I know it’s been awhile since I have posted something on my blog, but for some reason have been struggling with things to say. To be honest, I am getting to the point where I feel like I have said everything I had to say. I apologize to those that depend on me for insight into what they are feeling, especially the newly bereaved or those who have recently found this blog. I can assure you that there are previously posted topics that I did write about that connections can be made with. Not to mention the men that has continued to post on subjects and offer support to the new comers. I appreciated their help with reaching out to the others that need it. As I have said before, there is healing in helping others. This isn’t a post to say I am done blogging on the topic of men’s grief, not even close. I will continue to post on topics that strike a chord with me; you just never know when those will occur.
I have transitioned my focus to conducting training workshops to help caregivers on the front lines understand the pain bereaved parents feel and how to help these individuals, especially the men. If you are aware of any organizations (hospitals, not-for-profits, hospice, chaplain organizations, funeral organizations or military loss groups) that would benefit from the training I offer, please let them know about my full day and ½ day workshops. Who better to train these individuals on parental bereavement than someone who understands the impact all too well?
I have also been focusing my time on the Farley-Kluger Initiative (www.FarleyKluger.com) to changing the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to include the death of a child as a reason to qualify for the benefits allowed under this existing law. I still find it hard to believe that you can take 12 weeks of unpaid time off when a child is born, but when that child dies, you only get 3-5 bereavement leave that your company may or may not provide. We were in Washington DC last week to meet with over 40 legislatures in the House and Senate. I am happy to announce that a Bill was introduced in the House by Congressman Steve Israel (NY) and Senator Jon Tester (MT) while we were in DC. Very exciting indeed, but we still have a lot of work to do. When need help from others that are willing to help us fight for this Bill to make sure it gets passed to help others. We hear it only has a 10% chance of ever becoming a law. Which would be the case if we were the only two people working on it, we need help. If you are interested joining us on this, please contact me. We have a strategy to get other elected officials on board to support these Bills, but need help implementing it.
I just wanted to give an update for those who thought I have disappeared from this blog and was just laying low hanging out on my couch watching TV. There has been lots of exciting things going on and I appreciate all of the encouragement I have received. Those that have read my book know that one of my messages is “find a purpose to honor your children” and I believe everything I do with and for bereaved parents are a direct result of losing Katie and Noah. I am honored to have been able to help others and to sit with/speak with them when they are the lowest point in their life.
Here is an example of why what you are doing is great work. I signed the petition, I asked friends, family, and associates to sign. This is for you!
February 19, 2013
Thank you for contacting me about the Parental Bereavement Act of 2011 (S. 1358). I appreciate hearing from you.
As you may know, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced S. 1358 in the 112th Congress. Among its provisions, this measure would ensure that employers provide up to twelve weeks of leave for employees grieving the death of their child. Under the Family Medical Leave Act (Public Law 103-3), parents are currently eligible for unpaid time-off to care for family members, newborns, or adopted children. I understand the importance of job security while allowing parents adequate grieving time and value knowing your thoughts on this measure, which was not considered before the last Congress ended. Although similar legislation has not yet been introduced in this Congress, please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind should it be reintroduced in the 113th Congress.
Thank you again for your correspondence. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.
U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania
I just discovered your site this week, and found great inspiration to move forward.
Reading your post blog tonight, all seems hopeless. And that’s how it goes…who else understands what we go through day by day, or for those if us further along the journey….week by week. You fall, and you get back up…with time, things get brighter, (as everyone unqualified to tell you, tells you), but you discover this yourself anyway.
Eight months into my journey that started in hell, I reckon you will get there. Keep talking to men who had to deal with what you had to… not one experience will be the same, but the test on us men is very similar in almost every case.
Keep in touch with the people you need to.
Regards from Sydney, Australia.
I too have been brought back to some semblance of life as a result of this blog and your book, and for that I am eternally grateful.
I used to check these pages almost daily. At first it was to express the pain I was going through, then as more Dads starting posting of their recent losses, I found myself trying to help them cope, all the while reliving my pain through them. As the second anniversary of Allison’s death approached in December of last year, I realized that I couldn’t help anyone if I wasn’t helping myself, so I turned off all notifications of recent posts except for yours, hence my reply. I seriously needed to take a step back and re-evaluate where I wanted to go with my life.
Although it’s still an uphill battle, I’m happy to report that I’m feeling much better. I’m finally beginning to feel like I want to engage life again. I’m looking into taking some courses to improve my work skills, I’m starting to get my woodworking shop in order, and life in general seems to be improving somewhat.
So take all the time you need to recharge, then get out there and do your thing, whatever that may be. What you’ve started here is self-perpetuating, there will always be people here to help guide the lost souls…myself included from time to time. Rest easy in the knowledge that what you have created is helping a lot of men to know they are not alone, and that there are others who are willing to help.
Speaking of help…I’ve signed the petition for the Farley-Kluger Initiative. I’m not sure what else I can do, but whatever it is, let me know because I’m very interested in getting this bill passed.
Thank you for all that you have done for me. I highly appreciate it and will forever be in your debt.
Quite frankly, we were getting tired of you after all this time anyhow. 😉
Seriously though, we have talked many times and giving yourself a break is often the most healthy thing you can do to help heal the soul. Kick back, enjoy the break, and recharge the batteries. There is a lot of life left to live and a lot of good left to do, but it will all be there after a short hiatus, so enjoy the relaxation time.
Quite frankly Steve, I have no idea who you are or remember any conversations with you. Accept of course when I interviewed you for my book and the multiple phone conversations. But other than that, I have no idea what you are talking about. 🙂
I like you last sentence. There is a lot of life left, sometimes i need a reminder to take a step back and breathe. My Type A personality kicks in most of the time so i feel like if I am not doing “something” than I am a lazy.
I can say, I have taken your advice over our several conversations and taken up some new hobbies I have always wanted to do. Photography and biking to name a couple. I get bored if I sit around to long and feel like if I am not learning something I am missing out and losing out on time. So your comment of slow down and realize there is plenty of time to enjoy and accomplish.
Thank you for the update. I want to thank you on behalf of all those who have been a reader of your blog an book. For me the thoughts that you expressed helped me to realize that I was not crazy in the things that I was feeling and certainly not alone in my grief as a man. Our lives have been changed forever. Now the struggle is to learn to live with what lies ahead. Some days the thought of that is paralyzing to me and I am sure so many others. Peace to you and your wife.
You are welcome!!! As far as those thoughts being paralying, yes, I still have those days of questioning thing like what am I going to do with my life, what if I fall back into the depths of despair, how do I continue doing things that honor my children, etc. I think its just another part of this life long journey.
What we have been through opens our eyes to life and how fragile it is. We have been through the very worst and survived it. I can tell you, some do not, i know this because I have lost some dads that could not carry on. The pain became to much for them to endure. I try to keep everything in life now simple, while controlling the stress where I can. I could easily take off to a much simplier life, which I may do some day. It gives me peace knowing that is an option if I ever want to go in that direction.
Thank you for your comments.
To all: My son didn’t die on a cross, but his death taught me so many life lessons that I know would not have occured without. Each one of us carries with us the memories of a child who forever changed our lives. In my case my son was a real challenge while he was alive, now I look back at my reaction to certain incidents and I come away with another way to deal with todays life events. These children were all here for a reason. Cherish them and remember their goodness.
Well said Scott. Always hang on to the “goodness”.
Grieving, mourning, recovering, and then “remapping” your life, as Jean so aptly put it; is exhausting — physically, nmentally, and spritually. I am new to this, just 15 months, but I think it must be a long, enduring, torturous, and endless process.
With all that you have suffered at a time when you were also giving so much of yourself to help others, I can only imagine how you must feel.
I hope you take time for yourself and choose thos things that are best for you, while you continue to heal.
It is exhausting on all levels but also part of my own healing by helping others along this path.
I am sorry you find yourself apart of this brotherhood. I think we are all on our own similar paths. I am just fortunate enough to be given the strength to reach my hand out to pull others along. It took me years to get to that point, but man am i happy I still dont live in the depths of despair where I once did.
Sometimes one must take a break from his endevors and stand back to view and marvel at what he has created. I haven’t written much on my on blog; not as I have before. You have saved many fathers lives and sanity, mine amongst them. The burden you carry is just and good, but perhaps it’s time to rest a moment, kick up your feet, and recharge.
Your words “you have saved many fathers lives and sanity” kind of hits me hard. It helps me to continue to confirm that the work I am doing matters and at the end of the day, thats all I can ask for. I work a regular job where I don’t feel like my work matters and it doesnt make the impact or give me the satisfaction that this endeavor has given me.
It is time to recharge a little and give greater thought to what my next full step will be in life. What ever it is, i will not be to far away from the bereaved parents that need me and an advocate to fight for them, what ever that fight looks like.
Thanks for the conversation tonight! I look forward to meeting you when you come to the Philly area. If I could recommend Neil Young’s “Comes A Time?”
Comes a time when you’re drifting
Comes a time when you settle down
Comes a time feelings lifting
Lift that baby right off the ground…
To me the lyrics give some insight to our process as daddies and as men.
You know Kelly from my own personal experience and that was 12 years ago there does come a time when we have said all we can say… its not so much the insight anymore but what we are doing to propell ourselves forward… we need to remap our life and that is where you are at right now… you have sunk to the bottom and now you’re on your way up… trust me you are still the light for individuals but now you have grown and you are shooting forward… assisting and helping many people…thank you for all the work you do and God Bless…now its time to let the world know about the positive things you are doing.. and you may want to even amend or change your website….hugs tonight…XO
Thank you for the kind words. There is a sense that I am letting others down by not spending as much time on my blog writing as I use to, but I know it is time to move on to others things, bigger things that make a greater impact in ways I will not know. I have certainly sunk to the bottom and yes, I am on my way up. A lot of that has to do with the work I have been doing with the Grieving Dads Projects. But like you said above, it is time to continue remapping my life in ways I have yet to understand or imagine. Peace.