“My First Christmas In Heaven”

This posting is for the Christian followers of this blog or anyone else you think would find it comforting at Christmas. I signed up for an emailed daily devotional 8 years ago when I was trying to survive on a day-to-day basis. The devotional has provided much comfort to me over the years. I thought the one I received today would be helpful to some. Peace.

GOD WILL WIPE AWAY EVERY TEAR FROM THEIR EYES; THERE SHALL BE NO MORE DEATH, NOR SORROW, NOR CRYING.  THERE SHALL BE NO MORE PAIN, FOR THE FORMER THINGS HAVE PASSED AWAY.                          ( REVELATION 21:4 *NKJV )

If you are suffering from the loss of a loved one this Christmas,   the following message is for you.  Also if you are not suffering   from that loss, but know of someone who is, why not forward   this message to them.  For it has ministered to many over the   past few years!   It is called:

“My First Christmas In Heaven”

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below
With tiny lights, like Heaven’s stars, reflecting on the snow
The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away the tear
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear
But the sounds of music can’t compare with the Christmas
choir up here.  I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices
bring.  For it is beyond description, to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart
But I am not so far away, We really aren’t apart.
So be happy for me, dear ones, You know I hold you dear.
And be glad I’m spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I sent you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above.
I sent you each a memory of my undying love.
After all, love is a gift more precious than pure gold.
It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do.
For I can’t count the blessing or love he has for each of you.
So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear
Remember, I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ
this year.
Author Unknown

Posted in Bereaved, Christmas, Grief | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

“One Reason Why I Wrote My Book”

There are several reasons why I wrote my book, one of those reasons was to help other dads (and moms) through the aftermath of losing a child.  The only way I knew how to do that was to be brutally honest with myself and with the readers.  I knew I had to force myself to be vulnerable and transparent, which was not an easy task for me.  The following is a message I received over the weekend from a fellow grieving dad.  I am humbled by how far this book has reached and the people it has touched.  Bruce and all the others that continue to reach out to me is the main reason this book was written.

“Good morning Kelly,

My name is Bruce and like you I am a member of this awful club. I lost my ten year old son, Garrett, in February of 2013 and the last 22 months have certainly taken me to the brink and almost back. “Back” would mean returning to where I was before Garrett’s death and I am well aware that I will never be “there” again.

I finished reading your book last night and I will honestly say I wish I would have read it a year ago. For the first year after Garrett’s death, I, like many dads, tried to be the rock and man up to the grief that was trying to attack my already destroyed world. I spent twelve months “faking it” on the outside while everything inside was in an emotional war. Finally I sought out professional help through a grief counselor to help me understand, cope with, and even invite the grief in. Had I read your book earlier, I would have understood this is normal, I’m not going crazy, there are others like me, and I certainly would have sought professional help much sooner.

Thank you for writing this book and helping so many grieving fathers like me. I hate the club that we’re in but I have grown to respect and admire many of its members. 

Thank you Kelly for what you are doing to help dads like me. I know your pain, I feel the same hole in my heart that you feel in yours, and I share your desire to help other dads with their grief journeys.

May God’s peace be with you and all grieving dads this Christmas season, Bruce”

 

How has Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back helped you?

Posted in Bereaved Parents, Grief, Grieving Dads, Grieving Dads Project, Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back, Men's Grief | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

12 Days of Christmas for Bereaved Parents

I know I am a little late at starting these, but better late than not at all. This was sent to me by the Sacramento-South Placer County Chapter – Bereaved Parents of the USA.  This is all good advice in approaches I have used/use several times over the years.

12 Days of Christmas for Bereaved Parents

 Day 1 – December 14

Right from the get go, give yourself permission to do, or not do, what you feel/don’t feel comfortable with this Christmas season. If you feel up to decorating your house… pour yourself a glass of eggnog and do what you can. If you can only manage to hang a wreath on the door, then allow yourself the freedom of leaving the boxes of decorations in the attic. They’ll be there for you next year, or the year after, or whenever you feel more like enjoying the festivities of the season.

Take the pressure off of yourself by asking for help. If you have other children, and you just don’t think you can put up the outside lights on the house, bake cookies or spend time at the mall, ask a friend or relative to step in for you and do some holiday activities with the other kids that will allow them to enjoy the holidays through a child’s eyes. This is not the time to try to be “super mom or dad.”

Day 2 – December 15

Whether it’s your first Christmas season or your 20th, think of a way to brighten someone else’s holidays by doing for them what you cannot do for your own child. This could be anything from selecting a child from an underprivileged home, or an elderly person who needs a neighbor to stop by on Christmas Day with a hot meal. Lifting someone else’s spirits will definitely lift yours.

Day 3 – December 16

Enjoy the holidays by starting new traditions that incorporate memories of your child. You may want to make or purchase a new ornament for the Christmas tree that reminds you of their personality or something they enjoyed. You can create a scrapbook of past holidays you enjoyed with your child. How about framing one of your favorite photos of your child and displaying it in your home? Visit a place they enjoyed and have a toast in their honor. Bringing good memories to mind will eventually replace the sadness caused by not having your child with you physically. Eventually you’ll find yourself thinking about the good times you had with them more often that dwelling on the fact that they are no longer here.

Posted in Brokenness, Christmas, Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Death of a daughter, Death of a son, Holidays, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Loss of a Son | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Lurking” by Kelly Farley

Lurking

I realize I have come a long way since the early days of grief when I would find myself on my hands and knees because the pain (emotional) was so intense I couldn’t function. When the anxiety got the best of me and I felt like I was having a nervous breakdown.

Trust me when I say this, if you have ever lived through one of those episodes, you don’t take a good day for granted. Early on, my episodes seemed to last for months and over time they gradually went from weeks, to days and eventually hours. The thought of going back to those dark days is something I don’t even like to think about. They were as dark as it gets.

I have a new appreciation for people that live with mental health issues their entire life. I know my depression and anxiety was brought on by a “profound situation”, the death of my two children. I can honestly say because I put in the hard work of grieving and allowing myself to process my pain that I am able to function in life again. In fact, I would classify 99% of my days as good. Not as good as I was before the losses, but considering where I’ve been after the losses, I’ll take it.

However, the 1% of bad days still suck. They are nowhere as deep as the early episodes, but they still weigh you down. I recently experienced a couple of those days after coming down with mild flu symptoms last week. Not the kind of day that paralyzes you with sadness/despair/anxiety, but the kind of day that just weighs on you. I think even non-bereaved parents have these kind of days from time to time because of life’s events. However, these 1% days are new to me. I never experienced bad days before the loss of my two children. I thought everyone walked around with a smile and the feeling of being able to conquer the world, apparently not.

I bring this topic up because there are certain things the trigger those 1% days or emotional heaviness for me. I feel them when I am at my weakest moments. I can all most always count on having them when I am sick. I think my strength to fend “it” off becomes jeopardized due to immune system. I also get these unexpected attacks when I have an extremely intense workout.

It just goes to show its always lurking below the surface, waiting for an opportunity to reveal itself. The good thing is, these episodes are nowhere near as intense or last as long as the crippling episodes I had for a couple of years after the loss of my children. I’m not talking about a sadness episode, but more of “I’m not sure what to do with myself kind of moment”. They are kind of overwhelming, heavy, introspective type of moments.

Anyone else experience this type of behavior?

Posted in anxiety, Bereaved, Bereaved Parents, Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Death of a daughter, Death of a son, Debilitating, Depression, Despair, Emotions, Exhausting, Grief, Grieving Dads, Having a Bad Day, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Loss of a Son, Men's Grief | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

“Ignorance is Bliss” by Kelly Farley

Ignorance is Bliss

When using the word “ignorant” to describe someone it is generally not meant to be a compliment. We all know that this word means that the person is “lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular”.

I work in an industry that requires me to oversee large public improvement projects. When I say large, they can range from a couple of million dollars in construction cost all the way up to 2-3 hundred million. A co-worker of mine is currently overseeing one of these 300 million dollar projects and he is feeling a lot of pressure to make sure his team delivers. It’s not uncommon for members of his team to work 60-80 hour weeks designing one of these projects. As you can imagine, the hours worked and stress of one of these projects weights heavy on most of the team members.

I stopped by this coworker’s office recently and could see the stress he was carrying. I sat down and let him vent about some of his team members and how they really don’t see the big picture of what we have to accomplish. They don’t understand that our business depends on delivering a quality project in order to get another project from our client. They don’t understand the business model and the fact that if we don’t get another project, they will not have a job/paycheck. They just show up to work, do what their told and go home. They don’t think for themselves and rely heavily on the project leader to tell them what to do. At the end of his venting, I said, “ignorance is bliss”. We both laughed and he said “that would be nice not to know, to live in your own little world”.

I spent the rest of the day thinking about that statement, “ignorance is bliss” and thought about what I have been through with the loss of my children. I wish I was ignorant to this nightmare. I wish I didn’t know the pain of burying a child. I wish I didn’t know the aftermath that people go through after burying a child. I wish I didn’t know about days you can’t get out of bed because the pain is so emotionally and physically destructive. I wish I didn’t know about the long term impacts of losing a child. I wish I didn’t have to hear from all of the other dads (and moms) that have also been on this path. The reality is I do know, I wish I didn’t, but I can’t change that fact.

I also thought about the people on my co-workers team. Maybe they aren’t ignorant after all. Maybe they understand that “you don’t know what you don’t know” and they are perfectly ok with that. There was a time after the loss of Katie and Noah that I took on the mindset of “I’m doing the best I can and if that isn’t good enough for you then to bad.” That was the only way I could have survived. I didn’t allow myself to take on more stuff.   I had reached my capacity and then some. However, over the last couple of years I have allowed myself to worry about stuff that really doesn’t matter. Getting out of bed every day with a smile and a sense of peace should be the only thing that matters.

Is ignorance bliss?

Posted in Death of a Child, Debilitating, Depression, Emotions, Exhausting, Men's Grief, Tough | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

“More on Men’s Grief”

I received a response from Author/Therapist Tom Golden last week after I posted on the subject of “Man Grief vs. Woman Grief”.  Tom was kind enough to share a link to an article he wrote on the subject of men’s grief.  Tom has written a couple of books and often speaks/trains others on the subject.  Some of you may have already seen the link he posted on my last blog entry.  For those who have not seen this article, it can be viewed here:

Why and How Do Men Keep Their Emotional Pain Invisible?

As always, please share your thoughts/comments.

Posted in Grief, Men's Grief, Men's Issues | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Man Grief vs. Woman Grief”

Man Grief vs. Woman Grief

I received an email yesterday from a fellow grieving dad who is doing research for a grant asking me if I had come across any articles on the subject of why/how men and women grieve differently.

Here is what he found in his research:

“Those inclined to the “male model” will keep grief to themselves, work hard to avoid losing control in front of others, and refrain from asking for help or assistance. In the “female model,” feeling related or connected is of paramount importance, while in the “male model” feeling independent and autonomous is critical.”

Here was my response:

Thank you for reaching out to me on this subject, it’s a good one. It’s a subject that I tend to question when the “experts” voice their opinion on it. I have seen all of the papers that say men and women grieve differently and I must say I am not sure I agree with them. If you take societies expectations away, do they really grieve differently or do we grieve differently because we have both been “given” roles and if we don’t play those roles, we are looked down upon. Not sure if you read my book, but I talk about this subject because after my first loss, I felt like I had to be the rock, to carry the load. I felt the pain as well, but I didn’t give myself permission to feel it because I was taught not to throughout my whole life. After my second loss, I fell apart and I gave in and became “weak”. I needed to be cared for, I needed to cry, and I needed to openly mourn the loss of my two beautiful children. If I wouldn’t have allowed myself to do that, I am not sure I would have survived. Now I would agree that people grieve differently, but I am not sure it’s because they are a man or a woman.

To answer your question, I have not come across any papers I consider valid. They were not written by anyone that have had to actually live this nightmare and until you have walked it, I don’t want to hear your “expert” opinion. However, I have interviewed/spoken too many grieving dads over the last several years and I can assure you, they feel the pain just as much, they just don’t know what to do with it because it goes against everything they’ve been taught.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Peace.

Kelly

What are your thoughts in this subject?

Posted in Uncategorized | 28 Comments

“Wanted”

I was contacted late last week by a research and casting company that were hired by a large national insurance company located here in the United States.  They contacted me as a result of finding my book and wanted to know if I knew of any bereaved dads that would be willing to participate in a Public Service Announcement (PSA).  The PSA is based on promoting household safety by showing others that “bad stuff” can happen.  First of all, I was honored they contacted me and secondly I was excited that they were looking for grieving dads to be apart of this campaign.

I informed them that I would post something on my blog and social media outlets to find out if there is anyone willing to be interviewed and be a part of this project.  I asked them to send me a list of household accidents that someone may have lost a child to and they provided me with the following:

  • Poisoning (drinking/eating toxic products, swallowing button batteries, carbon monoxide, medicine overdose)
  • Drowning (bathtub or pool)
  • TV or furniture tip-over
  • Driveway back-over
  • Falling (windows, stairs, etc)
  • Choking or Strangulation (window blind cords)
  • Fire and Burns (fires in homes, burns associated with grills, fire pits, etc)

All of these are horrific and if we can bring awareness to these areas of realities, we are doing a great service by helping other parents to avoid the loss of a child.

If you have had the unfortunate experience in one of these household accidents and willing to speak with this organization, please contact me by email or phone.

Peace.

Kelly

 

 

Posted in Household Accident | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Virtual Book Tour?

BookCoverImage

I have to be honest, I have not read my book Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back since it was published in June 2012.  I have read the book multiple times as a draft and through the editing process.  I have done a few book readings of the first chapter or two at support groups I was invited to, but I have not read it from cover to cover since it was published.  That being said, I do believe I am in need of a “tune-up” in my attitude and I believe rereading the book can dial me back in to what is really important in life.  A reminder of how far I am come since the very dark and desperate days of trying to survive the aftermath of losing two children.

I have become restless and frustrated with myself in recent months.  Restless because I want to accomplish and do so many things but there are times I just can’t focus long enough or have the energy to follow through.  I believe a lot of this is tied to the after effects of the impact my mental state took from the blow.  I need a reminder that getting out of bed with a smile and a spring in my step is a HUGE deal and I should not take it for granted, I should be proud of myself instead of beating myself up for not doing more.

I do plan on reading the book over a few month time frame, but this time I wanted to do a virtual book reading.  I would video tape me reading the book while stopping at critical points and discussing my thoughts on the subject.  However, before I spend the time and energy doing this, I wanted to find out if anyone would be interested in following along in the book and participating in the discussion.

Would you be interested I participating in a virtual book tour?

Posted in Grief, Grieving Dads, Grieving Dads Project, Grieving Dads Words, Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back, Men's Grief, Men's Issues, Words of Encouragement | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

“Never Show Weakness” by Kelly Farley

“Never Show Weakness”

Men are often times programmed from a young age to believe that “big boys don’t cry” and that they should never show weakness. Because of this, it is sometimes difficult for men to “release” the emotions that build up. I often hear from dads that tell me that they can’t seem to cry. They feel the emotions welling up inside, but the release just doesn’t happen very easily. I try to provide ideas/tools that I have learned from dealing with my own emotions during the aftermath of losing my two children.

I am a firm believer that one needs to learn to be transparent and allow themselves to become vulnerable. This isn’t easy for men, but allowing yourself to seek professional counseling and participating in support groups can help with this process.

Another important part to the healing process is staying active, especially for men. Not as a tool to avoid dealing with your emotions, but quite the opposite. Using activities such as exercise allows you to not only burn anxiety, it can allow you to be in your own thoughts; processing what has happened to you.

I spent a lot of time riding my bike, jogging and taking on none time critical home projects. Early on, I would find myself breaking down and crying during these activities. Even years after their death, I still use these tools and from time to time I will push myself enough physically that I will feel the emotions build up and ultimately trigger a release.

I wish I could give each grieving parent the secret to surviving the death of their child, but I can’t. What I can do is share the things that helped me make it through the dark days and ultimately back to the path of healing.

Kelly Farley
Author of Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back
www.GrievingDads.com

Posted in Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Death of a daughter, Death of a son, Grief, Grieving Dads, Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Loss of a Son, Men's Grief | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments