“Honored” by Kelly Farley


Before the deaths of my children I was never the person to have a life mission of helping other people.  I never really thought about it, I guess you could say I was selfish from that standpoint.  If someone needed help and asked, I was there for them, but I never went out of my way to seek out people in need.

The one thing that the death of Katie and Noah taught me was that there are a lot of hurting people in this world.  Most of them you will never know because they keep it to themselves as a way to not burden others.  I was that person for a while until I needed help beyond what I could provide myself.  Once I opened my mind and set aside my pride, I allowed others to help me.  Strangers I had never met before were the first ones there when I needed someone to pick me up at that moment.  If it was not for these people, I would have never survived on my own.  I decided to make it my mission to help others when I could, especially when it comes to the death of a child.

I got the idea to write my book Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back as a result of a 10 minute conversation I had with a guy I hired to do some temporary work for me back in late 2009.  Come to find out, the guy needed me to drop him off at the bus stop.  After further discussion, he shared with me that he lived at the local homeless shelter.  I was a little surprised by this since I just so happened to be going there the following month with a men’s group that I joined after losing Katie and Noah.  I shared with him this fact and he looked at me and said “I lost my son in 1991”.  It was about this time I arrived at his bus stop and he needed to go to catch his bus, but his statement took me by surprise.  His comments stayed with me for about two weeks as I kept wondering if this guy ended up homeless as a result of losing his son.  I wondered this because I know what it feels like to be in the depths of despair after losing a child and I could see how one could end up in this situation if he didn’t have the support around him to help him.  I decided if this was the case, it’s unacceptable and I was going to do something to help others.  It took me a few more months to make the decision to start the www.GrievingDads.com blog and start writing a book for help grieving dads (and moms).

The decision to write the book and start the blog has had major impacts on my life.  I hear from people almost daily that thank me for creating both of them.  I have heard statements like “its people like you that help me live another day” and “your blog helps me survive”.  I don’t take these statements lightly, in fact, I am honored that I am able to make that kind of impact in others lives.  I have no doubt that the Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back book will help 10’s of thousands of people around the world.

I say these things because this last week I had a really surreal experience.  I had the kind of experience that gives you goose bumps.  To give you a little background, about four weeks ago I scheduled a physical with a new doctor since my doctor of 15 years decided to pack up and move to Oregon from Chicago.  When I went to this new doctor’s office, the nurse took me into the room and took my blood pressure and other vitals.  As we were talking, I told her I was working on my book over the weekend so I can have it wrapped up by end of April.  She asked me what type of book it was and I gave her an overview.  She said she lost a sister and her mom has always struggled with it and her grandfather lost his son and never talked about it, but has seen the impact it has had on her family.  I gave her my business card that has my blog information and told her to give it to her mom and grandfather.  This was the last of our conversation.

This past Thursday I started to come down with a cold which kind of pissed me off since I was trying to stay healthy before I leave for a much needed vacation next week.  Since I typically get sinus infections when I get a cold, I decided to head to the doctor on Friday to get on antibiotics before my trip.  When I arrived, the same nurse came into the waiting room and asked me to follow her.  When we got into the room she turned to me and said “I can’t believe you are here”.  I responded with “Do you remember me?” thinking she sees patients all day long and I was new to the office.  She said “I absolutely know who you are; I have been praying that I see you again.”  This kind of freaked me out a little, but I responded with “is everything ok”.  She said “No, my boyfriend’s 16 year old daughter was killed by a hit and run driver two weeks ago.  When it happened I immediately thought of you, but I lost the card you gave me.  I have been praying I would see you again and here you are”.  This is when the goose bumps happened.  We spent about 20 minutes talking and before I left, I wrote down all my contact information for her and her boyfriend.  She then gave me a big hug and thanked me.

I don’t know if I am the right person for all of the work I have been doing, but I will continue to take on this responsibility.  I am truly honored by all of you who write to thank me and find some sort of comfort, peace or insight into what I often blog about.  I am honored that 100’s of grieving dads shared their stories with me in order to create this valuable and much needed resource.  I am honored to be on this same path with all of you.  I would change it if I could, but that’s not an option, so we’ll continue to walk together.  People ahead of me reached out a hand to pull me along and I must say I am honored to reach back and pull others along with me.


