Long Drive

I recently interviewed a grieving dad, Don, and we were discussing how we would often cry on our way to work in the morning.  I drove to work, but he took public transportation.  He said he would sit there and cry by himself thinking about his daughter who recently died after being struck by a vehicle.   I told Don that although I had a short 10 minute commute to work, it felt like a very long drive.

A long drive from the standpoint that when I got in my car and pulled out of the driveway, I would start to cry and at times feel a sense of dread and panic.  I had fear of going to the office, I knew I wasn’t performing to the level I was before the loss of my children and was worried that they would find out and fire me.  There were some days where I couldn’t do it on my own and would start making frantic phone calls to whoever would answer.  The person would answer and knew it was me.  Not from my voice, I couldn’t speak, but from the silence of one fighting back his emotions.  I couldn’t speak because as soon as I would hear the person’s voice, I would start to cry even harder.  I desperately needed help and was trying to find it in small increments.   I was trying to find someone that would hang on to me and not let go until I was done talking. 

I hear from a lot of men who say they cry on their way to work.  As I stated earlier, Don was no exception to this.  However, his approach to this was much different than mine.  Not better or worse, just different.  I shared my experience with Don and then asked him, “While you were sitting there on the bus, did you ever wish someone would reach out to you and ask you if you were ok?”  He quickly replied, “No, I would have been embarrassed.”  I found this interesting because I would sit there wishing that someone would noticed me and the pain I was feeling and ask me if I was ok.  I wished someone would have asked me that because I needed an outlet for my pain and needed to tell my story.  I already had an answer just in case someone did ask.  My answer to someone asking me if I was ok was, “no, my two babies have died.”  I am sure that response would have really freaked them out, but that was the heavy load on my mind that needed to be said out load.

Based on my experiences, if I would ever see someone crying by themselves, I would most certainly ask them if they were ok.  Obviously my goal wouldn’t be to embarrass them, but to let them know someone cares.

Did/do you often cry on the way to work?

Would you reach out to someone else that shows emotion in public?

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User Comments ( 16 )

  • Great article Kelly. All too often men are seen as not grieving since most people can’t or don’t want to see their pain. By putting your pain out there is makes it very clear that men are not cold and unfeeling gears, wires and computer chips, we are indeed flesh and blood and hurt like hell when we experience a death of someone we love dearly.

    • Grieving Dads


      What an honor to have you here at my Grieving Dads blog. I think its important to share the pain that I went through so others do not feel alone in their grief. In order to do that, I had to be open and brutally honest. By doing this, it has allowed others to share soem pretty deep and dark stuff that may have never come out. I feel honored that so many of these dads continue to reach out to me and share their story for my upcoming book. They inspired me to make it the best it can be. It is a great resource that is needed. As you know, there are not many books out there for men in regards to grief.

      If you don’t mind, I will be reaching out to you soon on someting I would like to discuss with you.



  • Jim,

    Glad you like the post. I think you’re correct on this, driving in the car alone gives us a chance to slow our minds down and feel the pain rather than trying to keep ourselves occupied.



  • Jim

    excellent post Kelly.

    My 30 minute commute to and from work was filled with tears for the first 6 months after my daughter’s death. Now, 3 years later, I still have times where I find myself crying again during that time, but not as frequent. It is almost as if it is a place where because my body is focused on only one other thing, driving, I can allow my emotions to come to the front.

    Keep well.

  • Ross

    It has been just over two years since we lost our daughter, Jenna. She passed away on a Monday and for a long time Mondays were terrible. I would cry most every morning on the way to work as I started the week wondering why this would happen to me/my family and missing Jenna.

    As for your question Kelly- I can’t honestly say that I would reach out to someone that was showing emotion in public. If I knew them, or had seen them more than a few times previously, I probably would but if it was someone I did not know, I would be hesitant.

    Sending Strength and Prayers to all those in need.


    • Grieving Dads


      Don’t get me wrong, I still am at times hesitant and I wish I can say I do reach out all of the time when I see someone hurting, but I don’t. I try to, but it is difficult at times. I can tell you this, when I do I feel empowered to keep doing it because I know what it feels like to have a stranger reach out to you when you need someone to help you. I had alot of stranger do that for me (not while sitting in the car at a signal on my way to work – could have really used that) but at other times.

      Thanks for your honesty and you story. I noticed you are know following me on Facebook, thank you for that. I also noticed that our home state is the same.



  • Bob Hunter

    I cry all the way to work almost everyday. I cry all the way home from work, often. I find leaving the house and coming back home cause my grief to surface. Many times I ran into the house and looked in her room even though I knew Katie wasn’t there. Friday afternoons as I’m getting ready to leave the office I sob uncontrollably as I face another weekend without her. Sometimes when I’m in the car alone or when my sons aren’t home I’ll scream her name…as if i yell loud enough and often enough God will her my plea and give her back.

    Thanks you guys for letting me know I’m not crazy…just hurting beyond what others could ever imagine.

    Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4 (Hopefully I can figure this verse out someday).

    I’ll pray for you all,

    • Grieving Dads


      Your’re not crazy, you are a dad who greatly loves and misses his little girl. You and every dad out there has the right to feel with that pain and process that pain any way you can. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

      I cried at the beginning of the week because I knew I couldn’t handle the pain of the losses and the pressure of work. It put me over the top.



  • John

    Mostly I get blindsided by the tears and raging emotion. Yesterday I needed to take a break so went to the local golf course and was just putting; then a father came with his little girl and it made me remember my daughter Leslie who passed just this July 1st, and I couldn’t see the hole because of all the tears. I left and sat in the car and had a long drive home. Sometimes I have primal screams in my car. I turn the radio up to ear-bleed level to try and drown out the howl. I hate this f**kin’ shitty life I now have.

    • Grieving Dads


      I get teh primal screams, I would do it because of the pain and out of frustration on how hard and impactful this pain is. It effects every aspect of your life and it changes you from who you were. It takes a long time to realize some of the changes in your life (at least for me) were good changes. It helped me be a better person. Would I go back to the old me? Yes, if I could with a better understanding for how life can deal you a bad hand, you just dont know when.

      Thanks for sharing John..

  • Grieving Dads


    Average guy cries 17 times a year? That sound very high compared to the guys I grew up with. Not saying they don’t feel like crying from time to time, but they don’t. Many of them drown it with alcohol.

    I agree with you, not being afraid of my own emotions really helps me to reach out to others and share in their emotions.

    As far as being vulnerable, yes that and being transparent has helped me in my journey.

    Thanks Steve.



  • Steve Christen


    I remember crying on the way to work at the fire station, at night when I went to bed and on the way home. That’s 3 times in 24 hours and at that time, that is how I needed to express my grief. If as it’s said that the “average” man cries 17 times a year, I definitely was not considered “average” but I always knew at least I was honest and authentic. I know from fire department training that suppressing emotion after a tramatic event only leads to more emotional difficulty.

    I know I am much more likely now to reach out to someone else that shows emotion in public, then before Rach died. My thought is that they just may be crying over a similar loss as mine. I am not fearfilled over their emotion…because I am not fearfilled with my own emotion.

    Kelly, you said you “needed an outlet for your pain and you needed to tell your story.” Thanks for being vulnerable enough to do that. It helps us all on our own grief journey as well.

  • Jim

    For me it is the drive home. Long, tiring day and I should be going home to see my daughter’s smiling face. But instead of course, I’m not. End of the day is toughest for me.

    I wish more family/friends acknowledged my loss. After 3 years, I guess everyone feels I should be ‘better’. Unfortunately, time does not heal all wounds.

    Some days I could reach out and help someone in public, but most days I would need to protect my inner self still. Maybe farther down this path I will be able to help…

    • Grieving Dads


      Thanks for your perspective. You are correct, friends and family do beleive you should be better or healed from your wound, but like you say some wounds never completely heal. They may scab over but the scar remains.



  • Kelly,
    So often men are ashamed to cry in public for fear that they will be thought of as weak. How ridiculous! Their emotions and feelings are no less than a woman/mom’s. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I will recommend the men in my support group to read this article for sure.


    • Grieving Dads


      It is ridiculous, but we are programmed to believe this when we are little kids. I know I felt weak when I cried AND when I went to a counselor for the first time. Once I got past this, I felt authentic self and started the healing process. This took a few tough years.