I couldn’t stop reading this one.  I received it from a grieving dad that lost his son to suicide over two years ago.  His words are haunting and captures the impacts childloss can have on a father.

Sunlight comes through the small window of an old camper shell that I now live beneath.  It sits on a pickup bed trailer I bought from a friend.  The sunlight wakes me. I am filled with a dread that sits in the pit of my stomach, but I am used to it.  The dread comes from knowing as I wake that the boy who filled my time, my heart, and my soul is no longer living on this earth, that he died a couple of years ago and I will never see him again.  I look outside at the snow-covered landscape and wonder what today will bring.  I am only curious, I do not really care.  It is very cold outside but I have a lot of blankets and I am warm inside the shell.  As I lie here thinking of all that is lost I begin to feel the morning tears starting.  I am used to this also.  I cry every morning and have for the last two years.  Every morning I remember him.  I remember all the days of his life, his smile, his laughter.  I remember him dying right in front of me.  I remember everything.  No amount of denial will take these dark memories away.  They have come to haunt me everyday since he left.  I am homeless now for it has become impossible for me to re-enter the “world”.

Two years ago I lived on a small horse ranch in Colorado where I raised my son Taylor.  I had a small but successful construction business and life was good.  I was not in debt.  Though my son was on his own, living with his girlfriend and young daughter, we saw each other often and played music together.  The future lay sprawled in front of us beckoning us toward more life and experiences.  We were very close.  I had raised him alone since he was five or so.  We were one thing.  When he was a teenager he used to say that our life was like one big party.  I agreed, for those years were the most filled with love and learning and fun.  We lived a good clean life filled with a million possibilities…but not this one.

On a beautiful warm autumn day in September 2007, after a terrible argument with his girlfriend, he took his young life.  This is as plain and simple as I can put it for now though the story is much more complicated.  Since that day I have traversed a long sad road and I have sunk very low.  Nightmares have taken the place of dreams.  My mind (no longer my own) makes things up as it goes along, making questionable decisions and failing in its quest for sanity.  The world has changed. I cannot for the life of me make it glitter again.  Life is as dead as I am.  I have forgotten my life, and my old life has forgotten me.  For this I am glad for I have nothing to say anymore.

I miss him.  God I miss him so much.  I find myself talking to him as if he were still here.  If someone saw me they would think me insanely lost.  Perhaps I am, but what the matter?  There is no rush to anywhere.  Everything is trivial and small.  Everything is very, very still.  The wind looks crooked and rough where once it was smooth and fierce and straight.  Somehow his loss sucked the very life out of the world and left it desolate and shapeless.  I was not done telling him stories.  I wasn’t done watching him grow up.  I wasn’t done learning from him for he taught me courage and sacrifice for it seemed to me that he was always paying a debt he didn’t owe.  I miss his face.  I miss his smile.  I miss his tender heart and fierce determination.

Spring will come soon.  I can tell because the ice looks different and I can’t explain that.  It is letting go to the sun and I am not ready for it.  I am not ready for the light and song of birds signaling that life is starting again.  I am so tired and no amount of hugs or love can comfort me in this darkness for the lowest places have found me.  I am forever lost in the shock of it and cannot find any place that looks the way it used to.  This place is all wrong now.  I cannot fit myself to it nor get anything to work like it used to.  The world has become trivial and all the people in it are ghosts.

Can this be more than grief?  Grief.  Such a small word.  It is an insult to the thing it describes.  I am told that I have a grief disorder.  A label for me.  I think that’s accurate.  I have a disordered reaction to a disordered event.  And how was I supposed to react?  Oh I lost my son…I’ll get another one.  Notice I did not say feel? Doctors are not interested in your feelings, they are interested in your reactions.  They don’t care that you are hurt deeply, as long as you “react” correctly.

Maybe people do “move on” shortly after the death of a loved one.  They go back to work, to parties, to achievement, to loving again.  But out there in the real world, where most people never look, there is a sea of bereaved parents that are not moving on, or coming around.  For me, nothing has changed.  The pain remains embedded in my chest.  I am sure that this will always be what I am left with.

I was a father.  I was Taylor’s father.  No matter what anyone tells me, I failed him.  I failed to protect him.  I failed to save him.  I was taught that this is what a man does, he protects his family.

I have all kinds of memories.  The bad ones I do my best to choke down and bury in forgetfulness but there is no forgetting.  They come uninvited and leave when they want.  They show up in the sad nightmares that haunt my deepest being.  The saving grace in all this is that I love him with all of my heart.  In the aftermath of his passing, that part never changed.

Submitted to GrievingDads.com Project by Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove.  Jody lives in a rural area in southern Colorado. 

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User Comments ( 108 )

  • Joe Q

    Hello boys and Happy Valentines Day. I hope you all are spending it with loved ones. The cold weather is finally starting to release its grip and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I have been telling some local guys about this site and have invited them to join in the conversation but none have taken me up on it yet.I hope you all are doing ok and since there havent been any posts in a while I hope you are all busy and doing well. Peace

  • Ed

    I meant Joe M. Alas, I’m an idiot. 🙂

  • Ed

    Thank you for the article, Joe Q.

    And welcome back, Jody. You have been missed.

    Strength ebbs and flows. Memories of love and family prevail.

  • First off I want to say hello Van. I’m sorry you’re here, but welcome.

    I also want to say hello to the rest of my brothers here. I pray for us all – often.

    Is it just my imagination, or does winter last longer than it used to?

    Here’s an interesting article I found. I’ll post something about it on my blog someday, but here is the link:
    http://www.thepostgame.com/features/201101/billy-donovans-secret-sorrow

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Brothermen,

    My deep apologies for being absent.
    It’s been cold.
    It’s been sad.
    And life goes on.
    Hope you are all facing it tall and straight. If not I hope you find some strength.
    I know it’s somewhere around here.

    Jody

  • Joe Quinlivan

    Sorry for the confusion Van, I am just a part of this site like all the other dads I was just the first one on when you came aboard so I was just welcoming you. Kelly is the reason we are all here and have a place to share our feelings and and fears. Now the holidays are over and the cold dark depressing days of winter are upon us lets all keep in contact and lift each other up. I know I look forward to hearing from you all even if it is to check in and say hello. Keep the faith, get through today. Peace JQ

  • Ed

    I’ve been thinking a lot about Jody lately. Where are you Jody?

  • Thanks, Kelly, and thank you, Ed. Yes, I am sad to be here and glad to be here…

    We live in such a dichotomous world, now, don’t we? The things which used to make us happy now make us sad because we can not share it with our child. The things which used to fulfill us are now nothing but emptiness. The burden we carry is so great that we no longer have the energy to invest in the burdens of others and simply want to slip away from social-ness and be alone.

    And here I am tonight, on the 5th anniversary of my son’s sudden passing, sitting alone in a hotel room in Canada instead of posted at his gravesite which is where I always am on this day each year. But the project I am working on up here needs to get done and doesn’t slow down for a day which holds such meaning to me. So off to work I went this morning and stayed so busy that I really had no time to process the meaning of the day.

    Which is really strange, because usually I am a basket-case on this day. But perhaps this was fate’s providential exercise to help in my healing process…a little distraction at the right moment can prevent the fountain of grief from spouting, perhaps.

    But we all know that it will come out soon enough…who am I kidding. Like Jody said in the initial words of this post, grief comes and then leaves when it wants to. How profoundly spoken.

    I am sorry that each of you all know the power of the relentless grief. But as I said before, it happens because the only thing greater than your river of sorrow is the ocean of your love for your child. Another dichotomy.

    So thank you to the site builder and the site contributors for co-creating a place where those of us pushed into the canyon can travel together. It’s the Canyon Club, I guess. (no girlz allowd). 🙂

  • Ed Mann

    Indeed, a warm welcome to you, Van. We are the club no one wants to belong to. But alas, we are together.

  • Kelly,

    Thank you for the welcome…but now I’m confused…is this your site? If it is I apologize for not paying closer attention to who the moderator was. And the more I look, the more it looks like it is your site…so please accept my apologies and apply all those nice things I said about the site to yourself, as I was thinking that it was Joe’s site.

    But I’m not sure that you want me to send you anything that I would like posted on the blog…I am thinking that you might want to position yourself to be ready to shut me up instead of encouraging me to contribute! (LOL).

    Kidding aside, yes, there are some things I would like to say to encourage the sorrowed fathers on this very special site. So, thank you for the invitation for me to feel free to contribute. I shall.

    • Van – No worries, I am just happy you found us here. Of course you can send me anything you have that you would like me to post as a seprate article/posting. Feel free to comment on all or any of the other article comment/threads.

