Billy Donovan’s Secret Sorrow | ThePostGame.

The link above is a well written story about three grieving dads that have formed a bond.  This is a story about three coaches that compete against each other in their professional life but continue to have a tremendous bond and respect for each other.  I thought it was appropriate to share here on this blog since so many of us dads feel alone on our journey.  The circumstances surrounding the death of these dads children really hit close to home for me.

Enjoy the article and remember you are never on this road alone.  There are many of us dads out here that want to help you any way we can.


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    Your fingerprints are on my heart.

    Even though I never held your hand –
    … you touched me.

    Even though I never heard you speak –
    you taught me.

    You taught me about love.

    You taught me about courage.

    You taught me about living.

    You taught me about loss.

    You brought me closer to my loved ones.

    You brought me closer to myself.

    In the time I cared for you my whole life changed –
    never to be the same.

    All this from your fingerprints that touched my heart.

    Your will stay in my soul forever – never to be forgotton.

    I will always love you.

    You are my child.

    Copyright 2003

  • My own experience matches yours, Kelly. The death of our baby happened when we’d been married little more than a year, but it forced the two of us to grow up and to grow together far more quickly than many other couples we have known. (We will celebrate our 46th wedding anniversary this year.) I know I never would have become a grief counselor had it not been for having lived through and learned so much from this very early, very painful loss, and today I dedicate my work to our precious little angel David. As a very wise man has said, It’s not what happens to you in life that matters ~ it’s what you DO with what happens to you . . .
    Bless you for the wonderful work you are doing on behalf of grieving dads everywhere, Kelly. For that you have my deepest admiration and respect. ♥

  • Kelly, I thank you for pointing all of us to this profoundly moving article, and these fathers have my deepest respect and admiration.

    There is one statement in the story, however, that I felt a need to comment upon, not only as a grief counselor but as a wife and mother who experienced the unexected death of our own infant son when he was only three days old. The story notes that “Earlier that afternoon, a counselor at the hospital told [Billy Donovan] that as many as 90 percent of couples who lose a child at birth end up divorced, a point that was reiterated by a former coach and mentor.” Unfortunately, many bereaved parents have been told (or have come to believe) that many marriages end after the loss of a child. As a matter of fact, according to grief expert and noted author Harold Ivan Smith (see, research indicates that only 6% of marriages fail following the death of a child; the myth is 75% or higher. (Statement by Harold Ivan Smith during his seminar, UnderRecognized Grief, Phoenix AZ, March 14, 2008). Dr. Smith went on to encourage those of us in the field of grief and bereavement counseling to do all we can to debunk this myth. See, for example, my article, “Understanding Different Mourning Patterns in Your Family,”

    See also:

    “Growing a Strong Marriage After The Loss of a Child” by Margaret Brownley,

    “How Grief Can Affect a Marriage,” by Pat Schwiebert, R.N.,

    • Marty – Thank you for sharing these articles. I did notice the comment about “90% of couples the experience the death of a child end up in divorce”. I have heard various statistics, but this is the highest I have seen. I usually see the 75% number. Although I have no doubt that the death of a child can cause serious issues within a marriage, I believe that the loss just exposes issues that were there prior to the divorce. My wife and I lost two children over 18 months and the first time around caused great stress to both of use since we were on two seperate grieving paths. However, we were there for each other as much as we could be while taking care of ourselves. I believe our relationship (marriage and friendship) is much stronger after surviving the depths of grief.

      Thank you again for sharing these articles.