Kelly D. Farley (Bereaved Father)
(630) 561-5989 (Call Anytime)
I just wanted to honor all the me and Dads who let themselves grieve; and I am so sorry for your loss.
My husband and I lost our baby boy Nathan Joseph in February. Joseph (my husband) has been incredible in supporting me and has been so so strong. I can’t imagine the pressure men feel when things like this happen to support rather than grieve. I wanted to say how beautiful it is for you to let your self grieve. There is healing in it. I also want to thank you, because your blog now shows my husband that he is not alone.
You Dads are my heroes,
Love, a grieving wife and mother.
Thank you for your book and this site. Just read the book this week. It’s good to know that so many of the things I have been thinking and feeling are shared by so many others. The not being suicidal, but not caring if I lived or not hit home. It’s been a year and a half and I still find myself not giving a damn. Some days I just ask God why he hasn’t taken me yet.
Luke – You are welcome for the book and the site. I wish you had no need for either of them, but happy that they are providing you some level of support and understanding of what you are dealing with emotionally.
As you know, this is a tough road to travel and one you wouldn’t wish on anyone.
The subject of not being afraid to die is a very common theme that I hear when I speak to others. You’re right, most of us are not suicidal, we just don’t care.
Keep showing up here and keep reading the book when you need to feel like you are not alone. Each time you read it, depending on where you are in your grief, you will connect with something.
Wishing you peace my friend.
Kelly, how are you my friend. It’s been a long time since you’ve heard from me. I still think of you and all your suffering and what you did for me and my family. By putting my story in your book.I was able to keep my job on the Long Island Railroad. Thanks to people like you who gave me faith.a lot of this happened since I spoke to last. Unfortunately, I’ve been to more than 1 funeral were young person is died from drugs. Its been 6 years since I lost my daughter. In that time, I tried to help out the grieving parents. Even though I haven’t spoken with you in awhile, I will never forget you. My home phone number is 631 209 1059.
Thank u for the book. Read it cover to cover. It help me understand and cope…thanks to the fathers and you who shared your painful stories. I agree we have so much in common yet we grief our individual losses. My son Andrew passed on 3/14/14 Age 23 while I was arriving from Brazil. He was dead in his sleep. How I was lookimg forward to watching a movie with him and enjoy his company. I am broken’ my heart is dead. I pretend things are better but the are not. God bless all of you in our sorrow.
Berto – You are welcome for the book. The book took me two years to write and publish, but it was worth the journey because I know how many people it has help and continues to help.
As I mentioned in your other post, I am sorry for the your loss. It sound like you and your son were close. I know the pain in your broken heart. You don’t have to, nor should you, pretend that things are better, because they are not and wont be for some time. Your heart is broken, seek and find the support you need to survive this impact.
We are here. Peace. Kelly
I was just re-reading a few chapters of hour book. It’s amazing how much we grieving fathers have in common though we have never met.
You could randomly place my name throughout your book and the stories and feelings would be accurate.
Thanks again for a great resource. I re-read chapters often.
It is amazing how many things we all have in common. I’ve heard it several times while interviewing these dads and have sense heard it from other grieving dads that have reached out to me. It helps us all not feel so alone in our journey.
You are welcome for the book. It was part of my healing and I can only hope it starts other dads on their path to recovery.
Thank you for sharing your story. I am a bereaved mother. My daughter Casondra died 26 years ago at the age of 21 months. I am entering my advanced year in a Masters of Social Work program (MSW), and my goal is to pass licensure to become an LCSW and provide clinical therapy, especially to the bereaved, and I have an interest in Medical/Hospital Social Work. Last semester is when I became involved with the policy process through my social policy class, and I have been following HR 515 & S 226 since.
My Masters project will involve support for bereaved parents, siblings, & grandparents within my community.
I appreciate having the opportunity to get to know grieving dads because mothers & fathers grieve so differently, and in some ways I dealt with my grief for the first 10 years by not dealing with it, just like a lot of dads do. It’s also helpful for me to understand how to reach out to dads too.
The one year anniversary of my son’s death is coming up in a few days. I know this is a very personal thing for each one of us but can someone share their thoughts on how to mark the anniversary of death?