      Peace.

      Kelly

  • Joe, thank you for the welcome. You have a unique site here that meets some real needs which there generally is no other specific platform for. I feel fortunate to have landed here.

    Of course all of us who land here are on the same trail in the same canyon, or we wouldn’t have ended up here. It not only is a nice feeling knowing that we are each not alone, it is a refreshing venue to be able to express and, therefore, share our sorrow with one another.

    Oh, how I wish none of us were on this site. But fate and circumstance has led us all into a terrible place to be. And here we all are, dad’s who never dreamed that our beautiful child would pass on before we did. Suffering and sorrowful fathers. I look forward to hearing what others have to say. I also look forward to offering insight from one who has been on this trail of sadness for five years (in two days it will be five years.)

    Above, I read how some had heard that the second year is worse than the first. This was not true for me. I started to come out of the fog after about two years, and from my experience, the first is the worst, and it does not get harder than that. Perhaps that can be of some comfort to the dads who are soon to be facing year two or three.

    I did indeed hear from Jody and have sent him a book.

    But also I wrote some helpful words for him that I think apply to all of us. I would like to share those words on here, but do not want to make this single post a long one, so will wait for a few days.

    So thank you for your site and the good that is coming out of it. We may be beaten down, but we are not alone.

    -Van

    • Kelly Farley

      Van,

      Thank your for visiting this blog and for reaching out to others on here. Your willingness to “participate” in these discussions helps not only you, but the many men who visit here each day. I am always looking for writings that I can post on this blog that can provide insight into what grieving dads deal with, so if you would like, feel free to send me anything you would like posted on this blog.

      I thank you for being here but I am sorry that you have a reason to be here.

      Peace.

      Kelly Farley Kelly@GrievingDads.com

  • Joe Quinlivan

    Welcome Van it is great to have you in our group. We all do have the same feelings and this is a great place to pour them out to those who truly understand how you feel.Have not heard from Jody in a while hope he is doing ok. If you are reading this Jody please drop a few words on here to let us know how you are brotherman. Remember you are not alone in the dark,your brothers are here to help. Peace JQ

  • Holy smokes, what did stumble on to? A pool of dad’s who have lost a child and are expressing their feelings about this terrible loss? How unusual. How wonderful.

    Jody, thank you for sharing your raw emotions. It seems that others on this post are familiar with your virtually indescribable experiences.

    They also are quite familiar to me.

    You are so right in the descriptions of the feelings you have shared. You also are not alone.

    This week is the toughest of them all for me. Father’s Days are bad. My son’s birthdays are bad. Thanks giving is bad. Christmas is terrible. But this week will host the day that my son, too, left this planet. It will now be five years.

    I, too cried every day for two years…or more. I still do. I, too talked out loud to my son, and I still do every day. I, too know how the sorrow splinters you from the ‘world’ and everyone in it. I spend as much time as I can in the woods alone with my dogs.

    ‘Disorder’?? how about crushed heart. How about, ‘the biggest part of me is the hole in my soul’? It is not a disorder, Jody, it is evidence that the only thing bigger than your sorrow, is your love for your son. And that is just as it should be.

    Thank you for providing your moving descriptions.

    Very early on in my own plunge into our canyon of despair, I started asking big questions and started learning big answers. So, like you, I began to write them down so I wouldn’t forget them.

    Eventually I realized that what I was learning might possibly be helpful to other parents in our situation. So I developed the ideas into sentences, the sentences into paragraphs and the paragraphs into chapters. Eventually I had a book. It is called, You Won’t Cry Forever, Visions of Hope and Perspective for Those Who Have Lost a Child.

    Rather than recite the entire book here, please let me ask you one question: what is harder to believe, that life exists on a spiritual level after our bodies die, or that life exists at all? If you are like me, the answer is obvious. If there can be life at all, it is a very short step to believe that our boys do indeed exist in the next realm.

    My biggest need after I found my son on my living room floor……………………. was HOPE that I would see him again.

    I am convinced that I will. My book describes not only my feelings, and your feelings, but it also goes to great lengths to provide evidence that it really is not over.

    Check my website out. Get my full name from there. Then email your address to me at van.(lastname)@hotmail.com and I will gladly send you a copy. Though it is available on Amazon and is ending up in unfortunate parents’ hands, that is, parents who have also lost a child, I would really enjoy giving you a copy. You will see your own feelings in the book just as I have seen mine in your writings above.

    And I very sincerely believe that it will encourage you and give your suffering heart hope and some comfort.

    I’m sorry we had to meet like this. But It’s 3 am and I can’t sleep because of what this week means…and I somehow ended up on this site.

    It’s not over, Jody. Of that I am certain.

  • Joe Quinlivan

    The holidays have past and we all made it through. This time of year is so difficult so I hope you all surrounded yourselves with those you love and thought of the wonderful times you did get with those we have lost. I still remember the first Christmas after Jimmy died like it was yesterday. My whole family came to my house(about thirty) and we smiled and laughed (and drank) and although our hearts were heavy we lifted each other up and they helped me survive the time. I can still recall all the boys together in the one room and they left a spot open on the couch. For me that was Jimmys spot and he was there that night in spirit and remaines with all of us not only at Christmas but throughout the year. For those of you suffering through you first Christmas my heart and prayers go out to you. God bless you all and your families this time of year and always lean on those you love and your new brothers for help. Peace Joe Q

  • Ed Mann

    Hi All,

    It’s good to hear from you guys.

    Joe Mudd, I recently had someone tell me the second year can be harder than the first. But who knows… The one thing I can say for sure: I’m learning a lot about myself as I continue down this journey. Actually, in more ways than I can put into words at this point.

    Joe Q, I didn’t realize you are in Buffalo. Joey’s mom is from Buffalo. She has taken the boys there and I have visited a few times myself. Joey developed a close friend that is still there. He was devasted when he found out Joey died. I still think of him from time to time.

    How are you doing, Jody? I was in NM this week and got hit by a snow storm there yesterday. I’m wondering if you were hit by the same storm. I took the drive from Las Cruces up to Albuquerque very slow. And now I’m back in SoCal where it is raining.

    Kelly, Joe M makes a good point about on-line publishing. Getting a grass roots following will definitely get the attention of a publishing house. I know for sure you will get plenty of help from this crowd. That goes for you, too, Jody.

    We are a band of brothers. – Ed

  • Joe Quinlivan

    Hello my friends, Glad to see posts from all boys. Speaking of weather the last few weeks have been brutal in the Buff. The thought of So Cal does sound good. Heading out to drive my daughter to practice now will check back in soon. Keep the communication flowing we all need it this time of year especially, Peace JQ

  • Hi to all.

    Ed I agree about the anniversary being amazingly tough. Really it was the weeks leading up to it that were the hardest. I could just feel the tension building. We’ve had one so far, and two birthdays. Coming up on our second Christmas without Richard. I can’t say the second time around is any easier. It’s different, but not really better.

    Kelly I can’t offer any help on the literary agent or getting published. Unless it’s publishing online, I could help with that, but you’ve got that covered already. There have been authors that published their books online as they wrote them. Some of them attracted publishers/agents by doing that, and got the book deal as a result.

    Oh, by the way Kelly, I have a comment that is waiting for moderation from back in mid Nov. I put a couple of links in it and that upset the system I think.

    Peace to you all.

    Oh

  • Ed Mann

    Hi Kelly,

    Indeed, getting a literary agent is quite a test. Getting one is difficult, but getting a good one is even more difficult. It is a numbers game, and always a matter of revisiting the materials used to get their attention. They’re looking for long-term potential and often lack imagination. But I found something someone told me years ago to be inspirational: “They only difference between a published writer and one who isn’t published is that one gave up before the other.” Don’t let the numbers get you down! It WILL happen. 🙂

    I hope you got through the anniversary of Katy’s death without too much difficulty. Though I’ve only been through one, I was taken back by how hard it was. I thought I was prepared. But realized that instead of being prepared I was just trying my best not to think about it. Anniversary’s loom before us like huge toll booths in our lives. No way around them…

    I heard about the bad weather hitting the Midwest. Yesterday I heard from a friend in Iowa that was stuck in the airport all day trying to get a flight to Tennessee. I’m in Albuquerque this week and it is quite pleasant. SoCal has been good for weather so come on out! – Ed

  • Ed – Good to hear from you. I have been very busy traveling and trying to get a literary agent to take this project seriously. I know you are a writer and you understand the whole “numbers” game when it comes to building a “platform”.

