe to a few blogs that focus on simplifying your life.  Since the loss of Katie and Noah, I have been on a mission to live life in a different way.  The first several years were spent just trying to survive.

I know many of you are in that situation as you read this posting and you  are thinking “I don’t care about changing my life right now, I’m just trying to get through the day.”  I get it, I’ve been there.  However, I also know there are people that follow this blog that have made it through the dark dark days and are now starting to reevaluate their lives and how they want to reconstruct it in a way that allows them to live peacefully.

The following is an article that discusses distractions that are easy to allow into your life.  Take a look and let me know if there are any “distractions” that are currently holding you back from surviving this nightmare or stealing your peace of mind.

Distractions Article


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“Restless Soul” by Kelly Farley

Restless Soul

I have always considered myself a restless soul. Always looking for something more exciting or interesting to immerse myself into. I love to experience new things and try to take life in on many levels. If I find myself in a situation where I feel like my life is stagnate, I get very uncomfortable and pissed off at myself for allowing it to happen. I don’t want to waste a minute on this earth primarily because I know my time is limited, I just don’t know how limited. There are times when I wake up in the middle of the night and realize, I will die someday. This realization causes a sense of panic, but not for the reasons most would think. The panic doesn’t occur because I am afraid of dying (I used to be, but not after losing Katie and Noah), I am actually afraid of not living my life to the fullest and the fear of wasting my time.

Here in the United States, we’ve been sold the “American Dream.” We are supposed to graduate high school, go to college and get into the workforce. Once we are in the workforce, it’s all about producing, out maneuvering your co-workers by working harder (60+ hour a weeks) so we can climb the ladder. We do this so we can achieve more titles and collect more stuff. I believe our forefathers and founders were brilliant in developing the “system” that keeps many of us here in the US trying to chase that dream. I believe this work ethic (spun to be a great thing) we have in the US is what keeps the United States one of the wealthiest and strongest in history. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change the system for anything, I love the US and freedom and security it has provided. However, I would like to change the way I personally approach the system. If others want to chase the “American Dream”, go for it.

I chased the dream for years (and still do on some levels) but after the death of Katie and Noah, I realized it’s not the most important thing in life. So, why do so many people do this? So we can pat ourselves on the back and tell each other how great we are because we have arrived in a new car, live in a 3000 sq. ft. house and take the best vacation one can afford. Or in most cases, can’t afford, but we’ll put it on the credit card and work harder over the next 25 years to pay down the house (or buy a bigger house in a better subdivision) and buy a nicer car. We have all been guilty of it, some worse than others.

I read a sign the other day that said, “don’t grow up…..it’s a trap.” I caught myself saying out loud, “Isn’t that the truth.” I often reflect on the days when I had no responsibilities, when “ignorance was bliss”. When I would have the summer days to myself to explore and spend time with my friends. Lately, I have been asking myself the question “Why can’t we still live a life like that?”

I have a neighbor down the street that I see in his yard with his dogs every morning when I go to work. He is out there playing in the dirt hanging out with his dogs and creating a beautiful landscaped yard with flowers everywhere. I stopped to chat with him the other day and the subject turned to “living life” and traveling. He told me he made a decision when he approached 40 to walk away from the corporate world because he was experiencing stress and anxiety. He is now 48 and works a part time job at the local Home Depot and makes enough to allow him to live a life he wants. I am jealous of his ability to make that decision and follow through with it. In all fairness, he has his house paid off and chooses not to live in debt with a lot of “stuff.”

I know I have been rambling on for a while, but let me bring it back to my “restlessness” (did I also mention I am self-diagnosed with ADD). Over the last couple of years, I have started down my own path of “taking in” life. I’ve written a book, taken photography classes, taken cooking classes, started biking and running more, jumped off the side of a mountain to paraglide, landscaping, garden and many other things. Although I enjoy doing all of this stuff, I still feel like I need to do more.