I knew the anniversary was coming up but other than dreading it, didn’t think one way or the other on marking the day with any event.
People have been asking me “are we going to do anything on Thursday?” My sons friends have asked, even my daughter asked if we had planned anything for Thursday.
Can anyone share some things that may have helped them deal with an event lie this?
You are correct, it is very personal, but I can share with you some things that I have done or others I know have done. We typically take the day off of work to reflect and celebrate my children’s life. My children’s birthday and death day are the same day so we will typically buy a cake/balloons and have a birthday party. We have made charitable contributions in memory of them, planted trees (one of my favorite) in my yard or park districts. I like the fact the trees will be there long after I am gone and their name lives on. We have also sponsored a child in need Guatemala when she was 5 and will continue to help support her and her family until she is 18. Possibilities are endless. Find something that you can connect with, that makes you feel closure to your son.
Thank you so much for being here. I am new to your wonderful community and I wanted to share this elegy that I wrote for my son. He died in utero 4 weeks ago. I think this captures our experience very well and comments on how we will honor Sebastian’s memory. It is entitled “For Sebastian’s Sake” and it’s my honor to share it with you.
Our sixth month journey was clear sailing
Mama held you in safe harbor
Our arms anxiously awaited you
Our swelling hearts concurred
Then darkness fell, devastation swept through
Your tiny heart went silent
Shock, disbelief, heartbreak shook us
Like benign clouds gone violent
That you would be born in silence
Became our unwanted reality
Death’s cold, unrelenting fingers
Gripped with senseless brutality
Five hours we beheld you and witnessed your beauty
We ached when you had to depart
But your sweet angel face, tiny fingers and toes
Were marked indelibly onto our hearts
Losing you, sweet Sebastian, has fully consumed us
A torment of which there’s no escape
Our spirits lay waste, depleted, despondent
As a sobering future takes shape
Willing hands and tender heart touches
To parched souls have been like cool sips
How vital it is to have such connection
A needed buoy while coming to grips
Tears often flow, both bitter and sweet
Someday I suppose they’ll subside
Even then we shall continue speaking your name
Longing for the day when we all reunite
And what of others who face such loss?
These waters are treacherous and deep
Their chances of making it through seem bleak
Without a knowing shoulder on which to weep
In reaching out would we not feel
Agony rip into us anew
To relive the nightmare each and every time
We carry another family through?
But to not would hedge on selfish, perhaps cruel
How could we withhold empathy?
No, hand-in-hand we shall tend broken hearts
While honoring their small one’s legacy
Yes, there is anguish acknowledging that
Your potential shall never be known
But your lesson to us was to foster connection
From our hearts where your sweet love was sown
So for us, there will be no back to normal
A new normal we must undertake
We are the same family, yet forever are we changed
And shall carry on…for Sebastian’s sake
It has been 2 weeks since my sister and her boyfriend lost their baby girl (Raidyn Rosemarie). They are both so heartbroken as is the rest of our family and friends. I have been reading a number of sites and blogs that I had hoped would help us all through this nightmare. I am thankful that I stumbled on to your Site and made sure to share it with my sister and her boyfriend. I pray that it helps them both through this dark time.
Thank you for your efforts to help others deal with such heartbreak.
I just finished reading your book. It has been 2 years, 2 months, and 24 days since my younger son died in an accident at home. My life changed that day forever. I still mourn and always will, but I do find the greatest of comfort in being able to share with other dad’s who share the same loss, that of losing their child. I would be very happy to share with others as I not only feel the need to help, but it also helps me. God Bless you for what you are doing.
Thank you for giving fathers a place to talk, there are too few places out there for us. Only a dad can know what losing a child means to us as fathers, our stories need to be told.
I saw your ad for branding help on Elance. I just wanted you to know that I applaud you for being a real man. I plan to submit a proposal, but can’t until after the 5th. I simply did not want to pass up the chance to tell you that your story is beautiful and I admire what you are doing.
I attended a meeting of Compassionate Friends last night. Today is exactly 9 months since my young son committed suicide. One of the things I brought up at the meeting was the proliference of sweet messages for grieving Mom’s–but little for a Dad. Today, our group founder discovered your site–and it is such an inspiration. There are many in the group who are male–and while a Mom’s pain may be a bit different–a parent’s pain is just that. It takes two to have a child. And both hurt. Thank you for your site. I know it will help many! My heart goes out to you….
Thank you for the note. I am so very sorry for the tragic loss of your son. Words cannot explain the pain you feel inside, I know this, because I too am a bereaved parent.
This site and my book has reached people around the world. It gives me great internal satisfaction that my work is able to reach so many people and hopefully provide them with a glimmer of hope.
Please let me know if I can be of any resource to you or the others in you group.
Wishing you peace in 2013.
first off i would like to express my deepest condolences to your family for the loss of your children. I am a newly bereaved father myself. I lpst my daughter Mackenzie dec. 29-2011. She was 5 and riding her bike she got for christmas, four days earlier. She was on the sidewalk when a man backing out of a driveway ran over her killing her instantly. Her sister McKaylin (4) was in the yard also and witnessed the accident. It’ll be a yr this holiday and its been a horrible journey so far. See my birthday is dec 28th and that was the last time spent with her. Your book, yourself, and the many men who helped by sharing their stories have been a godsend for myself. My parents buried my brother at the tender age of 20 and they can relate also. I know by watching them that it will become easier down the road, but your book shed alot of perspective and helping knowledge to make that unbearable journey we all unfortunately share. So i wanted to say that i am grateful and thankful that there are people like yall in this world who carry a sense of role modelness for the rest of us. it is with your book and words of hope and power, that we will be “ok to live again”. Forever Changed 12-29-11
Your story breaks my heart. I am so very sorry for the loss of your sweet little girl Mackenzie. I know you are trying to cope with a lot of “stuff” over the next week. Chirstmas, your birthday, anniversary of her death. Not to mention the guilt that all of us are so good at inflicting upon ourselves. I wish I could say something to take away you pain, but we both know that is not possible.
I hate the fact you have a someone you can look towards in your family that has also walked the path you now find yourself on. It’s a long jounrey, but you are not alone, there are 10’s of thousands of other dads out there that have also lost a child.
I am happy that my book has provided you some insight and hope into this dark journey. You will live again although it will be different than before. You will smile and laugh again, but without the absense of a heavy heart. Allow Mackenzie to live through you. Feel her spirit and continue to make her proud of her daddy. Allow her life to live through yours.
I am hear anytime for you, know that. Others are also available to you on this site. Let us help you on those days you need it.
Wishing you peace.
I really wanted to thank you for your generous gift yesterday, it really warmed my heart to know that there are such kind people out there during this holiday that are willing to help feed a family that is struggling. I cried in the car on the way back home. Tears of happiness that there are such wonderful people out there still in the world that are willing to help. Thank you so much and I hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving filled with lots of love. Me, my husband Jamil and Isabella thank you!
You are welcome. It was truely my honor to be able to help.
I just stumbled upon your sight looking for others who know the loss i feel. the 27th of this month it will have been two years since i was forced to see my 3 yr old son die. I would love to know how you guys keep strong. i have a daily struggle still like im in shock and no idea how to loosen the weight of it.
I found your site last week sometime. After reading some of your posts, I ordered your book. The book showed up on Thursday, I finished it yesterday. Father’s Day.
I wish I hadn’t read it.
I wish I didn’t need to read it.
I wish you didn’t have to do the research to write it.
I wish you hadn’t felt the need to write it.
I wish you hadn’t experienced the losses of your sweet children.
I am so very glad you wrote the book, though. I don’t feel quite so alone with my thoughts. It’s somewhat comforting to know that others are thinking the same as I am.
My son was born with HLHS (hypoplastic left heart syndrome). We spent a lot of time at he hospital. He had several open heart surgeries in his first 18 months of life. At 22 months, we received a heart transplant.
He had his ups and downs along the way, but for the most part, he was doing very well.
April 7, 2012, all that changed. One minute he was playing with his little sister. The very next minute he was dizzy and nauseated. He laid back on the bed and was gone. 11 years and 4 months old.
I miss him so very much.
Thank you for letting me know your thoughts on the book. I know its a tough read and I too am sorry you have a reason to read it.
