There are several reasons why I wrote my book, one of those reasons was to help other dads (and moms) through the aftermath of losing a child.  The only way I knew how to do that was to be brutally honest with myself and with the readers.  I knew I had to force myself to be vulnerable and transparent, which was not an easy task for me.  The following is a message I received over the weekend from a fellow grieving dad.  I am humbled by how far this book has reached and the people it has touched.  Bruce and all the others that continue to reach out to me is the main reason this book was written.

“Good morning Kelly,

My name is Bruce and like you I am a member of this awful club. I lost my ten year old son, Garrett, in February of 2013 and the last 22 months have certainly taken me to the brink and almost back. “Back” would mean returning to where I was before Garrett’s death and I am well aware that I will never be “there” again.

I finished reading your book last night and I will honestly say I wish I would have read it a year ago. For the first year after Garrett’s death, I, like many dads, tried to be the rock and man up to the grief that was trying to attack my already destroyed world. I spent twelve months “faking it” on the outside while everything inside was in an emotional war. Finally I sought out professional help through a grief counselor to help me understand, cope with, and even invite the grief in. Had I read your book earlier, I would have understood this is normal, I’m not going crazy, there are others like me, and I certainly would have sought professional help much sooner.

Thank you for writing this book and helping so many grieving fathers like me. I hate the club that we’re in but I have grown to respect and admire many of its members. 

Thank you Kelly for what you are doing to help dads like me. I know your pain, I feel the same hole in my heart that you feel in yours, and I share your desire to help other dads with their grief journeys.

May God’s peace be with you and all grieving dads this Christmas season, Bruce”


How has Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back helped you?

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  • Jeff

    Mick, its been just over 5 months since the passing of my only son Bryce & I am no closer now than I was 5 months ago. Not an hour goes by that this void sits so painfully deep inside me. I know that we are not alone but knowing that other parents feel our pain only makes me feel more pain for all the parents that have lost a child. I pretty much go through each day the best I can & I am sure the intense pain from what I have been told sits right there in front of me day by day. I speak to the Lord, I speak to parents who have lost children, I try to stay active but its such a lonely painful void.
    I am thankful for many things in my life but really nothing matters much to me any more & I try to find some joyous moments when ever I can. If you ever want to speak please feel free to give me a call at 941-586-0752
    Just keep busy and keep on trucking as life is for the living and know that your child is in a better place so I am told,. We have to keep going . I am having a memorial Golf tournament in August which will mark one year of Bryces Death and his memory will live in me until I leave to join him. This I know & as we know there is no greater love than love of our children. Sorry for you loss and do the best you can. That’s all any one can do!

  • Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back – has helped me to understand that what i’m feeling and going through is “normal” in the sense that most dad’s feel this and it’s scary how some of the items discussed in the book are exactly what i have been through. I’ve been pissed at everyone at one time or another, broken my hand several times, turned to drinking as a way to dull the senses and nothing has really helped. I think rock bottom hit when i was arrested and jailed on a DUI about a month ago. This was eye opening. I got to spend a night in the same jail as the piece of shit that murdered my daughter. While most people in there at the time were sleeping, i paced from 11:30 pm until 8 am the next morning when i was bailed out. It’s been 29 days since i have had a drink. It’s tough. There are nights when i really want to just go to the bar play some music and enjoy some beer but i know it won’t stop with a couple, so i don’t do it at all. A lot of working and TV watching.

    I went to my court ordered victim impact panel the other night. The gentleman talking had been a triathlete when he was hit by a drunk driver and left with brain damage and paralysis. I did ok through most of the presentation until his sister got up to speak. She mentioned getting that call to get to Saint Francis as soon as possible and I began to feel emotional. She then mentioned how they put her and her family in the little enclosed room where nothing ever good comes from. That’s when I lost it. I didn’t come out of that room with my baby alive. She was lucky enough to still have her brother.

    I’m not sure what is next tomorrow, next week, or next year. The one thing i do know is I will never walk Kayla down the isle, I will never be a grandfather, and I will never be able to share in all the great things she would have done with her life. No one can ever give that back to me and for that i will always be bitter and never forgive. She was the one thing i always believed i did right in my life and she’s gone.

    • Paul – So very sorry you are a part of this club. I wish I could find a words other than “sorry for your loss.” I (we) know the pain you carry and its not easy. It is the most difficult thing one could ever endure. The pain is staggering and it does bring you to your knees.

      I am very happy to hear that my book has helped you not feel so alone on this journey and that what you are feeling is a “normal” response to a not so normal situation. I wrote the book because I also felt alone on my journey, like I was the only dad feeling that way. Once I started reaching out to other grieving dads, I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t alone. That realization help calm my fears a little.

      I want you to know that we are here for you brother and you can call me anytime if you need another dad just to vent too.



  • John Wolfe

    In three days it’ll be four years since the passing of our 23-year-old daughter. It’s not an easy time of the year for me, and these days it’s usually the only time of the year you’ll find me here. That’s because of several factors, not the least of which is Kelly’s book. I’d like to briefly tell you my journey. It may or may not help you, but it will help me.

    When Allison passed I was devastated…she was our only child and due to our age, there would be no others. Relatives descended from all corners of the earth (it seemed) and invaded my home. On one hand I appreciated them being there, to take the burden of taking care of my wife off of me and on the other hand I wanted them all to go home so I could take care of my wife.
    I knew I needed to talk about it to someone, but who? I didn’t know anyone who had lost a child, someone who would truly understand what I was going through. I spent days looking online for blogs and forums where I could vent my feelings, but could never find one where I could get an answer to my questions fast enough. I wasn’t a very sociable person at that time so going to groups ( had they been in my area) sounded distasteful to me. Most of the places I found online were mostly populated with women who had lost children, until I found this place.