Kelly Farley

This entry was posted in Agonize, anxiety, Bereaved, Brotherhood, Compassion, Courage, Crying, Death of a baby, Death of a Child, Death of a daughter, Death of a son, Debilitating, Depression, Despair, Devastation, Emotions, Grieving Dads, Grieving Dads Words, Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back, Honored, Hope, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Daughter, Loss of a Son, Pain, Peace, Survival, To the Brink and Back, Words of Encouragement. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to “Honored” by Kelly Farley

  1. Timothy Moran says:

    Hello Kelly,
    I stumbled upon your web site last week.So much of what I have read here is all too familiar. I lost my youngest son to an overdose of methadone on August 17th, 2008. He was 28 years old at the time. It was a crippling sucker punch when I recieved the call. My life hasn’t, nor will it ever be the same. His death has torn a hole in me right through my soul. I will never heal, the wound is just too deep. He was my baby boy. Always will be. The best advice I can give to any greiving father is this, there will be days that you don’t want to even get out of bed. But you have to do it. One way to make sure your child’s memory lives on is to face each day and honor their life and to make sure no one forgets them. My heart goes out to each and everyone of you fathers. Face each day as it comes, don’t look too far down the road. Focus on what is right in front of you, especially your family. If you have other children, tell them how much you love them every chance you get. Take nothing for granted.Best wishes to you all. Timothy Moran

  2. Pat Bultemeier says:

    Yikes….my message didn’t quite finish correctly….

    I typed that I had a similar WOW moment recently while painting on my house.

    I was in the front of the house, near a window and facing away from the strret. As I looked up to start painting again, I caught a reflection in the window of a boy riding a bike up the street. As I turned (inserting garble in above message in proper story) I JUST caught a second glimpse…maybe 2 seconds….of a boy…on a bike… and for that INSTANT I had that familiar recognition… cus damn…from the side/rear he looked JUST LIKE my son at about age 13-14….

    Needless to say…it brought me right to my knees and it took me a good 30 minutes to get my shit back together. WOW is right…..it just hit me like a ton of bricks.

    now i understand some of what you felt, kelly….

    hang in there, folks


  3. Pat Bultemeier says:

    I’ve been thinking about you guys. I’ve also been thinking about Graham and about another dear friend of mine who lost his son 18 years ago. His own experience & unwaivering friendship has given me a lot of comfort, insight, and reality over the last 11 months I would not have been able to grasp otherwise.

    Kelly had an entry awhile back where he spoke of being stopped in his tracks in a restaurant by a father who called out his (and Kelly’s) son’s name.
    My friend wrote to me recently and relayed a similar experience that I thought I would share here as well… he said,

    >>>>I had a “moment” the other day.

    I was at the store in the checkout line. I had my head down and some guy spoke out real loud and I swore it was Matt’s voice. I turned around in a snap to see a guy about mid 30’s standing there speaking out to the guy behing the counter, I turned back around and he spoke again….

    I had to leave dude. If that was not my son I would have bet my life on it right then and there. WOW factor…….WOW.

    I want to see him so bad now…. at 36 years old what would he look like? Who did he marry, if anyone? you know, its just something that willl be on our minds for the rest of our lives” <<<<just< caught a second glimpse…maybe 2 seconds….of a boy…on a bike… and for that INSTANT I had that familiar recognition… cus damn..from the side/rear he looked JUST LIKE my son at about age 13-14….

    Needless to say…it brought me right to my knees and it took me a good 30 minutes to get my shit back together. WOW is right…..it just hit me like a ton of bricks.

    now i understand some of what you felt, kelly….

    hang in there, folks


  4. Kevin says:

    Kelley, I just wanted to say thank you for your work and this site you started. Today isn’t such a good day, it marks the 9th month since Shanon passed away. I find myself becoming more agitated with the fact that there are so many people that I called my friends and others who refuse to speak to me or at the very mention of my son’s name completely ignore or change the subject. I just want scream “SHANON IS MY SON AND I LOVED DEARLY! SHANON LIVED! HE EXISTED! IF YOU WON’T ACKNOWLEDGE HIM THEN FUCK YOU!” I’m so tired of this crap; if you won’t acknowledge him I’m ok if we never speak again. I wonder why we are programmed as people that way. My son had a big heart and loved to hang out with just about anybody, didn’t matter if you were his age or older. I just can’t understand why someone would act like. I may not have been a perfect person myself but I tried to be a good person. I want people to understand, that when you lose your child it is absolutely the worst thing that could happen in parents life. We never just “get over it”; I carry that pain day in and day out. I start weeks with it and I end weeks with it. Shanon is the first thing on my mind when I wake up and the last thought I have when I fall asleep. To never speak of him to me is like the ultimate slap in the face. As a man, I guess I’m not supposed to cry and feel this way. But like my wife said to me, you wouldn’t cry if you didn’t love him. I do love Shanon and I will never stop, I will always talk about him, sure sometimes I cry when I do. But the fact is I love him so for me I just don’t give a damn anymore whether my friends can handle that or not. Those are friends I can do without.

    Sorry for the rant Kelley but it’s been building up.

    • Grieving Dads says:


      First off, you never have to apologize to me or anyone on this site for “ranting” or venting. Thats why this blog exists. I know you love your son and you should speak about him anytime you feel like it and you shouldn’t worry about crying when you do. You should cry, you just expereinced that worst possible loss that anyone can endure. If your friends do not understand that, find new friends that do. I lost a lot of friends (were still friendly, but I wouldn’t call them close friends) but I alos gained many more friends that are there. We often struggle with letting the “old us” friends go because they have always been apart of our lives, but generally only during the good times. My wife and I refer to them as the “good time” friends. I encourage you to attend support groups find others you can connect with and develop new deep and meaningful friendships.

      Rant and vent here anytime. I hope tomorrow is a better day for you. I get teh pain you are feeling and the frustrations with others not have the ability to help you. But rest assured, there are people that can help you.



  5. Grieving Dads says:


    Love your story. Thank you for sharing it with me and all of the visitors here at Grieving Dads. Its amazing how she is the one who pointed you to my blog. I am happy to hear that this site has helped you on this journey.



  6. John Geraci says:

    As we’ve said before, it’s terrible to get to know people from this horrible situation, but it’s so helpful to hear their truths and pain. And know that others suffer just like you.

    Today is the 9th month since my daughter Leslie died from colon cancer. And this has been a flippin’ downer; and after reading other comments on the one year mark, I am dreading that.

    If you lose a spouse you’re a widower. Lose a parent and you’re an orphan. But what do you call a father who’s lost a child? Fucked for sure, but desolate also applies.

    Man, I look ahead at the landscape of the rest of my life and it’s pretty bleak. Because while I know life is for the living and I have to keep going for Leslie’s sister and Leslie’s two kids, there’s always a hollow feeling to everything. Kinda like: What’s the point?

    Reading everyone’s comments helps. Thanks all who post here and Kelly absolutely.

    • Grieving Dads says:


      My landscape looked pretty bleak for a couple of years due to back to back losses. I get the perspective all to well. You have to find the point, some how, some way. But it takes time and 9 months is still early. I wish I could its about over, but it does transition slowly to a different place. A place you you strive to find a purpose for the remainder of your life. For me it was a little like a midlife crisis. I asked a lot of questions like “so this is my life?” and “How can I make a difference in someone elses life?”. These are questions I never asked before.

      I like your “fucked for sure” comment. That pretty much sums it up John.



  7. Glen says:

    Thank you for sharing this, the Grief journey os one that once we are on, we are on for a life time, but much like any journey it changes as you continue on. I truly believe when your journey is about helping others on the journey than you will receive the gift of knowing that maybe in some small way you will have helped another find the hope on this journey that you have found.

    • Grieving Dads says:


      You are correct, its a lifetime journey, but it does change as you get further down the road. I am thankful it does, because I would not have made it if I was still deep in the despair. I felt myself dying slowly.

      My path to healing began early on with making it about others once I was strong enough to not make it about me. I dont mean that in a bad way, we all need to spend time on helping ourselves before we can help others.



  8. Pat Bultemeier says:

    We felt that same crushing feeling Feb 17th on Graham’s birthday, Matt. We had planned to go to a friends house for dinner the next day but I was too distraught to bring that gloom upon their home even though I knew they would “understand”.

    I know the mission you speak of as well. Day-to-day….eyes open in the AM….there’s a millesecond of awakening…and then >the realizationagain<. Along with that is simultaneaous "Fuck" that comes out of my mouth to greet the day as said realization rips at my core.

    We're trying to honor his memory and are working on a few ideas to further that desire….but as we traverse (stumble) through all of this we see time and time again that while people "care", there's a superficiality and a fear present there that holds most everyone back….everyone that is…but the folks who can relate to the pain and the loneliness through their own loss. Yes, like you Kelly….and all the other tortured souls who find themselves here searching for answers of some kind to questions that never should be asked of them in the first place.

    Hang tough, Matt (and everyone else as well)…and know that while we have never met, I share your pain and will be thinking of you and Adam and your family this weekend.


    "light of the world, shine on me, LOVE is the answer….shine on us all, set us free, LOVE is the answer" Todd Rundgren

    ^^^^^^ we played this song at Graham's celebration of Life

    • Grieving Dads says:


      I remember waking in the AM thing. That split second before reality kicks you in the teeth. I am not sure how I managed to get out of bed some of those days. On some of them I woul dmake it to work, sit and cry for an hour and then go back home to bed. I just hung on to the fact that at least I got up, showered and made it to work. I had some strength and I tried to hang on to that when days became intolerable. There were a lot of them.

      Thanks for sharing.



  9. Matt says:

    My mission is just trying to survive, 3 days away from Adams 1st anniversary and I’m being crushed from the inside out. It’s ripping me apart all over again and I think I’m losing my mind, and I’m finding it hard to breathe the weight on my chest is just getting heavier.

    • Tim says:

      Matt, i’m so sorry. The first year anniversary of my 4-year old was about 7 months ago….it was crushing. Much worse than I thought it would be.


      Sometimes the best you can do is be crushed together. Being wrecked is an absolutely viable way of being….especially now, especially in the wake of your dear Adam’s one year absence.

      Peace (in whatever pittance you can embrace),


    • Grieving Dads says:


      I am out of the country right now on a much needed vacation, but I will be back late on Friday night. I will be available to speak this weekend if you need me. I want you to know that I understand that crushing heavy heave load that you are feeling. Its scary. I will say one thing that help me control my fear of what I was feeling. My counselor told me to “let it be what it is”. Everytime I would have those feelings early on I would fight it and try to run from it because it is so crushing. Use me (or anotehr grieving dad) as your cruth. I am here brother and I understand. My cell is (630)561-5989. I should be around all weekend. If I dont answer leave message and I will call you back asap. Peace. Kelly

  10. Dustin C. Duncan says:

    A mission,we all have one.
    Mine was to do the best I could for my wife and children, but,I was an asshole at times.Stress of life put me on edge.
    Then one day in 1 second, my life changed forever.
    We lost our daughter,Delana 18,and my sons fiancee,Rebbeca 20,our future dauhter-in-law.
    2 young ladys just going to see a movie,afternoon shower,curvy road,5 miles from our house, my son left right after them in his truck,he was 2nd person the scene of the accident,He had to see his sister an fiancee like that.both died instantly, he called me and said Dad there was an accident.
    OK, tears flowing now. it was September,24,2010.
    My Dads birthday.
    Delana and Dalton, my son,were both commuting to college together, Her, buisness major, him,engineering.
    He dropped out of school,but he has a passion for cars, and to customize.
    So my mission now is to help him any way I can.
    Kelly thanks for all.I am still going on another road trip this may in Delanas car.
    Check out,Street Dream Creations on facebook

    • Grieving Dads says:


      I too was an asshole at times. Not proud of it, thats just the way I was. Short on patients and often on edge because I thought what I was doing was far more important than others. But you are correct, it all changes in a second.

      Its ok that your tears are flowing, thats why I write the stories I do, so they help trigger the emotions so you let them out.

      Enjoy the road trip.



  11. Sarah says:

    What a powerful experience. My heart goes out to the nurse’s boyfriend and family. I had tears forming as I read this. While I wish you were not in the position of having lost Katie and Noah, it is incredible how you are helping others. It is obvious you were needed in the doctor’s office that day. Thank you for sharing this story. Sarah

    • Grieving Dads says:


      Thanks for your note. Helping others along this path is one of the ways I honor Katie and Noah. Being in that office that day was powerful, but I felt helpless at the same time because I wanted to take away her pain, but I cannot, I can only listen.

      I am glad you found the story engaging and powerful.



  12. Kelly,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I too see my mission as a responsibility, one I did not ask for nor was seeking in my life. The moment my son died suddenly at 13, I was presented with a very clear message about my mission. Although a “casual” believer at the time of my son’s death, I never experienced anything quite like this.

    Nothing in my life has ever been this clear and mapped out for me than my personal mission to protect kids against sudden cardiac arrest. Like you, God has given us tools, perhaps not knowing how to use them before the loss of our children. Now those tools are being used to help others- not just ourselves.

    I found a quote the other day from Plato I think sums it all up.

    “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

    The quote really put things in perspective for me- and humbled me at the same time. As bad as we have it, there is always someone else out there who is fighting a harder battle.

    We appreciate everything you do Kelly- I find solace in your words and parallels in your stories.


    • Grieving Dads says:


      Sorry for the delayed response, I have been out of the country for a week.

      I appauld you for keeping your mind open to the mission you are on. I think a lot of things are revealed to us during difficult times, but we do not always keep an open mind. They come to us in different ways, but embracing them and making a life that caters to others helps us find hope on some level.

      I like that quote. There is another one I like “Be the change you wish to see in this world” I think it Ghandi. Not sure, but I like it and it inspires me.

      I am glad you find solace and parellels in my stories.



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