So very sorry for the loss of you son. No one should ever have to feel the pain that have been inflicted on you and every other grieving parent out there.
Let me ask you this, knowing what you know about the book, would you read it again?
Thanks again for the feedback.
Would I read it again?
I already am.
Yesterday, I picked the book up again, this time with a blue highlighter and started marking up some of the thoughts and paragraphs that really strike a chord with me.
Thank you, Kelly. Thank you very much for putting all of this together.
We are members of an exclusive club, that nobody wants to be a member of. We lost our 27 year old son Michael, to suicide January 22, 2012. We never knew so much grief, pain, anguish, and intense saddness could ever envelope us.The hardest part was picking out his clothes for him to wear for the last time. My wife and I could only remember how we used to dress him when he was a toddler. We’ll never get over his loss. We miss him so much.
Thank you for your efforts to help us cope…
Paul and Norma Cicci
Paul – I am sorry you find yourself apart of this club. It is no doubt a brotherhood of men trying to find a way to survive.
I am so sorry for the death of your son Michael. There are no words i can say to erase your pain, I wish their were. However, I do know pain you speak of all to well. I too had to pick out my babies clothes and I remember hiding behind clothes racks so others didn’t see me crying while I was doing it. Tough tough stuff Paul.
Thanks for sharing your story. I am here if you need me and feel free to call or email anytime.
My wife actually found your site and it is amazing. I recently started a Facebook page for grieving fathers (like myself) but it is slow in starting.
My wife and I lost our son in 2006 due to PUVS (posterior urethral valve syndrome). He was born at 22 weeks gestation and lived for 15 minutes. In my hands he passed away. I have been working on a book myself since then but have not been able to publish (mostly due to money). I have been a strong part of SHARE Athens GA, SHARE Atlanta and March of Dimes.
I have shared your link on my Facebook page.
I just wanted to say Thank You for getting the word out there about fathers who have lost.
Michael – I am sorry for the death of your son. I too lost my son at 22 weeks and I was able to hold him in my hands. I know the trauma and pain of saying good bye to your child after you just met him. Never time to get to see them grow.
Thank you for sharing my blog on your Facebook page. I have also shared your Facebook page for others. Thank you for staying involved with Share and helping others that follow in our footsteps.
I stumbled upon you while looking for support groups. We (my husband Cody and I) lost two – one miscarriage at 11 weeks, another stillbirth of our son. Coming up on one year for the son we lost. While the day to day is no longer suc a struggle, the weight we carry is still so very great. Our marriage has been through the wringer as my husband refused to share his grief with me and left me to grieve alone. I am glad to have found you. I think he could use some support from a fellow Dad. Sometimes I think he feels he can’t share everything with me because he is the Dad. That he thinks he has to be strong, provide for me; that he feels guilty for not being able to protect our son. I’m bookmarking your page for him.
Thank you for reaching out to me. I am sorry for your losses.
To be honest, I reacted the same way your husband Cody responded. I wouldn’t talk about the pain or what I as thinking. My wife would want to talk about it and I would try to avoid conversations about the subject. I didn’t want to face it. I thought I could run from it, but it caught up with me through late night visits to ER because I thought I was having a heart attack but it was anxiety. I was finally brought to my knees in a way I never thought would happen to me, severe depression. It was tough and scary because I couldn’t control it. I finally decided to face it head on and it has helped me a lot.
Please let Cody know that I am here if he ever needs to talk to another grieving dad. Feel free to call me.
My name is Nan, my husband is Mike. I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter and son, my heart breaks reading another story of someone who has to go through this terrible pain or loss and infertility. I found your blog today and want to thank you for putting your thoughts out there to support other men. When we lost our triplet girls in March 2009 (I was 20 weeks pregnant), my husband spent most of his time picking up my pieces and staying strong for me. After a while of being underground so to speak, I finally noticed that Mike didn’t have anywhere to go, but that I had found a wealth of help for women on the internet and found my network of support and am forever grateful for it. I wanted to have the same thing for my husband though, and found nothing. I asked him if I could create something and put it “out there” and if I did he said he would try it. So in 2009 I created a forum for men who have lost children and put a link on my
blog, asked other women to put the link on their blogs, etc and tried to get the word out. Mike tried, he really tried, but no one else really did. I had about 30 people on there that never said anything except, a few. I gave the entire website to Mike and never once logged on to read a single thing, except “stats” because I wanted it to be his private very own soft place to fall. Unfortunately I decided to delete many inactive users that never wrote (making sure they werent women!) and now I am down to 13 who posted at one point but havent for a very very long time. I really wanted to get it going for him. If you are interested in looking at the forum (linking to?) or my blogs, feel free to see the links below. Again, I am so sorry for your losses, and thank you for putting your feelings out there and making other guys not feel so alone.
Sincere hugs to you and your wife, Nancy Reiber
http://perseveringtobecomeanearthlymommy.blogspot.com/ (warning – living child mentioned – she’s our rainbow baby and the struggle to get her too)
I also have another email, its email@example.com
As far as thanking me for my blog and its content, you are welcome. It has been a healing process for me as well. To be able to share some of the dark stuff that I went through and to hear others travel the same path helps everyone realize they are not alone and they need not travel this road alone. There are others that will walk along with them.
I also want to say I am sorry for the losses you have endured. I know the pain of lossing a child all to well.
Please let your husband Mike know he (and you, there are women who follow this blog as well) is welcomed here anytime. I’ll take a look at your blogs and add them to my blog roll.
Thank you for the note.
Just wanted to let you know Thomas Calvert who had lost his son to heroin & submitted a writing to you that was published, gave up his battle on 10/8/11 & is with David now. I know how much your conversations meant to him but he could never get over the loss. Thank you for your compassion & understanding that you gave him.
You’ve and your website have been a huge support for me. I posted this on another blog and felt I needed to share it here, too. Thanks, John
I was out-of-sorts the day before yesterday. The day just didn’t feel right. I was not in the mood to listen to anyone talk about pretty much anything…I wanted to be left alone.
Part of it had to do with a schedule change at work; I was going in at an unusual time…all in preparation for the plant to begin 24/5 operation. I was recently hired back at a company I dearly love to work for, but had been forced to shut down due to the economic downturn, (I call this my dream job because it’s such a great company to work for). I had anticipated coming back to work for them for a long time, and when the opportunity arose I jumped at it with gusto. It had only taken two years and six months to get back to where I was before. But I wasn’t really back in the same place I was before. Oh, the faces and friendships were still in place, but something had fundamentally changed.
Following the plant shutdown, I held two different jobs. At both jobs I initially felt I had the potential to grow as a maintenance professional, but both proved otherwise. To be fair, I did actually learn some new skills from both jobs, but the working conditions were not optimal, to say the least. I was marking time until the dream job came back.
During this time of upheaval, my daughter’s life seemed to be progressing quite well. She, Allison, had a good secure job, a good husband, and they were planning a family. My wife and I lived almost 100 miles from them at the time and it was decided that we should move closer to them in case a baby actually came along. The house sold faster than we anticipated and we were forced to store all our belongings and move in with our daughter and son-in-law.
Heh, heh… talk about marking time! But seriously, while there were some issues, we worked them out and my wife and I hunted for a house close by. We finally found one, and while we were waiting for all the paperwork to be done, the four of us celebrated Thanksgiving 2010 together. It was on that day that we learned that Allison was expecting a child, a true gift to be shared an Thanksgiving Day!
This is the moment in time that, in my mind, slows to a crawl. I’ve dissected the next 32 days over and over. You see, within two weeks Alllison lost the baby. She seemed to be recovering nicely, both physically and mentally. On the morning of December 27th I had occasion to visit her at her work. We spoke and things seemed well. A little over 12 hours later she was dead from some strange rare disease that no one could have foreseen. She just fell asleep and never woke up.
The day before yesterday was the 7th month anniversary of her passing. It was also the due date of her unborn child. Unlike my wife, I don’t mark that anniversary. It’s an unpleasant, vaguely grotesque memory for me. I don’t mark my brother or mother’s passing either. I went through an emotional hell when my mother died and I feel afraid to pass through that void again. As a matter of fact, I refuse to do that right now.