    While I still didn’t get responses and answers as fast as I would like them, I finally found a place where I felt I could open up to a peer group that would understand what I was going through. Kelly hadn’t quite finished his book yet, but I pre-ordered it and in the meantime was convinced to seek out counseling. After talking it over with my wife, we settled on a counselor and began our sessions. We went about once a month for a year. At first I didn’t do much talking because I was more focused on trying to help my wife get through this than myself, but as the sessions went on I opened up more and more. I have to say that those sessions helped greatly, mainly because my wife and I attended together. Towards the end of the first year, Kelly’s book came out and gave me greater insight into my journey.

    My point to all this is nothing more than to add MY journey to your knowledge. If you’ve spent any amount of time on this site reading the various stories you’ll know that each journey through this hell is a unique one. I can’t explain it, but for me, reading each story on this website and in Kelly’s book gave me greater insight into my journey. It made it easier for me to accept the fact that the loss of my daughter had nothing to do with what I did or didn’t do during her lifetime, but rather that it was just her time to go. I can live with that now.

    Like Kelly said, keep trying different counselors, groups, blogs forums, journals…whatever it takes to get it out. Two of my personal favorites are 1) taking the dog out to a field and hurling a ball/stick as hard as you can and let the dog fetch…think while dog is fetching; and 2) go to a golf driving range and smack the living shit out of the ball…think between strokes.

  • Lkgaddis

    Reblogged this on Sophia's Story and commented:
    Amidst all the blogs I follow, I have found so few that are geared towards men. Poignantly written, it is worth a read. Men–fathers–suffer too. They are victims of such tragedy too. They feel sorrow, grief, anger, depression too. As a woman, I find the male viewpoint refreshing, insightful, and comforting. To know there are others out there who can relate to my husband brings a sense of relief, is humbling, and is immensely touching. We don’t all demonstrate grief the same, nor should we. Child loss is a lonely journey, yet no one in this devastating club is alone.

    For a fresh perspective, written with grace and honesty, please consider checking out this blog.

  • Mick – I am so truly sorry for your loss. We tried a session with a group called KISS when Jake died. It was mostly for people who had lost young children. We didn’t go back. I found that writing both publicly and privately in a journal helped me give name to the feelings I couldn’t speak about. Those first six months were hell, both internally and externally. I didn’t seek professional counseling but I did talk to several people who had gone before me and that helped tremendously. As has been noted, everyone grieves differently and at different times. Each of us needs different things. It is still early for you, time will bring new perspectives. It doesn’t take away the hurt, it just changes it into something you can manage. I wish you and yours peace.

    • Mick Honan

      I’ve read others talking about writing it all down in a journal. I think I will give it a go. Thanks again and sorry to everyone on here who has suffered these losses. As I said to friends when a child is born you feel a love you never knew existed, a pure unadulterated love….when you lose that child you feel
      an extreme opposite of that in relation to pain. That’s the only way I can convey to those who have not lost what this hell is like.

      • Mick, When my wife was pregnant with Jake, 25 years ago, a friend of mine made this observation: “You think you know what love is. You don’t. You don’t really know what love is until your child is born.” He was so right. And the other side of that is that the depth of our grief is a measure of our love. If that is the case, our grief is measureless and infinite. Start writing. For you. No one else has to see what you write. Write to your child too. I send Jake emails from time to time. It helps, a little.

  • Mick

    Its now been 7 weeks since my son passed, I tried two grief counsellor sessions…I didn’t get anything out of it all, I just sat there thinking “you have no idea, this is bullshit”. What did you get out of the counseling, how do you left the grief in? Is it too early for me to do this, is it a waste of time? I guess I am still at the don’t want to talk or see anyone stage, maybe thats why its not the right time to do this.

    • Mick – So very sorry for the loss of your son. This is a journey none of us wanted to be on.

      You are still very early in your journey. It will take you time to sort out the pieces and try to navigate the changes in your life as a result of this nightmare. It takes a long time and a lot of help. You are right, unless they to have lost a child, they have no clue. But, keep going, there is healing in talking about the stuff going on inside. The anger, sadness, despair, hopelessness, you name it, you will feel it. Talk about the deep dark stuff. It is not to early or a waste of time. I wish I would have gone a year before I finally set my pride and ego aside long enough to ask for and seek help. If you don’t like that counselor, find another one. Go to support groups, write about it, what ever it takes to get it out. The words are almost impossible to speak because its a topic none of us thought we would have to even discuss, but here we are. We are the “other” people that stuff happens to.

      I/we are here for you anytime. Keep talking to us. Keep asking questions. Peace.


      • Mick Honan

        Thanks Kelly, I will continue to read your blog and reach out when I can

    • We went to a few “counseling” sessions too. We, too, found out that those who haven’t experienced the death of a child just don’t “know”. Lucky them.

      While it’s not professional help, we found comfort in The Compassionate Friends. They had a chapter close to us and we started attending. The group is not professional help, but they all know what we know and have been where we’ve been. They can relate.

      • Mick Honan

        Thanks Kevin, we attended one of those sessions, I didn’t get much out of it but as you say at least they have experienced the devastation. I will give it another go for sure, pity they only meet once a month. Maybe I’m just expecting too much, looking for the magic answer on how to relieve the pain and emptiness. I guess there is no answer other than time. That in itself seems to drag on.
        Thanks again