    Early November was a little rough since it was the 6th anniversary of the death of my daughter Katie. The work I am doing with this project helps refocus my pain to help others in some small way.

    The weather here in Chicago has been terrible for the last couple of weeks. High of 8 degrees the last couple of mornings. I need some of that So. CA sunshine.

    Thanks for stopping by and checking in with the guys. I will be thinking about all of you as the Holiday Season approaches.

    Kelly Farley

    • Hi Kelly,
      I’ve been reading a book titled “Hot to Write & Sell Simple Information For Fun and Profit” my Robert W. Bly. Yeah, I know, what a title! Bob Bly has 70 books published so far. I came to know of him because of my interest in web marketing and copywriting.

      This book covers most areas of writing and publishing… including books. There is a really good chapter on getting your book published including his very successful 8 step process.

      You might find it interesting. I got it from Amazon, it was just over $11 including the sales tax.

      • That should have said “by Robert W. Bly”; I have no ownership of him at all. Oops.

      • Joe,

        Thanks for the information. I’ll take a look at it. I refuse to give up, I will find someone that finds this project as important as it is for grieving dads.

        I am working a something that I will unvail in the next couple of weeks that will help me build a platform that they seek. It will be an on-line petition so I will keep everyone informed so you can sign if you feel its something that needs to be addressed. I am excited about it and what we can accomplish. Stay tuned.

        Peace.

        Kelly

    • Hi Kelly – just one more item about getting the book published.

      I found this one in your blogroll, so maybe you’ve already seen it:
      http://www.stirrup-queens.com/2010/05/diy-mfa-before-we-even-get-started-part-one/

      That’s the first post in an entire series about how to get published.

  • Ed Mann

    Just checking in to see how my brothers are doing… Haven’t heard from anyone for a while and hope all is well.

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Indians as a rule do not celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a black day in our history having allowed foreigners here, not knowing their sheer numbers and the extent of the greed of their leaders.
    But I am thankful to the Great Spirit for the great men and women who grew up here and tried (and continue to try) to give our people hope and preservation of our dignity.
    And I am grateful for you guys and for my son Taylor who loved me so much back then, and whose footprints have now faded.

    Jody

  • It was a nice Thanksgiving with the family. We have several nieces that were around Richard’s age. They’re all good kids. He shared an apartment with a couple of them for a school year. I always enjoy their lively teasing and good nature. And yes, I really missed having Richard joining in the fun, and dishing out lots of good natured insults. They had a great time together and one of the cousins took Richard’s passing pretty hard.

    Joe Q and all my other brothers here, have a good holiday season, try to remember the good things of the past, and may we all find some kind of peace.

  • Joe Quinlivan

    Winding down after along day with the family. Always something misssing on these holidays and we all know what it is. I try to be thankful for all I do have, great friends and family and people that love me. I am thankful for that and for that which I once had. The void is always there but Jimmy is always with me. Thanks to all of my new brothers and I have you all in my thoughts today. Peace JQ

  • Ed Mann

    Thanks, Jody. Joey’s mom told me that she had one dream in which she felt she was actually being lifted off the bed. When she awoke she felt certain it was a communication from him and said she was glowing for the rest of the day. I wish I could have that kind of dream…

    I am going to a psychic tonight with Joey’s mom. She is supposed to be very talented so I’m anxious to know what will come of it. I know you and I discussed the topic ealier this year so I thought you’d be interested to know.

    Take care. – Ed

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Ed,
    My dreams are like that in a way. I see him and he’s very quiet and withdrawn,
    When I try to reach out to him he disappears and I am left searching for him to no avail.
    I have never had a dream that left me feeling good.
    I don’t remember my dreams much anymore. Don’t want to. Don’t know what’s in there and don’t care anymore.
    Thanks for the encouragement.

    Jody

  • @ Ed – It’s been a year and a half now since Richard left this world. I’ve seen him in a dream twice. It surprises me how few times I’ve dreamed of him. The first time was the most intense dream I’ve ever had. The second was more like watching him play some sort of sports, but I knew he was dead, and this was just a dream. It was still nice to see though.

    I don’t have much hope that time will make it better. We were told the second year is harder than the first – which was certainly a terrifying thought. I don’t know if it’s been harder, but certainly not easier either.

    A lady named Tina just left a comment on my blog. She’s 7 years down the grief path after her son died in a car crash. She seems to still be in total despair and begging for help. I have no idea what to say to her. (If any of you have some thoughts for her you can find her comment at the bottom of this page.)

    I think we just learn to wall off the pain. It’s like a dormant volcano that ‘s just sitting there. It smokes and simmers – you never forget it’s there. You can still feel it’s heat. And sometimes, you don’t know when, but sometimes it just erupts.

    I hope that Tina is just having one of those bad days when an eruption is going on, and she’ll feel better in a week or so.

    We’ve also met a couple that lost their daughter at birth. They were weeping when they talked about her. She died more than 20 years ago.

    So I think the healing power of time is greatly overrated – at least for grieving parents.

    We just learn to cope.

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Thank you Joe,

    And to let everyone know, I am close to finishing the book. I think I can
    be done by early spring. I am glad for winter, We’ve already got down
    to six degrees. My best writing time. E-mail me, I will send you some parts.

    Strength and Honor,

    Jody

    • Ed Mann

      I LOVE knowing when someone posts. I wish I would have seen that “Notify” button long before.

      I want to congratulate you, Jody, on your progress with the book. I know what a huge accomplishment it is. My first book (fiction) took me seven years to write. I’d love to read excerpts. Keep writing!

      Someone here mentioned how the ups and downs come with time. That is so true. I still have the silly notion that with more time things will get easier. It’s been 15 months now and I sometimes get pulled back.

      I’ve had a series of dreams lately. It’s always the same kind of dream – that he’s alive and I’m looking forward to seeing him. Then, in the dream, I realize he’s really gone. I wake up feeling like shit. Anyway, I’m getting pretty good at shaking it off and always find time later in the day to conjur up some positive memories.

      Do any of you guys have the same kind of dream?

      I hope this finds you all doing well. – Ed

  • Hi Guys,

    I just wanted to let you know I’m still out here too. Though I don’t post much, I think of you guys often.

    Part of my coping process is a weekly trip to our old church to spend time in thought and prayer. I almost always light a few candles. I’ve got the prayer that Jody gave us above (Aug 31) printed out and I say it after I light the candle. I pray that we will all get understanding and peace.

    By the way Jody, Aug 31 the day you posted that, is Richard’s birthday – so thanks for that.

    I know the upcoming holiday season will be hard for us all, but I can only hope for the best.

    Hang in there.

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Thanks Ed,

    I’m still standing. Joe Q has been standing watch I think. I do my best to come
    in every three days. Sometimes everyday. I have so many questions to ask everyone.
    You guys have my permission to get my e-mail from Kelly. I really would like to get together some day…cabin somewhere with a fireplace and get to know one another.
    Thanks again Ed.

    Jody

  • Ed Mann

    Hi Brothers,

    Sorry I’ve been away.

    I wished I could have been more support during October, Jody. I was gobbled up by work and travel. I need to set up this blog so that I’m aware of updates. Until now, I have to go to the site and look around for the link.

    I hope you are all well. – Ed

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Joe,
    Thank you so much for remembering Taylor’s “night”.
    Worked hard all day just trying to stay focused and holding back the flood. But it finally came around six. Fifteen years of making costumes,painting faces, walking the blocks.
    Hard to say much right now.
    You did a good thing letting your daughter wear Jimmy’s hockey gear. He is happy about that I think. I would be.
    Thanks again for being there for me. Means a lot.

    Jody

  • Joe Quinlivan

    Jody, know today was hard hope you made it through ok. My 9 year old daughter went out as a hockey player, she wore Jimmys jersey and helmet it was bittersweet. I told her there is no one else in the world that I would allow to wear his gear. Hope you reflected on some great memories with your boy today. Peace JQ

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Joe,

    Thank you much brotherman.

    Jody

  • Joe Quinlivan

    Hey Jody, Seems like just you and me lately but those guys are probably busy,hopefully. Lets send a good thought their way and hope they rejoin the conversation soon.I have been to Colorado a few times and it is one of the the most beautiful places I have ever been.Since that is where Jimmy died I will not be back.Cant face the memories. I do remember when he was little and needed me for everything. Those memories are the ones I hold onto and sustain me. I will keep you in mind on Halloween and know that Taylor is still with you and his spirit watches over you always. Hang tough brother.

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Where is everyone? Are you guys OK?

    Jody

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Ah,Joe, I needed that.
    Can’t tell you what it means to have those that know, reach out and call you friend.
    Thanks Joe.
    Winter is not gloomy here in Colorado. It is beautiful. In that I am fortunate. I live at the base of the Rockies…Aspens all yellow and red, mountains all the way to the stars. It is a sad season but only because it is bittersweet with the memories of sledding with my little boy and then a young teen out shredding on his snowboard. Remember being a new daddy? Remember being the one who held their balance?
    The kids (his friends) have scattered. Life goes on for them. I am glad for it. They need to spread their wings. But his best friend remains close to me. He calls every week but I don’t get to see him too much. But he is extremely loyal to my son’s memory. I will ask him to share Taylor’s birthday with me. And Halloween. Taylor didn’t want Christmases. He wanted Halloweens.
    I am exactly the same in regards to loving others. I am more sensitive to others in need now but I do not get close. I remain isolated out here. Just can’t take losing another person.

    Jody

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Ah,Joe, I needed that.
    Can’t tell you what it means to have those that know, reach out and call you friend.
    Thanks Joe.
    Winter is not gloomy here in Colorado. It is beautiful. In that I am fortunate. I live at the base of the Rockies…Aspens all yellow and red, mountains all the way to the stars. It is a sad season but only because it is bittersweet with the memories of sledding with my little boy and then a young teen out shredding on his snowboard. Remember being a new daddy? Remember being the one who held their balance?
    The kids (his friends) have scattered. Life goes on for them. I am glad for it. They need to spread their wings. But his best friend remains close to me. He calls every week but I don’t get to see him too much. But he is extremely loyal to my son’s memory. I will ask him to share Taylor’s birthday with me. And Halloween. Taylor didn’t want Christmases. He wanted Halloweens.
    I am exactly the same in regards to loving others. I am more sensetive to others in need now but I do not get close. I remain isolated out here. Just can’t take losing another person.

    Jody

  • Joe Quinlivan

    Winter looms: I am with you too on the winter being harder. Try a winter in Buffalo for gloomy.I think as I move along this road I am finding it harder to love people. It is easy with my girls beacause they are a part of me but I find I dont care what other people think of me. It used to bother me what coworkers or people in general thought of me. Lately I couldnt care less. I have said before the only emotions I still feel strongly are sadness and anger. Jody your words and spirit are powerful. You may feel that you have lost friends but you have gained one in me. I am sure the other guys feel that way too. Do any of you keep in contact with your sons friends? I have found that talking to them on a regular basis and staying involved in their lives helps me keep Jimmy involved in their lives as well. I know that is difficult to do as sadness and jelousy creep in when you see what could have been, but doing some of the things I would have done with my son with his boys means alot to me and I know it helps them as well. Get through today. Peace JQ

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    The pain:
    It comes and goes, but when it comes, it comes to stay, and I must fight with all of my heart to separate it from the love I feel for him. I don’t want the pain to associate with the love. It comes at all times of the day and has throughout all the weeks,months and now years that have passed. I hold in what I can at work but often I excuse myself and go somewhere and cry. Sometimes I fold up so tight that my boss sends me home. You would think that after three years I would have more control, but I don’t. This shadow is dark and it saddens me. I am so tired of looking at at the ground, tired of losing friends, tired of seeing clearly all around me and still feeling lost.

    Jody

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Strength and Honor brothers,

    Anniversary was a week and a half of…you know.
    Birthday on it’s way so I’m sandbagging the bogeyman
    out. He’ll get in but I’m not making it easy for him.
    Yes Kelly, winters are the saddest for me. My son and
    I did more in the winter than any other time. It was
    his time as well as mine. I love him. Sometime I just
    can’t stop crying.

    Jody

  • Hey guys, just checking in. I am gald to hear that this site has created a forum for you guys to be able to support one another. There is no reason anyone has to do this alone. Even though there are days when you feel like you are the only ones that understand. The blog has been growing over the last several months and September brought over 1600 people to the site. It just goes to show that a lot of guys are looking for support and others that are hurting. The project has reached so many grieving dads. Hopefully it provides a bit of relief/peace, even if it just for a moment.

    Joe Q – As far as the phone call, I am glad I was able to see your posting so quick. I know what its like to have those moments when you need to vent or talk about the stuff running through you head. You were having a tough couple of days with Jimmys anniverary and the loss of your friends child brigns back a lot of emotion. I get it.

    Ed – You are welcome. It is my pleasure to be able to help in some way.

    Jody – Are you doing a little better with the anniversary week behind you? I know the change in weather always impacts me. Not sure if you guys read it, but I posted an article I wrote last week about “Change in Seasons”. Not all of us are as lucky as Ed with all of the warm sunshine around us year around. I have about 6 months of gray clouds in front of me here in Chicago. Winter always is hard on me.

    Take care guys and feel free to write to me or call me anytime if you need to talk.

    Peace.

    Kelly

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Joe,

    Good to have you back. Hope all is well with everyone.
    Winter is around the corner here in southern Colorado.
    How is where you guys are?

  • Joe Quinlivan

    Hey boys been off line for a while. Just read all the latest posts totally agree how helpful this site is for all of us. Jody keep breathing keep limping and always lean on your friends and brothers for help. We are far apart from each other but I really feel the closeness. Anger with God is natural and he understands and forgives all of us during those times of great sorrow. During my time of difficulty back on Jimmys anniversary(I like to type his name) I put a post on this site and my phone rang within five minutes and it was Kelly checking to see if I was ok. That meant alot to me and showed that this project is real as is the commitment of this new friend to all of us. Thanks again Kelly I hope I can repay that kindness to you or another brother down the line. Peace

  • Ed

    This is definitely a brotherhood and it would be great to meet some day. I’m sure we can make it happen. And yes, thanks goes to Kelly for bringing us together. I have both learned much from you guys but also have sought refuge in your words and brotherhood.

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Joe & Ed,

    Thanks so much brothers for your kind words. My heart is still sore but it really feels good to hear from you. It feels good knowing that you know what I’m going through. It feels good to have brothers. Perhaps someday we can all meet somewhere and spend time together.
    And thanks Kelly for bringing this little band together.

    Jody

  • Jody,
    I’m sorry you’ve been having a hard time. There are just so many stumbling blocks on this path we’re traveling. So many questions, so few answers. I’m praying for you. I printed out the prayer you shared with us and read it often. I think of you then, as well as Richard.

    Blessing to you, and to all of you brothers in grief.

  • Ed

    I know what you mean, Jody. I look back at my anniversary week, which is my first, (and even the weeks leading up to it) and you put it perfectly – it wasn’t pretty. I’m glad you’re on this side of it now.

    I finished Good Grief and felt it was helpful. Still enjoyed Testimony of Light more though. I have some of Jody’s books on the way and look forward to reading them.

    We muddle on. My best to all of you.

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Ed,
    Thanks for checking in. Just came off the “anniversary” week. Not pretty but
    we are all used to that…sort of…maybe not…no, definitely not. Couldn’t walk,
    couldn’t run, so I just let it take me down again. Called god a few choice words I’m sure it has heard before and my good friend Jasper Daniel came to the rescue.
    I am limping but breathing.

  • Ed

    Hi Guys,

    I hope you’re all doing well. I’m okay on this end, but wondering how all of yo are doing.

  • Joe Quinlivan

    Hello boys thanks for all the kind words and support.I was really down that night and was sitting on the deck looking at the stars and the words just flowed on here. Much better lately, knew I could count on my brothers to pick me up.I read some books also early on but havent done so lately. Please include me on the list exchange of the ones you guys recomend. Glad August is over. You are all in my prayers and feel free to lean on the rest of us the same way. Like the song says”he aint heavy hes my brother” Peace

  • Jody – I’d like to see your list too. My little pile of books pales in comparison to your reading list. – Thanks, Joe.

  • Ed

    Thanks, Jody. I will do that. I’m very interested in seeing the list.

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Ed,
    I know it sounds like an exaggeration but I have now read at 350 books on this subject.
    There is a lot of information concerning research, clinical trails, etc dating from the 1800s to today. There are many scientists, doctors and other researchers involved in this study. I have no doubt as to the existence of life after death. One spirit called the two worlds “The world of the so-called living and the world of the certainly not dead”.
    Ask Kelly for my e-mail and I will send you a good list. It will keep you from spending money on book that don’t really say much.

    Jody

  • Ed Mann

    Coming back to this blog is like coming back to the well and I missed this thread a great deal. I may never meet you guys in person, but I truly feel connected to you. I gain from your perspectives and prayers and thank you all so very much.

    I’m so sorry, Joe Q, that I didn’t tune in until now. I have often pondered that same question: are we being punished or tested? I think Jody and Joe M are right on the money. Indeed, maybe we are meant to take this experience and help others in some way.

    I made it through August and am so glad to hear that you guys are still here. I’ve done some reading lately and want to share: The Suicide Survivor’s Guide was excellent. I also read Testimony of Light- it is a fascinating account of life after death. I’m in the middle of a book entitled Good Grief.

    I thought of you guys often while reading Testimony of Light. I think it was the crutch I needed to make it through August. I passed it on to Joey’s mom to read, but hope you guys will take the time to read it. The message is essentially this: we are all eternal beings.

    Have any of you read these? Do you have some books that you recommend?

    I apoligize for the absence. Please let me know how you’re doing.

  • Jody – thanks for sharing your prayer with us. I plan on using it often.

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    For Those of Us Who Have Lost Sons and Daughters

    Great Spirit, hear our feeble voices, shaken and drenched in sorrow, for we have lost our beautiful sons. We have searched for them in the light and in the darkness and we have searched all the roads that lead away from our hearts but they are gone from us and we are shaken and afraid. We will give them back unto you as freely as you did give them to us, but with heavy hearts and weakened soul. Please take care of their young spirits. Wrap them in your great wings and nourish them with your great heart and comfort them that we may also be comforted. Be with them and tell them of our love and ask them to please wait for us for we too will soon be grass and trees and earth and sea and we will soon come home. For now, they have passed this earthly place of towering mountains and relentless winds and we pray for the strength to remember always that they have not gone so far from us, for they are with you and shall remain so forever. We know that nothing can truly separate us because it was you that brought us together, fathers and sons. We send up our smoke and prayers to thank you for this. There is no great power other than you. In the smoke we send, we will surrender our pain and terrible grief to you that you may know it. Please watch over them Father and watch over us for we are alone now.

    Jody

  • Joe Q – you asked if we are being punished. I don’t think this is how God would punish us. Too much colateral damage. It would be like using a carpet bomb to get one person. There are so many other people that are hurt by this besides just us.

    So no I don’t think it’s punishment.

    In one of the books I read by the medium George Anderson it says we are all on different levels of spiritual learning. Parents that lose children are in the PhD level of learning. Advanced stuff.

    I just know it’s all made me realize how very little I know about life and what it’s all about.

    I just try to remember all the good times and smile. That’s a double edged sword of course, because remembering the good times makes us realize how much we miss them. I know Richard was a great blessing. I try to keep that in mind. I don’t always do it well, but that’s what I aim for.

    Hang in there brother.

  • Jody thanks for the thoughts. I keep you in my prayers as well as all of my other brothers here.

    Joe Q I know this is a tough time for you. I think all that time around “the anniversary” was very tense. Having to face it all again through your friend has to make it even harder. It’s good for his family to have you.

    Today is Richard’s birthday. Just got back from church and the cemetery.

    There are a couple of guys at work born today as well, so I’m taking cake and ice cream to work today. Buying a birthday cake and ice cream on this day is a hard habit to break I guess.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you guys.

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Dear Joe,

    I am sorry you had to bear all that alone last night. I am not sure why we have to go through all this. I am sure we are not being punished but it sure seems like it.
    Men in our place seem to have death all around us. The ladies too. Perhaps we are
    preping to help others…I don’t know how to help others except to say to hang on or let go.
    I know you hurt brother-man. I know you are lost again. I am here. The others will be here soon. Just take it…like you have been. Just keep standing up. We must do this for our kids. That’s all I know.

    Jody

  • Joe Quinlivan

    Thanks for the kind words Jody. Friend lost their 23 year old son to an overdose Friday Jimmys anniversary was Saturday Wake Sunday Funeral today. Comepletely drained leaning on Corona to ease the pain. Bad idea but it helps sometime.Why is it that after this happens to us it seems to happen more often to those we know. Is God putting this in our path to test us or change us. I have to believe we are chosen to light the way for other fathers to help them in their journey.But why us? Are we being selected or punished?Really bummin tonight need my brothers to carry me. Peace to you all tonight, I will have you all n my prayers. JQ

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Dear Joe Q, Joe M. and Ed,

    I know the enemy ghost lurks close by on these dark and terrible days. You men will reach that place where the mind wants to shut off and the heart doesn’t want to hear about it anymore. August…terrible days. Sad days.
    The sun will continue to shine. People will pass by you unaware that you may be cut down at any moment and you will fall to your knees. The things your heart will ask for will more than likely not arrive and when the storm has passed you will wonder how and why you are still standing.
    I hope that you stay standing…but if you don’t, there is no shame in it.
    I will sing for you in the sweat lodge.

    Jody

  • Joe Quinlivan

    The silence is deafening. No posts in a while wondering how everybody is doing. Got through Jimmys birthday again and I am dreding the 28th. Somehow his birthday gives me less trouble these days.

    • Joe,

      I have been thinking about you, Ed and Joe M. this month. All of you have some very difficult days this month. From birthdays to anniversays. All of these days trigger emotions. I have found that the anticipation leading up to these days is always worse for me than the actual day. Not sure why, I guess I run it through my mind so much leading up to it that maybe I have already processed alot of it before the actual day.

      I could sit here all day and analyize why some days are harder than others. Who knows. I find that when I become tired (mentally and physically) my defenses come down and emotions start to creep in. I notice that when I exercise really hard to the point of exhaustion I feel like I want to cry and my mind goes right to the losses. It amazing how much strength/energy it takes just to function. Not sure if it gets better with time or I have found a way to cope with it.

      As far as the second year becoming harder, I agree with that. My first year was spent fighting it off while traveling in a fog. The second year is when the fog starts to lift and the intense pain and reality of the events set in. I remember telling my counselor that “it’s been 12 months, why am I not feeling better. All of the books say 12 months”. I guess I was nieve enough to think it would just go away after 12 months.

      Hang in there guys. We can continue to pull from each others strength. Feel free to vent here anytime or pcik up the phone and call me if you are having a tough day and just need to talk to someone.

  • Ed Mann

    Thanks, Joe Q. I’m divorced from Joey’s mom but we have learned to lean on one another. But what you said about the spouse rings true. In fact, John Walsh from America’s Most Wanted said the same thing last night. He was in his pain and his wife was in her own world. But the goal of forming a network to help children brought them back together.

  • Ed Mann

    How ironic… August is our month as well. My birthday is August 7th. Joey hung himself on August 19th and was officially pronounced dead on August 24th. This next month will mark the one year anniversary. His mom and I talk about it on occasion, but mostly try not to. It’s like waiting for a bomb to go off. She just keeps telling me I need to make sure I don’t have a biz trip out of town.

    I read my post above and have to admit I am not sure if I really relate to it at this point in time. I went flying with a business associate last week and really hoped the plane would go down. I now realize the seesaw I’m riding. A big part of me can’t justify living. Another part of me wants to be there for my other two boys. But then I asked myself why I wished I could exit. Part of the answer is the sadness of what’s been lost, but another part of it is this constant fear that something will happen to one of my other two boys. I can’t stand the constant worry.

    John Walsh from America’s Most Wanted was the keynote speaker for a function my company hosted tonight. I had to admit that he gave me a degree of encouragement because he found a way to take the anger and pain and turn it into something positive. He told the darker side that we’d probably never hear in the media. But then again it just dredged up all the same old feelings associated with losing a child.

    I guess I don’t know what to think anymore.

    • Joe Quinlivan

      Joe you really sound as though you are leaning on your faith to get you through which is great.We all need to find something to lean on whether it be God, friends family or whatever.Ed those thoughts of dying to make the pain go away are natural and real.You guys really have to know that you are in the first steps of a marathon process that will take you years to complete. The most ironic part I think is that your spouse may not be much help to you during this time because they are dealing with their own grief. I had it described to me once as you feel like you are drowning and you wife is drowning just out of your reach and as much as you want to save each other you must save yourself first.Ed, I have two little girls that if it werent for I dont know if I would have made it through. Pour all that emotion and love that you have inyour heart saved up for Joey he would want his brothers to have it. Trying not to be preachy here but I know where you giuys are and reading your posts brings back alot of emotions for me. Lets keep in touch and we will fight through August together. Hope Jody is well and hope to hear from him soon. Always in my prayers brothers.

  • Joe Q,
    We faced our first month of anniversaries in May/June. I know how you feel about Aug.
    That month was very edgy. Richard’s birthday is Aug. 31, I’ll be thinking of you then too.

