“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 , , , , | 3 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

Distractions

Distractions

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

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“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

“Raw”

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

Call for Submissions

Many of the grieving dads that follow this blog also have their own blog or write about their own pain and experiences.  I was recently contacted by a very large babyloss blog called Glow in the Words.  Many of you have probably heard of this blog and may already be aware of the recent call for article submissions from fathers that have lost a child.

They asked me to share the request with all of the followers here on Grieving Dads.  So, for those interested in submitting an article from a dad’s perspective, please check out the link below.

Glow in the Woods – Call for Submissions

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

New Grief Resource Book

I am often sent resources from the grief community to share with the followers of Grieving Dads.  The most recent resource is a book that was sent to me by Chesapeake Life Center, which is a service of the Hospice of Chesapeake.  The book is called  Supporting Children After a Suicide Loss and can be ordered by following this link:  Resource Book.

Posted in Grief, Suicide | Tagged | Leave a comment

What to Say to a Bereaved Person

I often have people that sign up to receive notifications from the Grieving Dads blog.  Today I received a notification that “The Grief Geek” has started to follow me.  I spent some time on their blog and I found that many of the topics I have discussed are also discussed on this blog.  It is always good to see a topic from a different perspective or experience.  Therefore, I wanted to share the blog with all of you as a resource.

Also, one of the posting stood out to me.  Its on the topic of “what to say or not to say” to a bereaved parent or anyone that is grieving for that matter.   Over the last 5 years, I have heard from many of my followers regarding the horrific things that people say to them because they are either ignorant or really have not idea what to say.

Take a look at the link below to see the article but also come back to this posting and share with me the things people have said to you that have helped or not helped.

What to say to a bereaved person.

Posted in Grief, Words of Encouragement | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

“Dark Days” by Kelly Farley

Dark Days

I was driving in to work today and thinking how far I have come since the early days of my grief. I started thinking about how something as simple as a good song gets me singing (not pretty, but to me I sound good) along with the radio. I now have goals and dreams that I look forward to pursuing. I also started to think about some of the rough days I had early in my grief. The only goals I had on those days were to survive and to get out of bed to make it to work. There was no singing along to the radio on the way to the office, only tears. Every time I start to beat myself up for not being “further” along in life, I try to stop myself and remember some of those early days.

One particular day really stands out to me. It started out with the normal dread of waking up and getting out of bed. I had one of those moments of bliss between sleeping and reality. The moment that you thought you had the worst nightmare of your life and the reality that you were living that nightmare. The day progressed with the mental struggles I often fought. But this day I didn’t have the strength to fight it, so I surrendered to it. I was am on my hands and knees and had been gaging/throwing up from the stress every time I tried to eat. Throwing up from the stress! I didn’t even realize that was possible. I was crying but there were no tears, only convulsive type spasms that resemble bawling, but again there were no tears. Only extreme sadness, fear, despair, depression, emptiness, guilt, devastation and anger. I am sure I am missing a bunch of other emotions that I was feeling that day.

I remember that it was a wintery afternoon and there I was on my hands and knees not knowing if I was going to survive. “Survive” is a word I asked myself a lot during the early days of the journey. “Am I going to survive this?” The reason I asked it was because I could feel myself dying and I really wasn’t sure I was going to survive. I asked my counselor, wife, family and friends. I needed confirmation that I was going to survive. And even when they said yes, I returned with “Are you sure? Because it doesn’t feel like I am going to.” I think some people around me started to ask the same question.

One friend of mine responded to an email I sent him. “Hey buddy, I am getting worried about you. This is the first time I have had concerns, I don’t want you hurting yourself, and you need to go to the doctor for help.” I never got to the point of thinking about ending the pain, but I can see how people get to that point. My friend was right, I needed to see a counselor.

When I was sitting with my counselor telling my story, I was fine (ok not fine, but better because I had an opportunity to tell my story and cry), but when I was on my own it would start to build up until my next appointment. I needed her with me to help tame conversations I was having with myself regarding the survival of this nightmare. Unfortunately, my insurance only covered one visit per week.

As I mentioned earlier, I sometimes have a tendency to judge myself for not being the guy I was 10 years ago before the loss of my first child. However, when I look back at some of those dark days, I realize I have come a long way from those days and that it’s ok to have easy/relaxing/enjoyable days and that the most important thing is the fact I feel happiness and peace in my life. Those two things are not easy to come by and I need reminders of those days to realize that it’s ok to just sit back and enjoy the simple things in life.

I decided to share my thoughts and this story today because I want you to realize that no matter where you are in this journey, there is hope. There are brighter days ahead if you put in the hard work of allowing the grief process to run its course instead of fighting it. Learn to surrender and be vulnerable.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Posted in Agonize, Anger, anxiety, Bereaved Parents, Counseling, counselor, Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Death of a daughter, Death of a son, Debilitating, Depression, Despair, Devastation, Emotions, Grief, Hope, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Loss of a Son, Men's Grief, Survival, Words of Encouragement | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments