“Father’s Day Plans – Revisited”

In keeping with the theme of the week I am sharing the following Father’s Day post from 2011.  I plan on doing several past Father’s Day posts this week as we approach “that day.”  Feel free to weigh in on all of them.

26389736750_d6c715420d_bFather’s Day Plans – 2011 

Last Friday night I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak at a local chapter of the Compassionate Friends. I conducted my “Father’s…..The Forgotten Parent” workshop in front of about thirty bereaved parents. Although I speak to bereaved parents quite often, it still breaks my heart when we go around the room for introductions and each person tells their story. The pain is raw and it is real. These people are just looking for some sign of hope. Maybe it is words someone speaks that evening that will give them something to hold on to until the next meeting. These are people at their most vulnerable moment. There is no ego or one-upmanship going on. Just people who are sad and hurting and wanting someone to help them out of the despair they find themselves in.

My workshop is set up to be interactive so it is not just me speaking.  The goal is to get others comfortable with telling their story and to talk about some of the issues they are dealing with. However, in order for people to become comfortable with me, I have to be transparent with my thoughts and experiences. So I will often tell my story, some will bring tears and other will bring a smile or laughter when I talk about some of the crazy things I did during the really dark days. Things most people in the room can relate with on some level.

As part of this workshop I will usually have a “discussion” session about a particular topic. At this particular workshop I asked the question “What are you plans for Father’s Day?”  I was surprised to hear silence in the room. Many of the parents are newly bereaved and this happens to be their first Father’s Day without their child. A lot of them haven’t allowed themselves to even think about that question. While others haven’t given it much thought, hoping the day will just come and go.

The discussion then unexpectedly turned to me. An elderly lady that was there said that was a great question and then ask me “what are you doing for Father’s Day?”  It kind of took me off guard and I laughed and told her “only I can ask the questions.”  I really didn’t have an answer other than just spending time with my wife. I personally want people to acknowledge me as a father on this day, but I know most people (other than my wife) will not. I don’t expect them to since most people are afraid that a “Happy Father’s Day” wish will upset someone that has lost a child. This could be the case with some, but not me.

Here are a couple of questions for you to think about as we approach Father’s Day. Please share your thoughts.

What do plan on doing for Father’s Day?
How to you want others to handle you on Father’s Day?
Do you want a card and well wishes?
Will you go to breakfast with family?
Do you want to embrace the day as a father or try to avoid the pain of the loss?
Will you do something to honor your child?

 

Photo Credit: Neil. Moralee via Compfight cc

Posted in Fathers Day | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Happy Father’s Day? – Revisited”

I often like to go back and read some of my past posts, especially this time of year as we get closer to the dreaded Father’s Day.  I wrote the following Father’s Day post in 2010, about 5 months after I started this blog and started writing my book.  I plan on doing several past Father’s Day posts this week as we approach “that day.”  Feel free to weigh in on all of them.

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Happy Father’s Day? My Child Has Died

It’s that time of year again, Father’s Day. It’s hard to get excited about this day if you have had a child die. For this father, this day is more about remembering the children that are no longer with me in the physical sense.

I’ll be spending this Father’s Day out on the road interviewing other grieving dads for this project. I am trying to bring some sort of awareness to the many dads that have lost children and struggle everyday to get out of bed and do something positive to honor their child that has died.

Many of the fathers I meet that have lost children feel like they let them down as a father. They should have protected them. That’s what a father does right? Protect. We are also “fixers” and we like to fix things, but we couldn’t fix the problems that were wrong with our children or the situation our children found themselves in.

Many of these dads struggle with seeing the words “Happy Father’s Day”. Seeing that statement gnaws at the already festering wound that has yet to heal, it’s a wound that never completely heals. Over time you can get through the loss of a child, but you never get beyond it. Can you eventually get back on your feet and learn to enjoy life again? Yes. Will you life ever go back to the way it was? No.

Is it possible to have a “Happy” Fathers Day after a loss of a child? Yes, but for very different reasons than most people think. The happiness comes into play when you reflect on the time you spent with your child, although you wished you had more time. You’re happy because it was an honor to be their dad. The love you feel inside for that child makes you smile and hurt at the same time. The happiness for these fathers does not come from a gift that was wrapped up real nice and given to them on this day. The happiness comes from the gift of being their dad.

If you know a dad that has experienced the death of a child, don’t be afraid to reach out to him on this day or any day for that matter. As difficult of a day it is, he would love to hear from you. Someone acknowledging that he is a dad, a dad that has experienced the death of a child.

 

Photo Credit: karolinecamlaay via Compfight cc

Posted in Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Death of a daughter, Death of a son, Fathers Day, Grieving Dads, Grieving Dads Project, Grieving Dads Words, Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back, To the Brink and Back, Tough, Words of Encouragement | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“10 Years – I Remember” by Kelly Farley

10 Years – I Remember

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of my son Noah’s death.  10-years.

I’m not really sure how I survived for this long, but I have.  In some areas of my life I have thrived, others not so much.  Early on, the despair was so profound, I didn’t think I would survive the next 10 minutes.  Despair so deep that it can only be understood by those that have experienced it.

I can remember everything that happened that day like it was yesterday.  I remember driving to the hospital.  I remember being in the hospital room.  I remember watching as he stopped breathing.  I remember the look on my wife’s face.  I remember the kindness of the chaplain that was there with us.  I remember the feeling of my heartbreaking.  I remember holding Noah.  I remember saying goodbye.  I remember handing him to the nurse.  I remember watching as she walked out of the room knowing I will not see him again here on earth.  I remember knowing that my life would never be the same again.

I deeply miss my baby boy.  My beautiful baby boy Noah.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

“Survival” by Kelly Farley

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Survival

I received an email over the weekend from a fellow grieving parent that wanted to know if I would consider doing a live 30-minute interview. I went to their website to learn more about them and while I was searching through their bio, I found this quote:

“Child loss is not an event it is an indescribable journey of survival”  – Author Unknown

I must say, it hit me on several levels. Of all of the grief quotes and articles I’ve read over the years, I’ve never seen this quote before and if I had, it didn’t hit me like it did today.

I think it really captures what this whole journey is about, survival. Not only are we all trying to survive, it’s an indescribable journey that cannot be conveyed in words to people that have been fortunate enough not to have to walk it.

It is not an event that happens and then you move on like nothing happened. It’s profoundness to the nth degree.

It rocks everything in your life.  It goes to the core of your being. It redefines everything you thought you knew. Everything you thought you were.

It truly is an indescribable journey.

 

 

Posted in Agonize, Bereaved Parents, Brokenness, Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Death of a daughter, Death of a son, Death of parent, Despair, Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Loss of a Son, Profound Life Experience, Survival | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Mother’s Day Struggle

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Mother’s Day Struggle

Not sure about the rest of you grieving dads out there, but this weekend is usually more difficult for me than Father’s Day. I am never really sure how to approach it with my wife.

I want to honor her as a mother, but I also know it’s a tough day for her. Not only is it day for her to celebrate being a mom to Katie and Noah, it’s also a day that reminders her that she is a mother to two beautiful children that are no longer here. I don’t want to inflict pain by making a big deal over the day, but I also don’t want to ignore the fact that she is a wonderful mom to our children. I also know I cannot take away the pain from this day.

I know there are many grieving mom’s out there that follow this blog. To them and all of the other grieving moms, I wish you a peaceful Mother’s Day filled with warm memories of your child(ren).

I plan on planting spring flowers and relaxing with my wife this Mother’s Day weekend.

How are you going to spend the day?

 

 

Photo Credit: Monkiiiey Henry Clark via Compfight cc

Posted in Bereaved Parents, Broken Dreams, Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Death of a daughter, Death of a son, Gardening, Grief, Grieving Moms, Mother's Day, Stillbirth | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

“Lost and Found” by Kelly Farley

Mountains

Lost and Found

This past Saturday my daughter Katie would have been 11 years old. In six weeks my son would have been 10. These days used to be very difficult, but now I find myself proud to be their dad. I only wish I can just hold them and let them know how much I love and miss them.

As I mention in my book, the first couple of years I carried a lot of anger inside along with great sadness and the need for someone to take the wheel from me for a couple years. I didn’t want to be the one that had to keep things going forward. I didn’t want to have to figure out how to pay bills, mow the yard or anything that landed on my “to do” list. I just wanted to be still and taken care of like a kid, but I knew that wasn’t an option. I had to move forward, because other than my wife, there wasn’t anyone there to care for me, to provide and make sure we kept a roof over our head. In some ways I am sure it was a good thing, being forced to move forward.

One of the best things I ever did after the loss of Noah was the 3 months I took off from life. When Noah died, I couldn’t function, I just needed to remove all other distractions in my life and deal with his loss and Katie’s loss because I had been running from her loss for about 18 months. It finally caught me.

Fortunately we had a small nest egg to live on so my wife and I took 3 months off during the summer of 2006 from work and we just lived. We went to bed when we wanted to and woke up when we woke up. We mourned, cried, prayed, smiled and even laughed at times. We held on to each other as if one would slip away if we loosened our grip. We were outside most of the days, sitting on our patio, staining the fence, doing yard work, biking, jogging, afternoon cocktails and grilling out. We were lost but not having the pressure of life allowed us to do and be whatever we needed at that moment. We unplugged from people and kept to ourselves for the most part.

As the 3 months started to wind down, my anxiety started to set in. How was I going to do my job? I needed to be with my friend, my wife. I wasn’t sure if I could make it through the day with the pressures of work, the expectations or being back in the grind. In the days leading up to the inevitable, my anxiety had gotten so bad, I just needed to take off so I started walking and thinking. After several hours of walking, I finally called my wife to come pick me up about 10 miles away.

The walk helped a little, but the next morning I had to report back to work. I was throwing up with the uncertainty of how I was going to get through the day. How will I face people I haven’t seen in 3 months? Will my projects still be waiting for me, piled up on my desk requiring me to work long hours? Will I be able to get through the day? I didn’t know the answers to these questions, but I assumed worst case across the board. I lasted about 5 months before I requested to go part time. I spent the next 18 months working 24 hours a week. It helped me tremendously because my wife was also able to change her schedule to 24 hours.

We spent our free time grieving and thinking about our next direction in life. We both were thinking about career changes that allowed us to have careers with much less pressure than the high pressure deadline driven engineering jobs we had at the time. I started pursuing a career as a professional counselor (180 degree turn for me) and my wife pursued her masters to become a special education teacher.

Fast forward 10 years and I’m back working full time as an engineer, but still searching for the right direction in life. The publishing of my book Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back provided me with the sense of making a difference and helping others. My book replaced my drive to be a counselor because I know it helps other grieving dads (and moms) every day. I know this because I hear from many of them thanking me for the book. This book will probably go down as one of my biggest life accomplishments due to the impact it has had around the world. I know Katie and Noah are proud of their dad and that’s what drives me.

My wife has been a teacher for nearly 6 years now and loves working with the kids as she says, “our kids would have been friends with.”

Ever since that summer away from life, I dreamed of doing it again under much different circumstances. As I continue to move forward in life, I still search to find my passion, something that makes me happy rather than pursuing the dollars. I am confident I will find it, eventually.

In the spirit of making a dream come true, my wife Christine, my dog Buddy and I will be spending a month this summer in a house we rented in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Hiking, biking, fishing kayaking, exploring, drinking craft beers, reading and relaxing is our plan. It’s a way for me to get away, do some thinking about my future path, celebrate our 20 years of marriage and reflect on the 10 years since we lost Noah and the summer we held on tight to each other.

If you are going to be anywhere near Steamboat Springs, CO this summer, stop by and say hello.

 

Photo Credit: Dr Anirban Ray via Compfight cc

Posted in Anniversary, anxiety, Death of a Child, Debilitating, dog, Dreams, Friends, Grief, Grieving Dads, Grieving Dads Project, Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back, Happiness, Hope, Inspiration, Kelly Farley, Living Simple, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Loss of a Son, Peace, Perspective, Words of Encouragement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

“Coming Home” by Kelly Farley

This video is about the feeling of comfort I get when sitting with other grieving parents.  I don’t necessarily mean in a support group or having a discussions about losing our children.  I mean in just general conversation at work or wherever, if I know the other person has been through the loss of a child, I get the same feeling as being in the comfort of my own home.  Just knowing the other person has an understanding of what I’ve been through takes away any walls that I have built up.

What is your thoughts on this subject?

Posted in Bereaved Parents, Counseling, Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Death of a daughter, Death of a son, Homecoming, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Loss of a Son, Perspective, Uncategorized, Words of Encouragement | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

“Laying Low” by Kelly Farley

I have had a lot of positive feedback from others that have watched some of my previous impromptu videos that I have posted so I decided that I would start doing more of them.  I often will be driving or out on a run and a subject/idea enters my mind as a good blog post.  The problem is, by the time I get to a place to type it up, I forget about it.

If you have time check out my latest “video” blog.  When you are done watching it, hit “subscribe” to Grieving Dads YouTube Channel so you will automatically get a notice when a new video is posted.  Let me know what you think of the topic of Laying Low.

Posted in Bereaved, Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Death of a daughter, Death of a son, Grieving Dads, Grieving Dads Project, Grieving Dads Words, Living Simple, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Loss of a Son, Men's Grief, Perspective, Rat Race, Restless Soul | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

“Forgotten Footage” by Kelly Farley

Forgotten Footage

It’s been almost 3 years since I recorded this video.  However, I never posted it on this blog.  It was recorded as a favor for a fellow grief survivor who had lost her husband.  She had written a book and wanted a collection of videos from other people that had experienced a profound loss for her book release.

I’ve been wanting to post it for a while because I think there is good content and discussion points.  However, it required me to do some editing, but I didn’t have the software, until now.

Watch it and let me know your thoughts.

Posted in Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Death of a daughter, Death of a son, Grieving Dads, Grieving Dads Project, Grieving Dads Words, Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back, Kelly Farley, Uncategorized, Words of Encouragement | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

“Grieving Dad Interview”

For the Dads

“Grieving Dad Interview”

I was recently approached by Elisabeth Stitt of Joyful Parenting Coaching who wanted to interview me for an upcoming event that she has developed called  “Let’s Hear It For The Dads!: Conversations About Fatherhood”.  The program is a series of interviews with 20 different dads on all topics related to being a dad.

I was a little concerned about the title of her business “Joyfull Parenting” because I, and most of you, cringe a little when I read those words.  We all know that there isn’t much “joy” in what we’ve all been dealing with after the loss of our child.  However, she explained to me that she wanted to get the perspective of a father that has experienced the death of a child so others will have a glimpse into the aftermath and pain of burying a child.  Being someone that feels it is my responsibility to continue to bring awareness to what grieving dads (and moms) deal with, I said I would “absolutely” do the interview.

She will be discussing fatherhood issues with me along with 19 other dads.  If you are interested in registering for the event, click http://goo.gl/qoBUxv.  An interview a day will be emailed out.  I am sure most of the topics will be painful to listen to since most interviews are going to be about being a dad in general.  I don’t plan on listening to any of the interviews, but it you are interested in hearing my interview and perspective on being a dad, please sign up and just delete all emails until the day my interview is played.

I will also post the interview when it is officially available.

Peace.

Kelly

Posted in Grieving Dads, Grieving Dads Project, Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back, Kelly Farley | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments