I am excited to introduce guest blogger Tony to the Grieving Dads Project website. He is a recently bereaved father and will bring a lot of the early raw emotion that I struggle conveying at times since I am now 8 years and 6 years out from my losses. It’s not that I have forgotten what this pain feels like, but I think Tony will bring a day to day emotion. I have noticed that many of my recent blog postings have been more about my experiences. I think it’s important to get a larger perspective. His first posting is about how he first heard the news and how he responded. Please welcome Tony to the site
Barely Above a Whisper
On May 23rd at 9:25 PM I had just got out of the shower and was getting ready for work when my wife, who was doing her friend’s nails, told me there was a knock on our front door. She told me to answer it because anyone that knows us will come to our side door because they know we do not use our front door. I walked out our side door and there was a white van sitting in my drive way, first thing I noticed about this van was that it had federal government tags on the front of it. There was a man in the driver’s seat just staring at me with a blank almost scared look on his face. I asked this guy “what is it?” I had to ask him twice before he answered, I already knew who they were but couldn’t figure out why they would be at my house because my son was stationed in Maryland, and he was not in a war or even in a dangerous place. He only answered “They are at the front door for you” as he said this, two men started walking towards me and talking to me at the same time. They were asking me if I was the father or legal guardian of PFC Tony. I stopped him from talking and told him do not talk to me until I can see you, because it was dark out and I really couldn’t see them at all but I think this was a way of putting off what he was going to tell me. Then they get into the light and it was two well decorated marines. They asked me the same question again and barely above a whisper, I said yes I am. They proceeded to tell me that they were sorry to inform me that my son had passed away. I heard them loud and clear but I asked him what he said again. I did not cry, yell, faint, get mad or show any other kind of emotion I just asked what happened and he said that he was found at 4:30 PM that same day. He was in the middle of talking and I told him to stop and to not say any more until I went and got my wife. The reason I did this was that I couldn’t imagine having to tell her myself and I was going to make them do it. I opened the door and called for my wife, she must have heard it in my voice because she said “What is it? What’s wrong?” I was fighting back tears now and told her, its Tony he passed. I’m not sure why I said that I think I didn’t want her hearing it from a stranger. She came outside and fell to the ground screaming and crying. I turned to the Marines and they asked me if I wanted them to wait until things calmed down before they told me what happened. I said my son just died do you think things will calm down anytime soon. They told me my son was found hanging on base and all attempts to revive him failed.
That night obviously changed my life forever and there was much more to this night after this but at this time I just wanted to share with you the fact that some people remember nothing of a tragic event yet others remember everything. I remember it all word for word and it keeps replaying in my head, almost every day. Just proof that we all think, act and grieve differently. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Times are tough as hell for me right now. I have not and will not get over this but I will have to learn how to live with it and to continue to be strong for my wife and other children. Every day is different, some days are better than others but none are as good as they were before this.
My name is Tony Caruso, I am 40 years old and I am father of four and this is my way of introducing myself, hoping that by sharing my story and my day to day living that it will in some way help other dads out there who are also going through the loss of their child.
I am inspired by what I am reading. It is morbidly comforting to know I am no alone. I am a newby here. I lost my son just five months ago at the age of 26 to a drug overdose. I have difficulty remembering events and people the first couple weeks after, I sleep erratically, and I now work 15 hour days because I detest down time. I am a mess right now. I will continue to read. Thank you gentlemen.
Thanks for sharing your story, tony. My heart goes out to you and your wife for your loss.
Thank you for your courage to write. I am sorry for your devastating loss. I was driving down the highway when I got the news about my son. You mention having to be strong for everyone else:
There is real validity and real value to this I have learned.
Hope you will continue to write.
Words cant express how sorry I am for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
Stay with us and keep writing.
Im truly sorry for the loss of your daughter. Thank you for the kind words and the offer of help. There was many things kept from us in the beginning but thank God for honest people. We had phone calls from non military personnel that told us they knew military would not disclose the info they had so they called to let us know. Come to find out she got into lots of trouble for doing it. I
I definitely plan on sharing more.
First of all, welcome. My name is John Wolfe, I am retired Navy, and I live in Sanger, Texas. My wife and I lost our 24-year-old daughter, (our only child), to Hashimoto’s disease two years ago this coming December 29th and it’s still difficult to talk about sometimes.
This may sound odd, but I was immediately drawn to your story by a few things: I also work nights and I was actually still in bed at approximately the same time of night, we never use our front door either, and your son was in the Marines. However, I was woken up by my wife, who had just received a call from our son-in-laws mother stating that Allison was in the hospital and that we needed to get down there right away. My wife didn’t want to wait for me to completely wake up, so she took off for the hospital while I fully awoke, took a shower and waited for word from her. During that time, (about 30-40 minutes), all sorts of scenarios ran through my head; from she’d been in a car accident but she’d be all right to she was dead. I finally received a call from my son-in-laws mother saying that I needed to get down there NOW. During that 20-minute drive, all sorts of scenarios kept running through my head, but I somehow knew that Allison wasn’t with us anymore. I don’t believe I’ve ever shared what actually happened at the hospital with anyone, but if I have, it’s been here and I’ve only done it once…it’s too painful to think about, much less write about.
As I’m sure you’ve discovered, this is truly a unique place and one that can be a comfort for you if you let it. The people here are kind, understanding, and most importantly, patient. Kelly has done a wonderful job with providing a place for grieving fathers to have a place to come to tell their stories and share their feelings, however hard that may be for some of us.
I think you’ll find , as I did, that by sharing your story with us, it will aid you in the healing process. It wasn’t until I found this site and starting sharing my experiences, (about 3-4 months after Allison’s death), that I actually starting feeling “better”. Whether it was through the actual sharing of my story or through the process of organizing my thoughts and putting them down “on paper” that facilitated that process, I don’t know, nor do I care. The point is, is that I feel better having done it.
Perhaps one day I will feel comfortable to one day share my experiences in the hospital that night, perhaps not, but if I do, it will be here.
One last thing, being retired Navy, I know of the many resources available to get information about anything related to the military. I am sure you are in good hands, but if you EVER need to find out something and are having a difficult time finding it, please let me know and I will try to help in any way I can.
I look forward to hearing the rest of your story and from my family to yours, we offer our condolences and prayers.
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share and hopefully help someone that is going through a similar situation. I write daily and will share as much as I am able to. Thank you again.