    I’ll be praying for you. Our parish has two church buildings – a new one and one built in the mid-1800’s – now called “The Chapel”. I spend Wednesday mornings in The Chapel. It’s peaceful in there – a good place for praying and meditating and thinking. I light a candle for all of us on this path, asking for wisdom and peace.

    We went to a Compassionate Friends conference in March. The keynote speaker told us the second year was the hardest. She said we are “frozen” during that first year, but we thaw out by the second, so we really feel the pain then.

    This has certainly been a summer of thawing.

  • Joe Quinlivan

    Jimmys birthday is August 5th and his anniversary is the 28th. I hate August.You guys are really in the depths of the darkest and worst days.I remember the first year being a blur and being in a fog most of the time. It was the second year that really was difficult fot me. I dont know if its because the reality starts to sink in and you have to really face it or that the pain has taken hold and intensifies.I get the escape that drinking provides, beer became by best friend. But that temporary relief doesnt last and then you are depressed with a hangover.

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    I think that the pervasive thoughts that flow in and out of us after this has happened are filled with a despair so rich in pain that we cannot see the future other than an empty one. So we just don’t care one way ot the other about anything. Yes, everything becomes trivial. You become “invisible”. (nicely put)
    I have never smoked cigarettes or drank much but I am up there with the best now. You wouldn’t want to watch me eat. I don’t care what it is. I don’t even clean the plates anymore until the look of them annoy me.
    So yes…we enter a strange stage of sort of “giving up”. Nothing answers our questions and at some point we don’t even know what questions to ask. You just end up wandering. I know I do. And I wait. And wait.

  • Ed Mann

    First off, I apologize for the duplicate, partial posting above. Not quite sure what happened to make a portion of what I wrote come out separately. I think I was writing and editing and must have done something wrong.

    I understand completely what you’re saying about having the computer running the four programs, Joe M. Joey’s mom has kept his cell phone number active. Every once in a while I call to hear his greeting. Some of his friends do the same and leave him a message even to this day. It’s a way of preserving what used to be normal, everyday life. If you were to receive the answer to that question from a mediuam, you most certainly would have found a good one!

    I can also relate to what you said, Joe Q, about the dream. I have had very few of them with Joey and I long for them. I’d hoped they would come in time. The one you describe above gave me chills. I have had a few – the first of which really bothered me. I came across Joey digging a regtangular shape in the earth, yes, the shape of a grave. But in the dream that’s not what it was. I only remember telling him what a good job he was doing at digging such a perfect shape… He didn’t speak in the dream, only kept digging.

    And I think what you said, Kelly, about not caring is close to what I was going through. Nothing seemed to rattle me. It’s not quite been year and in many ways that hasn’t changed. I love riding my motorcycle and when I came across the accident I described earlier I began to feel differently. I still have plenty to live for. Still, when my time comes Iwon’t be said because I’ll be with him again.

  • Joe Quinlivan

    I would describe my feeling as empty. For the longest time I just felt hollow inside.As if I could look inside my soul their would be darkness. You lose the ability to feel real emotion except for sadness and anger. The medium angle is something I have thought about and as I said my wife did it amd thought it was great.Since Jimmy died I have only had one dream about him. It is approaching six years now and it could have been yesterday. It was about a year after the accident and I dreamt I went to the hockey rink where he used to play. I watched the game for a while and on the way out I saw his friends playing bubble hockey in the game room. I moved toward them to say hello and Jimmy was playing the game. I called out to him and he turned smiled at me and said”Dad I’m okay” I sat straight up in bed and tears were streaming down my face. One dream in six years sucks but those words are what I think we would all like to hear. I believe in a here after and that I will be with him again.

  • Ed,

    I can’t say that I felt invinsible, but I can say that for the first time in my life I didn’t care if I died. I wasn’t suicidal, I just didn’t care. I use to have fears about flying or doing more risker type of activity. I must say it’s been a relief of sorts to shed some of the fears I once had.

    Now that I am through the dark phase of my grief, I try to enjoy life more. I know what its like to have a bad day. A bad day at work doesn’t even compare to what it felt like not to be able to get out of bed. Throwing up every time I tried to eat something because the stress was so bad.

    I have been trying to do things I alway wanted to do. I have recently signed up to ride 3 days in a 7 day bike ride across Iowa (RAGBRAI). Something I always wanted to do, but never made the time to do it becasue I was to busy being “important” in my work/life. I have started to travel more to places I’ve wanted to go. Once you start to come out of the heavy fog, and you will at some point ( I wish I could tell you when), you start to look at life differently.

    There are a lot of things in my life I use to get upset with, but now I realize most of them are trivial compared to what I went through.

  • Ed Mann

    I would love to run into a lady such as the one you met, Jody. A lady like that is the real deal. One 0f the mediums Joen’s mom met with is the same type. She’s not all about money. She does what she does because that’s who she is – a talented medium and not a wannabe. The problem is, she’s so good that she’s become hard to reach. I’m going to seek her out though.

    It’s just that I want to know that he’s okay. Sound crazy, I know because you probably can’t die twice, right? I don’t believe the fact that he took his life means he must face etermal damnation. It’s just that I don’t know anything about his reality. Is he alone or with others who have passed on? Does he still know strong emotions? What will he do with the portion of his life that his family and friends shared with him? What does he want for all of us?

    I often force myself to remember the sound of his voice. I try to imagine things he’d say about any given situation. It makes me feel good to do so.

    Another question for all of you… After losing your child, did you feel invinsible? In other words, willing to die but not willing to take your life – I would never do that. Joey’s mom and I both felt that way – wanting to be with Joey so bad that death seemed trivial. That feeling has sort of died away. It’ll be a year that Joey died August 19th and 24th – long story…

    I lost my best friend when I was twenty one and a few months later a close friend’s younger brother. I fell into depression for a few months though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. I wanted so bad to connect with them… Death took on a different meaning for me. Losing a child forces us to face our own mortality in a different way. I’m not scared of death. I know the first person I see will be Joey. I’ve lost a lot of people in my life, including my father. That’s nothing compared to losing a child. It goes against all of nature for a parent to outlive their child.

    By the way, I can’t tell you all how grateful I am for this thread…

  • Ed Mann

    Another question for all of you… After losing your child, did you feel invinsible? In other words, willing to die but not willing to take your life – I would never do that.

    Joey’s mom and I both fel that way. Wanting to be with Joey so bad that death seemed trivial.

    • William.

      That feeling is mutual to me Ed.

  • I would love to hear from Richard. And I’ve read some books about life after death, but not 300 of them like Jody. It is certainly an interesting subject.

    I don’t know that I’ve ever been contacted by my kid since his death. Maybe – once in a dream. But it may have been just that – a dream.

    I haven’t contacted a medium. We want to talk to our kids so bad, it makes us perfect targets for cons. And while I think it’s possible, I’m skeptical of most claimed mediums.

    I have the perfect question to ask.

    Richard’s computer was in hibernate mode when we went to retrieve his stuff from his apartment. Says he has 4 programs running. I’ve kept it that way for more than a year now. I’d like to know what programs were running – just because it lets me have a little touch of him in his last day here. I need his password to login as him. No idea what that password is. Only he knows.

    Jody I think the answer is no, we wouldn’t be satisfied if they answered all our questions. We still want to see them, be with them.

    But if we knew for sure they’re still out there, just in a different place, and someday we’ll see them again, we just have to wait for the right time – that would bring comfort I think.

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Ed,

    I spoke with a little old Hispanic lady nearly two years ago who is a medium though she never referred to herself as such. She was very accurate all around. She approached me in Santa Fe at a restaurant saying that my son was standing next to me. We talked about lots of things. One of them was why some people can see and feel their visitation and some cannot. You and I are not sensitive enough. I have never heard from Taylor. But he tries everyday according to her. As I researched more…that was the common thread among all mediums and researchers – we just don’t have the sensitivity.
    And I often wonder, if our boys came back and answered every question we had for them and then they left, would we be satisfied? I am like you. I want him to talk with me. I want to hear it from him. But I remember when he was alive and he did things to cause him to say he was sorry. I always forgave him because that’s what he was looking for…for dad to say that he forgave him, that he understood. I don’t want to be unforgiving with anyone..especially the boy I love so much. I know he is so sorry and I am sure if this is real, then Joey must be crushed to see you in such pain.
    Of course, “I’m sorry.” doesn’t change anything. We are left here spinning and all the I’m sorrys will never bring the world back where it was when we had our boys with us.
    But I know that they would tell us more if they could. I think love is more intense on their side.
    Perhaps we can find someone to help us connect better and not charge us too much.
    Maybe all of us. Any input Joe Q and Joe M?

    Jody

  • Ed Mann

    Your logic is completely sound, Jody. There either is, or isn’t a hereafter.

    I have always believed that life exists after death, even before Joey died. Science says that energy (us) cannot be destroyed, it only changes form – at least according to Einstein. Boil water and it turns to steam. Burn paper and it turns to smoke. Why should the energy that is us (soul?) be different?

    The consistent message that Joey’s mom has received is: 1.) I’m sorry. 2.) I’m okay, and 3.) I’m always with you. With regard to number three, she often tells me she feels Joey whispering to her in her lowest moments. Is she really hearing him or is it just wishful thinking? Alas, I don’t know… Don’t think I’m that evolved yet. I don’t hear him whispering to me. We were very close and if she can hear him, why can’t I?

    Those three, consistent messages seem simplistic enough and could roll of the tongue of any charleton, but it has been accompanied by information that only Joey would know. I think there’s something real going on but I don’t know what to do with all of that. Take number one for example – what do we do with “I’m sorry.”? Yeah, I’m sorry, too. How does that help any of us? For my part, knowing Joey is sorry that he killed himself is pointless. If I believe in life after death – which I do – I firmly believe that he IS sorry. So what? What do we do with that? I really want to hear from him. I have a lot of questions that I want answered. I want a personal message from him – not an apology of any kind. I want to know that he has evolved from the person who took his life and the reality he’s in now has presented him with the opportunity to grow. I want to know how I can affect the world in a better way because of what happened. Maybe I don’t need him to tell me that, but I want his input none the less.

    I feel there is value in what may come from a good, honest and reputable medium. I simply haven’t gone so far as to speak with one yet. Joey’s mom took me to see the one medium she felt was the best, but she wasn’t there when we went in and this lady who took her place was completely off base and didn’t have clue. I will never go to a medium again unless I know they have a track record of some kind. And at that, I will scrutinize what they say before I take it as fact.

    Can’t help but feel that everything happens for a reason and that we’re supposed to make something of this place we’re in. Simply put, I don’t know what it is yet. A good medium can be an invaluable piece of the puzzle.

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    After my son died and a couple of months passed, I began to search for him in earnest. My logic was that either he (like the rest of us) no longer existed, or he existed somewhere. I think those are the only two choices. I am clearly skeptical by nature and though I believe that we survive death, I wondered what the rest of the scientific world believed and I wasn’t sure exactly what “surviving” meant.
    I read over three hundred books on the subject, some by physicists and doctors. Some were old and dated, some new and inspiring. I began to cross reference all the material to find common denominators. Then I began to make calls to several “institutes” that are on the path to finding out more data. I spoke to doctors and researchers. I stayed clear of anyone who was not level headed and scientific.
    I think the result for me was a better understanding of who and what we are and why certain “death events” occur. Most of what I learned would make most Christians cringe- devil and all.
    I am still researching. Being homeless wasn’t a great help. I am glad for WiFi and the internet. There is still a lot to be found out. I will not ever give up searching for my child.
    I did find a medium in Massachusetts that clearly found my son. I never mentioned why I called or who I was. She did all the work and I verified all her statements. Several things said only Taylor would have known as I had to find them out myself. He said things in such a way that I knew it was his personality. Still, I miss him greatly and the grief is still raw. But I think he exists somewhere and will continue to search for him…until my last breath.

    Jody

  • Ed Mann

    Joey’s mom and a few others have been to see mediums. There have been varying degrees of accuracy, but by and large some very interesting interaction. I have been told though they didn’t tell the medium anything, the mediums picked up on Joey right away. Without asking questions of Joey’s mom the medium proceeded to provide a degree of accuracy that amazes me. I would like to try it at some point. I can’t deny that there’s been a very provocative degree of consistency in the messages that have come across.

  • Joe Quinlivan

    Hey Jody my wife went to a local plce called Lilydale and the person there told many things about a young boy who was waiting for her an described him pretty well. I am not a big believer in such things but I have to say it blew my mind,whats left of it. In my area Western New York, I started a support group for dads who have lost children called the FRAT(Fathers Rallying Against Tragedy) it is very difficult to get guys to come and talk about their pain but I have made a few connections locally and I hope to do a website soon. Kelly has been an inspiration to me and this site is a great place to meet and talk with you guys and help each other out. Lets keep the dialogue going.

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Any one been to a medium?

    Jody

  • Ed Mann

    Thank you, Jody. You are extremely insightfulful. I need to give up trying to figure out what was in Joey’s head. Every once in a while Joey’s mom will just break down and keep asking “why?” Sometimes I fumble around and try to answer. But now I realize I need to let go of my attachment to an answer.

    And thanks also to Joe Q and Joe M for your posts. All of your support and advise are extremely helpful.

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Dear Ed,

    I think that the hardest part of this aftermath is realizing just that. That you are not the same man. Isn’t it an insult when people on the outside tell us how well we are doing?
    They don’t even know who they are talking to. They think it’s the same man from before. You get better at hiding the pain because you know instinctively that no one wants to be around what’s left of you. So you make up another person based on the memories you have of him and build something up to appease the others who need to know you are OK so they can feel better about themselves. But the you who had a life once, is somewhere inside still crying and cowering and wondering what the fuck happened to him.
    So you find solitude, lots of it. And when life finds you in a situation like you did by the side of the road…you know for a fact that you are not the same man…and never will no matter what the rest of the world wants us to be.
    And Ed, we don’t and will never know what was in our sons’ hearts and mind when their time came to leave. We did not live in their pain. I think we have to just know that whatever burden they carried may have been heavier than anyone can ever understand, even their daddies.
    And yes brotherman, it is exhausting putting on that good face. Maybe that’s the value in out horrible brotherhood…we don’t hide it from each other. My tears are still hot and flowing. I find no shame in it. It is a testimony that my son counted in my life.

    Jody

  • Ed Mann

    I’m relieved to hear I’m not the only one running for solitude. I can’t get enough of it and I live alone. Go figure… I was kind of afraid to admit it until Jody’s post and the others above.

    Joey’s mother and I have grown close since his death. We were on good terms even after our divorce, but now we’re friends on a different level. Even her boyfriend has become a great friend. But mostly I’m thankful to have two other boys, both doing well. We’re loving and supportive of one another.

    I travel quite a bit for work so I’m forced to be with people on occasion. In a lot of ways I think it helps. But I’m dying to get home at the end of the week. Mostly because I’ll see my son, who is home from college, and maybe talk on the phone with my other son, who took a job out of state. But to a large degree, I look forward to being home so that I can be alone again. Alone to think about things and allow myself to feel bad. Work means very little to me. It’s absurd and a complete waste of time, in the big scheme of things. Last week a co-worker told me an associate told him I’m not the same since my son died. Uh, yeah…

    Indeed, I’m not the same person since Joey died. There’s an underlying anger that can quickly and unexpectedly melt to the brink of tears. But the tears rarely come. I just feel empty, mostly sad and wondering what could have been. I think I mask it pretty well and can function, but I’m getting tired of doing so. I’m tired of forcing the smile.

    It’s that same old feeling – we are the dads, the leaders of the family. So what went wrong? I don’t care how many times I hear it’s no one’s fault and Joey made his choice, I still feel responsible. Joey committed suicide in a fit of rage. I have never been an angry person so what he did is completely foreign to me. I don’t relate to his actions, maybe his feelings, but could not do what he did. Regardless, I firmly believe that though life will never be the same, something has to fall into place to make sense of all of this.

    I mentioned somewhere on this site about coming across a motorcycle accident on Memorial Day. Suffice it to say there were parallels that made me relive my son’s suicide so I am bringing it up again. I stayed with that man all the way until the time he was put into the ambulance. We were on a remote road so we were together a long time, a lifetime. I thought I made a difference and that I was able to help save a life, unlike what happened with my son – only to find out later that evening that the man died minutes after I rode away from the scene. The bottom dropped out and it was crash and burn all over again. It took me all this time to recover, but that incident meant something and is somehow a piece of a puzzle that I need to put together. The man I was on the roadside that day was not the same person I was before Joey died.

    I know it all comes down to what we believe. But I believe that all of us, the brotherhood on this site, have something valuable that others need. I just haven’t figured that piece of it out yet.

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Dear Joe,

    Brotherman, I am so so sorry. I know how much you miss him. And yes the horrible sadness turns everything wrong and inside you are screaming and no one can hear you. You are lucky to at least have family. I hope this has not torn you guys apart.

    People tell me…Taylor would want you to do this, or Taylor would want you to be this.
    How do they know what my son wants? He’s dead. He doesn’t want anything.
    We are the ones left to rearrange our senses and our commitment to what’s left of our lives.
    I can tell you are very shattered Joe. Again, I am so sorry. I wish I had something I could give you, something I could say…but I don’t, except to say that I do care and that I will think of you and Richard and the hell you live in. Ask Kelly for my e-mail, I don’t want to write it here. I will send you the first part of my manuscript. Perhaps it will show you that you are not crazy…just lost like the rest of us.

    In hope you find some degree of peace,

    Jody

  • Jody and all the other members of our horrible brotherhood,

    Thanks for sharing your story. Your writing is very powerful. I hope you’ll continue with the book idea. I’d buy a copy when it’s done.

    It’s been just over a year since our 22 year old son Richard died from seizures.

    That feeling you expressed of having failed at protecting your son – I also live with that one on a major level. I’ll always know this didn’t need to happen. I’ll always have those “I should have done this” and “Why didn’t I do that?” regrets.

    But mostly I feel sad, like you said.

    We now have a month of emotional landmines in our lives, starting with Mother’s Day (the last day we ever saw Richard) to the day I know he died (May 23rd) to the day they found him and called me at work (May 28th) and then on into Father’s Day.

    I’m blessed with a large supportive family. They also loved Richard and his passing hurts them as well. I have a wonderful wife and daughter. So I still have purpose in my life.

    In some ways I’ve moved on. I go to work every day. I admit I don’t care much about it now. I prefer to be alone most of the time. Working in a “teamwork” culture is very irritating.

    Now my life is traveled down a long narrow path. On one side is a sheer cliff. On the other is a mountain with boulders falling, trying to knock me off the cliff. I am on the edge, falling would be easy.

    So like you all, I journey on, because that’s just how it has to be. But I still don’t like it.

    Peace to you all.

  • Joe Quinlivan

    Hey Jody and Ed, Peaks and valleys boys. The peaks are few and far between and the valleys are as deep as you can imagine.Try not to feel guilty when you do have a good day. I remember the first time I laughed after my son died and how guilty I felt. As you move along on this road the valleys will get less deep and you will start to have a peak or two more often.Dont try to force it, let this process happen and your new normal will take shape.You will never be the same. Jody it is great to hear about your new situation and I pray for you both and look forward to hearing from you both. Peace Joe Q

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Ed and Joe,
    I guess I write because we are at that place… O.K we’ve said it all, what’s next?

    So for me to write to another person who’s been in a similar place with full knowledge that there is nothing that I can do except say say how sorry I am…I wonder, what is left?
    I have found a place where I can stay for a while. I am no longer in my truck bed, but now in a camper. I have electricity and propane so I feel like I am in a palace. Yet I also know that should things hit bottom again, I will not care. If things should go up, I will not care either. It all looks the same. There is no contrast anymore.
    Is that where you are, or is it just me?

    Jody

  • Ed Mann

    I’d like to add my thanks, Joe. You are spot on – this is a brotherhood not of our choosing, and one no father wants to be a part of. And thanks to you, Jody. I hope you both will write back and stay in touch. I’m thinking of you both and wish you well. – Ed

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Dear Joe,

    My heart is with you and I am sorry that you lost your son. The years must be empty for you in the terribleness of his passing. Thanks for your words of hope for a better struggle. I hope you have passed through the worst of it and found some degree of peace.
    You will be another light somewhere in this darkness. I hope that I can be the same for you on your difficult days.

    Strength and Honor Brother,

    Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

  • Joe Quinlivan

    Jody and Ed, First let me convey my deepest sympathy to you both. Today is Fathers Day and what used to be a great day is now filled with sadness. My son Jimmy was killed in an ATV accident while we were on vacation in Colorado. The six year anniversary is in August as is what would have been his nineteenth birthday. I read your stories and remember the first few years were extremely difficult. I guess if I could give you any advice it would be to do what ever it takes to get you through the next day. You will never be the same person you were before, so dont try to be to make anyone else happy. You have gone through the most unnatural event a man can go through so allow yourself to feel all those emotions that we all are feeling.This is a brotherhood that we did not choose to be in but know there are others out here dealing with those feelings along with you.The only people that truly understand how you feel are those who have gone through it. Peace be with you both.

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Dear Ed,
    Wish I had advice. I would give it to myself. Father’s day is hard as are his birthday and of course his death day. I get out town. Must be a natural thing. I just have to be very alone.
    A year is not very long. At least not for me. You are probably still very raw and bleeding.
    I have not found anything that makes me feel better other than sleep which is still hard to come by.
    Just know that I am aware of your darkness and pain and that I am thinking of you and feeling some of the same. Not a brotherhood I wanted to be in but it is a brotherhood nonetheless.
    Strength and honor brotherman.

    Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove
    `

  • Ed Mann

    Hi Jody,

    Thank you so much for writing back. It’s not quite been a year for me and I’m dreading the anniversary of that day. I didn’t think the anniversary of “the day” would matter since I think about him each and every day. However, I’m not sure I’ll feel that way come August. Do you have advise that might help? I’m thinking about just getting away and leaving town. – Ed

  • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

    Dear
    Ed,

    Thank you for your kind words. I am so very sorry for your loss. You must have loved your boy very much. I am also sorry for the struggle you have been through for however many years it’s been. You must miss him.
    Perhaps in the years to come, I will be better. For me, right now…it was yesterday.

    JB

    • Ariana Star Dancing Guion

      Jody,
      My name is Ariana Star Dancing Guion. For my 21st birthday, my mother wanted me to reconnect with my father’s side of the family. Upon searching for Taylor and Jody, we found the tragic news. Even though I have no knowledge my other family, Taylor will always be in my heart. I hope that maybe you could send me an email so we could talk sometime. I’ll be thinking of both of you always.
      Love,
      Ari

      • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove

        Ari,
        My e-mail is eaglecrow6@gmail.com
        Please send me your e-mail.
        My heart is glad and filled with such trembling and shaking to know my little girl has found me.
        Please write soon. I love you.

        Dad (Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove)

      • Jody Dark Eagle Breedlove
  • Ed Mann

    I completely relate to Jody, having lost my son to suicide and under very similar circumstances.

    Jody, if you are reading this, I believe that Taylor knows your pain. And I believe that if you listen to the crooked wind that blows Taylor would tell you he wants you to heal. I’ve learned that healing doesn’t erase our children’s memory. I struggled with that – fearing that if I set my pain down for a single moment I might lose my emotional connection to my son. The pain will never go away. Everyone participating in this project knows that. For my part, I’ve learned to live with that fact because I know my son still loves me and wants me to honor him through a full and engaged life. I talk to him all the time. And I believe he hears me.

    Writing is cathardic and can be the home we run to when we need to understand our feelings. Please continue to write. It can lead to revelations and new beginnings. I’d like to share a poem I wrote about the loss of my son:

    Who Were You Then
    By Ed Mann

    Didn’t I see you laughing
    not that long ago?
    Your eyes were bright, you took delight
    your spirit was aglow
    Weren’t you the one I saw dancing
    beneath the summer sun?
    Light on your feet, you beat the heat
    by staying on the run
    Didn’t I hear you reciting
    sonnets for your love?
    Your words rang true, with feelings you knew
    your soul did rise above
    Weren’t you the one I saw playing
    upon the gilded stage?
    The role you had was not so sad,
    in life you were engaged
    But now you’re gone and I muddle on
    wondering who you were
    A teacher or a student
    A devil or a saint
    Or just another human being
    railing against your fate
    But missing you is what I do
    while I connect the clues
    Why some know strife
    then take their life
    instead of breaking through
    And I pray that now you see
    that there was another way
    because hope outshines the madness
    and always wins the day

  • Jody found my GrieivngDads.com Project while he was searching for support on childloss for men. He has sent me many of his writings that he is working on for a book. He gave me authorization to post this one. His writing style to raw and he holds nothing back as far as how he is feeling. He does and excellent job at capturing his feelings. Even though my losses were different than his, the pain expresses is very similar to the pain I carried around the first couple of years. His mission is to bring awarness to what he call the “forgotten souls”. People that do not have access to support or help. So they end up stuck in the grips of depths, sometimes forever. Thank you Jody for sending this to me.

    • Karisa Sanders

      Im just wanting Jody to know he is loved and thought of along with Taylor. Remembering growing up as a child with both Taylor and Jody as another father type in my life he was always with Taylor and such and great father. Love you Jody Karisa Sanders