It has been a very exciting and difficult 2.5 years trying to develop this book for grieving dads. There were times I wasn’t sure it was going to happen and there were other times I thought I had taken on more than I could handle. Times were I asked myself “am I the one to be doing this?” It was a challenge to hear the stories and see the raw emotions, the pain in others that went to the core of the person, pain I was all to familiar with. But there were other times where I knew I was the guy to be writing this book because I walked in the shoes of these grieving dads and it was my responsibility to look back and extend a hand to help pull others through the aftermath of losing a child. Some of you have already purchased my new book and may have already read this, but I also wanted to share it with others that visit this blog. Thank you to all for the continued support throughout this project.
If you have ever loved a child, then you understand what it’s like to love someone more than you love life itself. If you have ever lost a child, then you understand more about hell than anyone could possibly be expected to know.
If you have lost a child, you also understand this isn’t something you get over. Only those who have lost a child can understand the depths to which this pain travels.
Like most of the men who will read this book, I too am a grieving dad. I lost two beautiful babies over an eighteen-month period, and those losses have had major and irreversible impacts on my life. To be quite honest, my psychological response to these losses scared the hell out of me. I felt out of control — because I was out of control. I couldn’t change the fact that my children died. I couldn’t stop hurting. I didn’t just cry — I physically wept inside. There were times when there were no tears, and it felt like I was convulsing internally.
All of this scary stuff started to pile up on me, and when I finally decided to check my “manly” inclinations at the door and seek a bit of help, I discovered that I was in for a surprise. Almost all of the resources I could find on the subject of grieving for a child was directed either toward women or “parents.” I put “parents” in quotation marks, because in my experience, most of what I read for grieving parents was written for mothers. If I did come across something aimed at grieving dads, it was usually advice about how to comfort their wives.
I’m sure there’s something worthwhile out there. But in the absence of anything that jumped out and kicked me in the head, I decided to pursue the issue myself. Part of the result can be found right here within these pages.
The message I want bereaved fathers to understand is that I know it’s hard, I know it hurts, I know it’s scary — but you can get through this. You can survive. It will be the hardest thing you will ever experience; it will drain you physically, mentally, and emotionally. You can come out on the other side of this very long and lonely tunnel, but you will be a different person when you do. There is no going back to the old you.
I also want all grieving dads to know that they are not alone in their grief. I want them to understand that other men have been through this and that the emotions they keep inside are the same emotions they’ll hear about from the many men whose stories appear in this book.
Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back aims to bring awareness to the impacts that child loss has upon fathers. It is also meant to let society know it’s okay for a father to grieve the loss of a child. Society expects men to react differently than women. As a result, men oftentimes grieve in silence, usually when they are alone. A father shouldn’t have to hide his pain or feel ashamed to show his emotions when dealing with the loss of a child.
I am also hopeful that this book will bring insight to the women in these men’s lives about how their husbands, brothers, fathers, or male friends may be feeling.
You will hear from the men in this book that life has been forever changed after the death of a child. It is virtually impossible to continue through life as if nothing happened; you can’t run from it, and you can’t hide from it. Society expects men to “take it like a man,” but it’s not realistic or fair to ask a father to behave that way. The best thing any father can do for himself and for others around him is to reach out for help, and to know it is not a sign of “weakness” to do so. Instead, it’s a sign of courage and strength — the kind that’s required to face this battle head on.
During the deepest, darkest days of my grief, I made a promise to my daughter, Katie, my son, Noah, and myself that once I was strong enough, I would reach out to other dads that are traveling this lonely road known as unspeakable loss. I would do this to help these other dads come to terms with their loss, to help them find their way, to help them cope, and somehow, to help them survive this profound life event. I didn’t know how I would do all of this, but I would find a way.
This book is a result of that promise.
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