This posting is a writing from me (a grieving dad) and not from one of the grieving dads that reach out to me.  I wrote this one for me and my son Noah.  I released a lot of tears writing this brief posting; mainly from the reality that sits in from time to time.  I hope it sheds some light on some of the things that bereaved parents go through after the loss of a child.

The four-year anniversary of the death of my sweet baby boy Noah is tomorrow.  I really don’t know how to handle the day.  He officially died on June 7th and was born on June 8th.   We try to make it a special day for baby Noah with a balloon release and a birthday cake.  I know it’s kind of fucked up, trying to do “normal” things on a day that isn’t normal.  I really don’t know what else to do.  I just want him to know that I miss him dearly and that I haven’t forgotten about him, so we sing him Happy Birthday and blow out the candles in hopes that he is watching and understands how much we love him and miss him. 

Although he wasn’t alive when he was born, the time I spent with him was awesome.  He was so tiny he didn’t even fit into the preemie outfit we had bought him in anticipation of this death.  We spent 6 hours with him before the nurse had taken him away.  Those 6 hours were the worst and best time of my life.   I knew he wouldn’t be coming home with me, like most parents are fortunate enough to experience, but that didn’t stop me from being a proud father.  He was so beautiful. 

We are fortunate enough to have his hand prints, photos, his outfit and the blanket the nurses had wrapped him in, but it will never be enough.  The hole in my heart will not be filled until I am holding him and my daughter Katie in my arms again. 

It took me a couple of years to be able to function in somewhat of a normal way again.  The grief and sadness of losing Katie and Noah has taken a major toll on me mentally. 

The next couple of days will come and go and most of our family (and certainly friends) won’t remember to call or check in with us.  There will be excuses like “I didn’t want to remind you or bring you down”.  What they are really saying is “I forgot” or “I didn’t have the courage to actually have a heart to heart conversation with you about the death of your child”.  Most people don’t like the felling of being “uncomfortable”.  However, the parents that have lost a child must live with that “uncomfortable” feeling every day.  It’s a reality in which we live. 

If it weren’t for some dear friends that have also experienced a loss of a child, we wouldn’t hear from anyone on Noah’s birthday.  The cards and gifts that we receive from these friends are truly heartfelt because they understand what its like to be alone in your thoughts on these difficult days. 

In closing I want to wish by beautiful son Noah, Happy Birthday!  You will always be with me and I will always miss you.  I look forward to the day that I will get to hold you in my arms again.  Please know and remember that your daddy loves you so very deeply.

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  • AerialBird

    I just wanted to say thank you so very much for having the courage to post this online. A dear friend of mine lost her baby boy the day he was born, and his first birthday is coming up. Reading your post convinced me to reach out to her, instead of being a wuss and hoping (in denial) that she’s doing okay. Thank you, again.

  • I am here, in these shoes, right now. I am a mother who is trying to say goodbye to my daughter. She died on June 8th and was born on June 12th. She was beautiful. And people don’t say anything. They don’t say, “I’m sorry that your baby died.” That’s all I want. That’s all my husband wants. And we need it.

    • Mary,

      I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet baby girl. As you know, there are not many words I can say to make the pain you feel inside go away. I want you to know that I have an understanding of what you and your husband are feeling.

      I have found that most people dont say anything because they are afraid taht by bringing it up “will make you feel” worse. The reality is they dont need to say anything. They just need to listen to you talk about your baby, show them pictures and allow you to cry. You are right, “you need it” as part of your healing. My recommendation is to find support groups that include other parents that have lost babies under similar circumstances. It help you not feel so alone in your pain and journey. We met some of our best friends through these groups.

  • Gretchen

    Kelly – Beautiful post. It is so difficult to attempt the “normal” things on a birthday that is so heartwrenching. The site has turned into a wonderful tribute to Katie and Noah and all of the other precious children who died too soon. I hope the cake and balloon release went well and that you had some peace on Noah’s special day.


    • Gretchen – Thank you and Brandon both for being the friends that you are and remembering the difficult days and remembering both Katie and Noah. I know you guys “get it”. The balloon release went well and the cake was great. Its hard to beleive we had 4 candles on there now. Especially since I didnt think I would survive the first year.

      Thanks again for being such great friends.


  • Catherine Knepper

    I’m left nearly speechless by this heartfelt account. Thank you so much for sharing this, Kelly.

    Happy birthday sweet Noah!

    • Catherine – Thank you for the kind words and the Birthday wishes for Noah. I greatly appreciate it! It turn out to be a good day!

  • It’s amazing how a life, no matter how short can touch so many.

    I’m Melissa, Tim’s wife, Isla’s Mommy. Hopefully we will meet on the 20th in Buffalo. Thank you so much for reaching out to Tim. I think this project is so necessary and such a wonderful way to honour Katie and Noah.

    As June 3oth, the anniversary of Isla’s death approaches, I have been feeling this mix of sadness and anxiety that seems to be growing with each passing day. And when I think of July 1st, her birthday, I have this desire to do something special to honour her and demonstrate our love for her, but I’m still not sure what to do. Nothing feels quite right. I think I will always feel this way in June from this point forward.

    Thank you for sharing Noah’s Birthday with us. Happy Birthday baby boy!

    • Melissa,

      Thank you for reaching out to me and the Birthday wishes for Noah. I look forward to meeting with the both of you on the 20th. We’ll work out the logistics, but you are on my schedule for the day. As far as reaching out to Tim, I feel its my responsibility to help whoever I can through this journey. I can be scary at times and it helps to have someone to talk to that “get’s it” on some level. I had many people reach out to me and I know how much of a gift that can be at times.

      You should find something special to celebrate Isla’s day. It is hard at first, but it also can give you something positive to focus on that day. Something to honor and remember her. It helps take away some of the pain and replace it with making her smile as she looks down at the both of you on that day. I have heard from so many that volunteer, release ballons, work at a homeless shelter, feed the hungry, etc. One year for my daughters anniversay we decided to sponsor a little 5 year old girl from Gautamaula through Compassion International. We will sponser her until she is 18 years old. Som many things to do to remember Isla. No matter what you choose, she will love it.


  • Ed Mann

    Happy Birthday, Noah. The greatest birthday gift of all is the love you receive from your family. Love transcends the barriers we recognize as life and death. Surely you feel your family’s love and the pure joy that comes with it.

    • Ed – Thank you so much for reaching out and wishing Happy Birthday to Noah. It means alot.