Losing a child is the hardest thing you will ever do.
You would trade places with your child. In an instant.
But you can’t.
Instead, you ask questions, and there are no answers. Only silence.
You miss them. You love them. But that doesn’t change the fact that you can no longer hold them.
The crushing weight of their absence sits heavily on your chest. Every. Single. Day.

Those that have not lost a child cannot understand your pain. A pain so profound it goes to the core of your being. You feel isolated and alone.
But you are not alone. The road is filled with other fathers like you, trying to survive. Trying to find their way. Any way that points them to a glimmer of hope.
You deal with guilt. You deal with shame. We are fixers, but this cannot be fixed. Only processed.
A dad’s job is to take care of his family. You were your child’s protector. But you couldn’t protect them, not from this, the unthinkable.

Now you’re consumed by grief that no one wants to talk about. A grief that refuses to be ignored.
You know that you’re not supposed to grieve like this. It’s not what you’ve been taught.
Society told us from the time we were young: Toughen up. Take it like a man. Big boys don’t cry.
Let me tell you, men DO cry. It’s essential, the pain must be released. We must take time to mourn.
And asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness.
It is a sign of courage.

You never get over it. You never have “closure,” whatever that is. But you can get through it. Not beyond it, but through it. It is forever apart of your life.
Although painful, you fight to keep your child’s memory alive. We hang on to our memories and ask others that knew them to do the same.

Over time, I’ve learned that this grief is not the enemy.
This pain isn’t something to be conquered or fixed.
Over time, the pain gets better. Less intense. More about love. Less about pain.

The love never goes away.
You never stop loving them.
You start living your life to honor your child, and that gives you hope.
You can survive the loss of your child, but you will be a different person.
There is no going back to the old you. How could you? You know too much.
This kind of pain and love changes you forever.


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User Comments ( 14 )

  • Oscar Urbina

    just lost my 15 yr old boy to police brutality. Please all you dads out there lets pray for each other. Im dead inside.

    • Hi Oscar. I am so sorry for the loss of your son. Yes, lets all pray for each other, we need it. Sorry for the delayed response, my blog want sending me email notifications when someone posted. Its fixed now. I am here if and when you need me brother.


  • Craig

    thank you for that. your words speak of how Ive been feeling for so long. I wish i could connect with more dads in NZ who have been through what we have.

    • Craig – I could send a special post out and email to contacts in NZ if you would like me to. Where are you located in NZ? I would love to come there and speak to a group of dads.

      Spend as much time as you need here on this site.


  • Brian Scher

    Last September 15 my son succumbed to a rare genetic diesease. He ibherited a mutated gene from his mother and I. It was heartbreaking to see the decline over the years his body took. From being practically 100% independent to being 100% dependent. Cognitively his mind was sharp as a tack which made it even harder and more heart breaking to hear him ask why his body has stopped working. For him it is a blessing that he is no longer in pain and off the machines and medications. He is in heaven doing all the things his body stopped doing. We always told him we would be okay eventually and I know my wife, his twin daughter and myself will be. We just take our “New normal” as we call it one day at a time. I, we, go on knowing that is what our son would want us to do. To go on living. I miss him everyday and never thought being a father would turn out this way. I remember the good times and bad because it is and always will be a part of our lives. I gain strength from him because of how strong he was to endure all he had to go through in his short 13 years of life. I feel everyone’s pain that is in a situation like this and know you aren’t alone. As much as it may feel at times.

  • Dana

    In my unbearable grief over the loss of my son, I came here to be with other men, like me, who had lost children….It was a good 6 months before I started to get help via group therapy and individual therapy. The main thing I learned from the beginning was that you were absolutely right that no one can tell you how or how long to grieve…Embracing this reality can really help you manage the overwhelming grief.
    It’s not an answer, but it can help in times or periods of unrelenting grief.

  • Barry Davis Jr

    I can somewhat empathize. My daughter is disabled for life from a stroke. The child we had is gone never to be back again. No matter what new therapies or technologies come out that can restore the damage the neurons will never grow back the exact way they were. Memories, personality, and functions are gone.

    I still carry guilt. With my educational background I should have pushed for an MRI. We believed the dr when he said no need for an MRI statistically speaking. I took it instead of being skeptical.

    I also feel it happened because of me. I was devastated when we found out we were having another girl. I was like I don’t want her. I want a boy, can we change her out. I feel like this was karma. You didn’t want her ok I am going to make you miss what you had. This is the hardest guilt to shake for me.

    • Brian

      I too have felt guilty over what happened to my son. Because if i didnt have that mutated gene he inherited from my wife and me the he would’ve been completely healthy. You can’t blame yourself for what has happened because it is not your fault nor is it any one else’s.

  • Ray

    My ex-mother-in-law was visiting and was moved to tears by a small act of kindness I performed on her arrival. My ex later told me that her mother said, “He is kind because he has the wisdom that only comes from the kind of loss he has experienced.” So I thank my late son for making me a better person, albeit the hard way. Thanks, Kelly, for your hard-earned kindness and wisdom.

  • Paul

    It has been 7 years since my son Nicholas died. He was 21 years old at the time of his death. Like all of us on this website, not a day goes by without us thinking about the loss of our son or daughter. I so wish I could share life and this World with him.

    Do our children still exist in some way? No one really knows, but I pray that one day we will be reunited.

    May grace, peace, and love be with us all. Rest in peace my beautiful Son.

    I love you always,

  • Steve Platt

    You say the things we all feel and need to hear over and over. Been 6 years. Still so painful. But changing a bit. Thanks for telling the world what we feel. Miss you my sweet daughter Jeanne……

  • Thom Gonyeau

    Beautiful words, Kelly. Thank you for voicing the real-ness that Grieving Dads live everyday.

  • Evan

    Thank you Kelly. This is spot on. Completely captures the feelings. Thank you.