“There is no grief like the grief that does not speak.” – Henry Wordsworth Longfellow
This quote by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow really hits home for me. After the loss of my daughter Katie, I didn’t speak. I held it in because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. No one ever told me I should talk about it. I was taught that you don’t talk about your “feelings” to anyone other than yourself. Bury it deep and keep moving.
Although this approach to grief sounds great in theory, it’s not realistic or even possible when it comes to the death of a child. I wish someone would have told me that before I spent a year and a half trying to fight “it”. To be honest, I am not sure that would have changed the way I approached grief. I had never experienced the death of a loved one prior to the death of my daughter. I had no official “training” in how to cope with something so profound. So I buried it and it manifested itself into full-blown depression and other physical and psychological ailments.
I finally realized that my world was becoming unraveled and I couldn’t suppress the pain much longer, I decided I was going to reach out for help. Little did I know I was about to need all the help I could find. I was about to be dealt another blow. This blow was the death of my son Noah and it took me to my knees and left me to die. I remained paralyzed by this grief for a couple of years and there were times where I didn’t really know if I would ever stand again.
During those couple of years, I learned to talk about my pain. I learned to tell my story. I learned to seek help when needed. I learned that in order to fully heal, you have to fully reprioritize your life and your way of thinking. You have to acknowledge that what you have been through is possibly the worst thing anyone would have to go through.
The Grieving Dads Project was designed to tell my story with transparency so other men will realize the path of unspoken grief is longer and more painful than the path of spoken grief. I encourage anyone reading this blog to find support groups, counselors and/or understanding friends to tell your story to. Yeah, it’s going to hurt and yeah you’re going to cry and at times you will think that it’s impossible to speak the words of the nightmare you live, but keep at it. Keep telling your story until you have processed it to the point that the words get easier to speak.
Use this blog as a way to tell your story, that’s why it is here. Feel free to call me or email me your story anytime. Know that by you contacting me or this blog is not a burden. I started this project to help anyway I can.
It’s not even realistic or possible when it’s not a child, and no matter the loss, telling your story again and again and again in a supportive environment is one of the surest paths to healing. And here’s a hint…you don’t even have to put words to the feelings, just tell your story. Thanks for sharing your story with such honesty and clarity.