Lately, I’ve been day dreaming of extreme experiences like taking off a year from work to bike across the US, hike the Pacific Crest Trail, traveling the world or moving to Tulum, Mexico for a year and live in a beach town. I’ve been reading a lot of blogs of people that just go and do it. They inspire me.

I think losing Katie and Noah left a void inside of me that I am trying to fill. As I stated earlier, I’ve always been a restless soul, but it has been amplified since losing them.

Has your outlook on/approach to life changed or has your restlessness gotten worse since the loss of your child? Tell us about it.

Posted in Broken Dreams, Dreams, Fear, Gardening, Happiness, Hope, Inspiration, Living Simple, Restless Soul, Words of Encouragement | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

“Raw” by Kelly Farley


I am very fortunate that it has been awhile (9+ years) since I felt the rawness of just losing a child.  However, I remember the moment of being told “the news” very vividly.

It doesn’t take much for me to be taken right back to that moment.  The good news is that it doesn’t hurt no where near as bad as it did in the moment(s), days, months and years following.  I didn’t believe it when I heard it, but “time really does heal.”  I know some of you will not agree with me, but please understand, I am not saying I am “healed”, that will never happen, the scar will always remain.  What I am saying is the wound gets less grotesque and less painful with time.

Yesterday, a newly bereaved dad (less than a week) sent me a radio interview that he and his wife did to bring awareness to the struggles that his precious daughter endured prior to her death.  Listening to their words and the anguish throughout the 18 minute interview was hard to listen to because it took me right back to that little dark room when that doctor told us the news.  I was screaming “no, no, no, not again” and the intense (doesn’t even come close to describing it) pain I felt at that moment.  The moment my body and mind went into protect mode to stop me from a complete and irrevocable nervous breakdown.

As hard as it is to listen to, I think it is a good reminder of how far I have come.  I have set with many of grieving dads when they told their story for the first time, so for me, listening to this isn’t shocking, but I think it provides a valuable lesson and insight to people that have not experienced the death of a child.  There is no denying the pain in which one experiences after the death of a child, you can certainly hear it in their voices and words.

Please listen to the interview and share your thoughts here and share the interview with others.




Posted in Agonize, Bereaved Parents, Brokenness, Death of a Child, Death of a daughter, Debilitating, Devastation, Emotions, Grief, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Pain, Post Tramatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, Trauma | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

“Fatal Silence” by Kelly Farley

Fatal Silence

I recently came across an article called “Fatal Silence:  Why do so many fortysomething men kill themselves?” published by BBC News Magazine.  I didn’t need to read much further to know exactly what this article was about, but I did.  I also recommend that you read the article as well.  It applies to us guys and how we “deal” or “don’t deal” with stuff.

The article really dives into the issue of “men don’t talk” and the impacts of that fact.  As many of you know, my book Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back addresses this issue.  Those of you who have read my book know that I too struggled with not wanting to show “weakness” by sharing my thoughts and emotions.  This was the worst decision I made as part of my grieving process.

I spent nearly two years fighting off this pain and keeping it to myself after the death of my daughter.  The death of my son was the breaking point for me and if I wouldn’t have changed my approach, I wouldn’t have survived.  I believe my grief was prolonged and pain was magnified by the fact that I didn’t talk about my pain after losing my daughter.  However, on the flip side, I do believe I survived by learning to be vulnerable and transparent.

This was not and easy task for me since I grew up in a tough blue-collar town in the Midwest.  Emotional men were not exactly celebrated.  However, it was either learn how to talk about what I was feeling or die.  As I mentioned in my book, I could see myself withering away.  I was dying and I knew it.  I could see it in my eyes.  I really didn’t care most of the time, I just wanted the pain to go away.

Read the article and let me know what your thoughts are on this topic?  Do you have a problem opening up?  If so, why?

Posted in Grief, Men's Grief, Men's Issues, Mental Health, Suicide, Tough, Trauma | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments