One of the most important things to me is being able to help others through the nightmare of losing a child. I’ve realized through my own journey that I found help/support from multiple different resources and people. I want to create as many valuable resources as possible to help others along, so bear with me on this wordy post.
As mentioned about, I’ve found help in many places once I was open to receiving it. One of the unexpected resources happened about 9 months after losing my son Noah. I was looking to hire someone that could help me with branding/marketing a new small business I was thinking about launching. The new business idea was a distraction and something I very much welcomed. However, I was still overwhelmed with the pain and when it came right down to it, I didn’t have the energy to even implement a business (or even care about it for that matter), but I still went through the motions of distraction.
I met a new business associate for coffee. We discussed what she could do for my business until the conversation changed to my recent losses and the difficult time I was having. As the conversation went on, she suggested that I attend an upcoming weekend retreat for men at her church. I was a little taken off guard and I told her I would think about it, which was my way of saying “no thanks.” A few days later one of the leaders from that group called me and invited me to the retreat. Again, I said, “I’m not sure it’s for me.” He kept bugging me and finally I said I would attend. I envisioned a bunch of guys sitting around all weekend reading the bible, but I thought if it would help me as much as the lady said it would, I should go. Nothing else seemed to be helping me, so what do I have to lose other than my time.
I won’t get into the details of the weekend, but there were about 30 others guys, each one with their own struggles and nervous about what this weekend was going to be about. I met a fellow grieving dad at this event and he was one of the key people to help me through my pain. In fact, I had dinner once a month with him for a couple of years. When I told him about my book idea he encouraged me to not only write it, but he also donated his credit card points to fund my airfare so I could conduct face-to-face interviews with other grieving dads around the United States. Although I don’t see him as much as I use to, he is still a dear friend of mine to this day and someone I would not have met if it were not for my conversation with a stranger over coffee.
I know that was a long story to get to the point of this blog post. In fact, I thought about deleting everything above since it’s a long story to get to what I wanted this blog post to be about. Many of you that have followed me over the years know that my rambling often goes off on a tangent.
Now back to the title, “Help Wanted”. Since my book was published in 2012 (wow, its already been 4.5 years) and even before that, I envisioned a time that I would actually conduct a weekend retreat for grieving dads. A weekend that would have me (and others) leading discussions and small groups about our experiences. It would include a cross-section of people and experiences at various stages of this journey. I’ve always believed that there is healing in being around others that have been through the same thing. We would also spend one of the days (or ½ days) leading various activities outside (hiking, biking, golfing, fishing, etc.) as a way to spend time with others that “get it.” Who wants to sit inside a hotel conference room for 2 days anyway? Not me. But I do find peace in being around others that understand.
I am not yet sure of all of the details because my expertise in not in event planning. My expertise is coming up with the ideas, my ADD doesn’t allow for me to actually focus on making it happen. It was hard enough to write a book. My ask is this:
Is there anyone reading this blog post that has the experience (and desire) to lead and implement a Grieving Dads Retreat Weekend? I am confident that the time spent will be valuable to all of the guys that would attend the retreat. I am also confident that it will be a healing experience for whoever leads this event because you will be making a difference. It will provide you hope just like this blog and writing my book has helped me.
I was thinking a good location would be Colorado since its somewhat centralized between coasts and it allows for many of the outdoor activities for breakout sessions, but I am open to location. It’s just an idea as of right now, but if you have an interest in playing a part in helping others, I would love to speak with you.
In addition to the weekend retreat, I have been exploring the idea of leading a Podcast, but I have no idea how to even start one. I think many grieving dads would find a value in having this as a resource to them in addition to my book. If you know anything about Podcasts and how to create them and have the desire to help me, I would also like to speak with you.
I am looking forward to hearing back from everyone that has an interest. If I don’t hear from anyone I’ll just assume that the need/desire for these resources are greatly exaggerated in my head. In all honesty, that wouldn’t be the first time.
Photo Credit: CaledoniaEHanson Flickr via Compfight cc