Call it winter blues, a sump, depression or whatever else describes feeling like I’ve been feeling.  The last couple of months have been a struggle for me.  I know deep down it is all part of the “new me” that was created as part of losing Katie and Noah, but I still don’t like it.

I am nowhere near as deep in this shit storm as I was for years after their death, but it still impacts how I live my life.  The last six months I’ve been on a rollercoaster ride that consists of the old me highs to the new me lows and can’t seem to find a place in the middle that creates a level of peace.  I feel like I am constantly searching for that one thing that will bring me happiness but I can’t seem to find it and when I do, it doesn’t last.

I have always been an idea guy and get very excited when I come up with ideas that no one else has thought of and turn it into something.  It ranges from inventions, business models or public service initiatives.  I have had a lot of them over the last year but I can’t seem to hold on to any one of them long enough to follow through with it.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to “perform” and lately all I’ve been doing is going to work, coming home and sitting in front of the television or reading a book.  I know its ok to recharge and have some down time, but I can’t seem to allow myself to do it.

There have been a lot of changes in my mental health, personality, view of the world since the loss of Katie and Noah.  Some are good, some not so much.  I would say the two negatives are the emotional roller coaster rides and my inability to focus for long periods of time.  Before their deaths I was always full speed ahead and very focused on whatever it was I was trying to conquer at the time.

I know I’ve accomplished a lot over the last couple of years with publishing my book, this blog and starting the Parental Bereavement Act of 2013.  I did these things to honor Katie and Noah as well as to help others through the aftermath.  I didn’t do them for monetary gain, I had a different motive, to do something that Katie and Noah would have been proud of their dad for doing.

The following is a snippet from the “My Story” section of my blog when I started Grieving Dads back in 2009.  I haven’t felt that way in a while and need to find a way to get back to that mindset:

“I look and feel different now.  The stress of their deaths has sprinkled some gray into my hair and lines on my face.  It has taken a part of me that I know I will never get back.  My definition of success has changed.  I no longer feel like I am rushing around all of the time trying to prove myself to the world.  I am no longer the go-to guy at work.  I do my job, but I don’t do it as if I want to run the company someday.  I could easily be persuaded to run off to a simpler way of life.  I know Katie and Noah would want me to make a positive impact on other’s lives, which this project has allowed me to do.  The idea of helping others helps me.  Material things do not hold much meaning to me anymore.  Spending time with my wife and my dog Buddy is much more satisfying than working long hours to acquire material items that do not provide happiness.  I now know that it’s okay to show emotions and that it’s not a sign of weakness.  I prefer a quiet and peaceful life.  To be quite honest, I am fairly confident that even if I wanted to, I couldn’t maintain the same pace as before the losses, but I now know that’s okay.”

Seems as if I’ve lost the “I now know that’s okay” mindset and I trying to get it back.

How about you?  What kind of struggles have you’ve dealt with since the death of your child?

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  • Jeff

    Kelly, you use the same words I use to describe life after the death of a child – emotional roller coaster. I am an elementary school principal and that is a blessing and curse. I get the joy of being around the energy of kids every day. I also get to see all of the milestones that Easton will never reach – 1st day of school, holiday parties, graduations, etc. He should be turning 4 in May so next year’s Pre-school class will be a constant reminder of what my life would be like.
    Easton died 15 months ago after a 20-month battle with a genetic disorder. His illness and death changed me in so many ways. He taught me to cherish every moment with my family so I get home earlier now, I quit coaching high school softball so I can coach my other 3 kids. I, like you, can no longer focus for a long time on the long term projects – often, I just survive the day. The work ethic that has always been my strongest trait simply isn’t the same.
    My interactions with friends and family that “don’t get it” have diminished. The isolation of grief shattered the incredible bond I had with my wife – we are just now starting to repair that and pull together again. I haven’t been to church in months, but am much more aware of the spirituality of all faiths, and am a much more giving (monetarily and emotionally) person. I am more compassionate to those suffering loss, and much less forgiving to those who are upset by things that don’t matter. When they talk about having a tough day, I think “did you tell your children that their little brother was going to die today?”, “are you watching the woman you married disappear before your eyes, so overcome with grief that she simply has nothing left to give?” – if not, your day isn’t that terrible.
    I am a better person in many ways and truly understand the important things in life now, but would give anything to have learned this lesson without having to lose my beautiful blue-eyed, curly haired little boy.

  • Scott Neurohr

    I feel like I am constantly searching for that one thing that will bring me happiness but I can’t seem to find it and when I do, it doesn’t last.” This is the story of my life for the past 3/12 years. My wife and I lost our only child Kyle at the age of 20 in a car accident and I know now that no matter how hard I try and find the “Thing in Life” it really doesn’t matter as the only thing that would really make me happy can’t happen !! I haven’t given up on Life as I try and honor our son the best I can each day by understanding what now really matters in Life….family, friends, faith and just trying to be a better person each day. I use to preach to our son Kyle to NEVER,NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP and always follow your dreams and I know that Kyle would want us to life by those words in his honor.

  • George Harrison

    In 1974 we were blessed with twins; girl and boy. July 21, 2012 our 37 year old girl had a massive stroke. She survived 8 1/2 months. Every day during that period was a complete roller coaster with us from an emotional standpoint. The only thing that came me going, was knowning how hard it was for her to keep going. She tried to protect me by doing little things, such as covering her arm when I came in her hospital room for she was pralized on her left side. Always giving me that little smile and telling me she loved me. I asked God everyday to please heal my daughter, knowning that it could mean taking her as well. There is not a day that goes by without me Thanking God for healing my daughter and Thanking God for helping me mend my broken heart.
    My faith has helped me beyond all else, but I also look at things a lot different now. Material things mean a lot less to me, someone whinning about something stupid really ticks me off. My business is good but it does not mean the same to me as before her passing away. Her twin brother is my rock and I am super protective of him. This coming April 4 it will be one year since her death, but it in some ways seems like yesterday and in some ways seems like a year. I surely don’t want to die any time soon, but it does not scare me if I was told I would only have a short time left.


  • Kelly, it’s been a little bit over 2 years since loosing Jayden. Our careers went downhill. Reading your blog and a few other blogs have always given us the sense that we are not alone. And the there is someone that understand this horrific pain. There is always tears. There is a book we read that has given us much hope. We would love to mail you a copy. Just email us at the above email. And again I’m so sorry for Katie and Noah.

  • R. Allan Christianson

    It’s 5-1/2 years from the day my son was struck by an automobile. In many ways, he was the love of my life. We understood each other kind of automatically. I too have been lost and even fallen into very deep depression. He was unusually bright and clever with many friends and about to enter a very prestigious college on a full ride. So what can I do?

    Nothing really. I’ve become acustomed to him not being here though his spirit is and I can picture him sitting next to me right now. Having that is and can be powerful. One day, feeling the hurt so much, I driffted into caring even more, loving him more than ever. Now, when those times come, that’s what I do. I love him with all the strength I have. Love is more powerful than grief. Though I have this horific loss, I have a wonderful memory and companion. He would never have me give that up.

  • Kelly,
    Thanks for your emails. They seem to arrive just at the time I’m at rock bottom and show me that I’m not alone. And much of that’s because we’re all trudging down this miserable road called the rest of our lives together.
    I’m very much like you. Overall in my life there’s this shadow or cloud or just an all-pervasive sense that it’s all bullshit and doesn’t mean anything. Because even when I score a small victory, something that makes me feel good, or helps others feel good, it only lasts for a few brief moments and I immediately remember my daughter Leslie is gone. I hate this fucking life. And I know she’d be the first one to verbally kick me in the butt and say, “Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Don’t let my cancer take you too.” And while I know she’s right, it’s still hard to do.

  • Lori

    I lost my only child in April 2013..I am fighting a court battle to see my granddaughter..since they were not married I have basically no rights. .I have faced so much..god must think I am a person of steel