Nonetheless, my subconscience says otherwise, and I think that’s why I felt the way I did the other day. It’s marking the time for me because it knows that someday I’ll come to grips with it….maybe. But the point is that I miss my baby girl EVERY…SINGLE…DAY…so marking time has no meaning to me. Anniversaries of any kind are irrelevant because they do not change a single thing.
Marking time – Does it really matter?
Heh, heh… talk about marking time! 🙂 But seriously, while there were some issues, we worked them out and my wife and I hunted for a house close by. We finally found one, and while we were waiting for all the paperwork to be done, the four of us celebrated Thanksgiving 2010 together. It was on that day that we learned that Allison was expecting a child, a true gift to be shared an Thanksgiving Day!
I have been following your blog for a month or so and I would like to tell you thank you. My wife and I recently have lost our little angel Zayana Grace after 16 wonderful weeks. Yours and the stories of other have really helped me in my grieving process. It has helped me to see that I am not alone and that what I am feeling is normal. I am happy to not be alone but sad to see that I have so many brothers in grief. Thank you again for all your words. I will continue to follow yours and all of our brothers stories!
First and foremost, I am so very sorry for the loss of your sweet baby girl Zayana Grace. As you know there are no words I can say to erase the pain you feel inside.
I am happy to hear you are finding some comfort here on this blog. You are not alone, although as guys we feel that way at times because many of us do not talk about it.
Thank you for sharing you story and for following this blog. Know I am here anytime you need to talk. You can find my cell number/email on the contact page.
I found your blog recently and just wanted to say how wonderful it is to get a glimpse into the mind of a bereaved father.
At 28 weeks my husband and I lost our first child together: Elyssa Kalani. She was born into Heaven January 31, 2011. It has been such a struggle and it makes it difficult not knowing what goes on in my husband’s mind. We are working through everything day by day through all the ups and downs.
This Father’s Day I wanted to do something special for my husband. I kept coming up with blanks until the night before Father’s Day when I thought about buying a star and naming in after our daughter. I did that and before showing him the certificate I gave him a poem that I wrote. I want to share the poem with you and all the other angel daddies out there:
No matter what you do
No matter where you are
I am your angel up above
Watching you from afar.
You are the best daddy
I love you so
And I miss you even more.
I can’t wait to see you, Daddy,
When you come to Heaven’s door.
But until then, please remember
I’m always here with you.
Whether I’m peeking from behind the clouds
Or on a star shining down upon you.
I’m no poet or anything (obviously!) but I know as a bereaved parent myself I love reading poems and thinking about what my angel might be doing up in Heaven.
I hope you had a wonderful Father’s Day! Thank you for all that you do!
Thinking of you,
Thank you for this website. This is my first visit. After 8 months of concealing my greif, it has, in the last 6-8 weeks consumed me. My 2nd child Audrey died after 11 days from pre-term delivery. I have told my wife that she is “haunting” me of sorts. I don’t mean this bad, but I am consumed. I have faith and we have our first daughter…this is great!. I just have alot of catchign up to do on the greif cycle.
All my best,
You are welcome. I am glad you found us here. I am very sorry for the loss of your daughter Audrey. I understand what you mean by “haunting”. The thoughts of the situation and the time I spent with my two babies stayed with me for a long time. These thoughts are still with me, but the haunting pain of the situation has been replaced by the loving thoughts of them and how proud I am to by their daddy.
I am glad to hear that you acknowledge that you have been concealing your grief and that you have a lot of catching up to do. Know that we are here when and if you need us.
I lost my child to SIDS on March 2, 2011. He was just two months old, and I started counting the days I had nightmares, and he too was “haunting” me. Now it has been two months since he died and while the wound is still very open and very raw, I learned one very important thing that may help you. Do not try to catch up on your grief cycle…allow it to catch you instead. By that I mean to let you mind and body have the reactions they are having, and allow yourself to feel every feeling, even the most horrific ones, so that your entire being can come to accept, understand, and then let go of the negative and haunting thought that are consuming you. You will find that it is a difficult journey, but once you start coming out on the other side, your grief will have found you and you will come to peace with it.
If you ever need to talk, please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org
I wish you peace and healing.
Thank you for letting me know how much this has helped you. Hearing this keeps me motivated to keep doing what I am doing. I don’t want anyone to ever feel alone in their grief like I did. It is a scary palce to be by yourself. There are thousands of us out there, we need to do what it takes to lift each other up when we can.
Maybe your chance encounter wasn’t by chance. Maybe you were supposed to me the person that you connected with in order to find us here.
Please let me know if there is any topics you would like for me to discuss or write about here.
I just wanted to let you know that you and your site and your posts have helped me a lot. I don’t feel alone. There were things said by you and other people in their posts, that needed to be said to family members, friends, associates, that were verbalized better than I ever could. (Grieving bill of rights, parents want their child to be remembered by name etc..) I learned of you/your site in a chance meeting with a Christian in Florida who was experiencing a bad time and God brought us together for 20 minutes to help each other. Anyway, thanks again.
My name is Kevin Burgess. My son, Braeden was diagnosed with neuroblastoma on May 15, 2007, the day before his second birthday. He fought valiantly for 23 months before passing away quietly in my wife’s and my arms on April 18, 2009. As we approach the 2 year mark, I feel the pressure building again. The months of April and May hold many significant dates for our family. Between his birthday, diagnosis, surgeries and eventual death, these months are two of the most difficult in the year. Within the pain, my wife and I have become passionate about childhood cancer awareness and spend our time doing what we can to get people involved.
Personally, I have a passion for grieving people, especially Christians who are wrestling with their faith after the death of their child. I’ve started a site called “Free to Grieve” that seeks to clarify what the Bible really says about grief. I have come to understand that there are several myths that Christians have embraced as truth when it comes to what God and the Bible say about grief. These myths are causing a lot of guilt and are compounding grief for people. I’m hoping to help people see these myths for what they are and, like the name of the site indicates, give people the “freedom to grieve.”
While I’ve started the site, I am struggling with energy, motivation and the ability to bring ideas in to fruition. I am glad to have stumbled on your site today, because it has helped me put my grieving in perspective and understand that this is normal. Thank you for what you’re doing! My wife and I are heavily involved in a grief group and I’m going to pass your site on to the other guys there.
The medical Examiner’s office finally came through yesterday with a cause of death for Allison, but with both good and bad news. I did some research into it myself late last night, but finally gave up and went to bed. However, Sean (her husband) actually talked to the ME’s office. Because I believe it CLEARLY outlines what happened to Allison, I would like to share it with you.
Yesterday I got the final and official cause of death for Allison from the medical examiner. Copied directly from the ME website:
“Cause Of Death: SUDDEN DEATH ASSOCIATED WITH HASHIMOTO’S THYROIDITIS”
I did a lot of research on this yesterday and after talking with the ME and going over the autopsy report, this is what I figure happened:
The thyroid is a gland that produces a hormone and is located in your neck. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is when the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormone. When it isn’t producing enough hormone it can greatly reduce a woman’s chance to conceive, makes it extremely difficult to lose weight because the body converts food into energy at a greatly reduced rate, and the lack of hormone can cause all of your bodily functions to slow down – including brain function and heart rate. This is evidently extremely hard to diagnose and find unless you are specifically looking for it.
It really isn’t that big of a deal unless you get pregnant from what I understand. During the first 10-12 weeks of pregnancy the fetus isn’t producing its own thyroid hormone so it draws from the mother. If the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormone AND the baby is sucking what hormone you have, this can be bad. It almost always causes miscarriages unless hormone supplements are provided, which makes sense since Ally had a miscarriage. The symptoms of a miscarriage and low thyroid are almost identical as well, extra bleeding, muscle fatigue, aches and pains are common with both.
The good news, if there is any, is that the doctors think that her hormone level got so low the night she died that she just gradually slowed down and came to a stop. They described it to me like she would’ve gotten extremely tired, lied down, and just fell asleep and her body would’ve just come to a stop.
The bad news, is that there is a much greater than 0% chance that essentially the thing she wanted most in the world, to get pregnant and be a mom, set off a ticking time bomb in her body that caused it to shut down. What’s even shittier is that this is easy to treat, a simple hormone supplement every day, but like I said, nearly impossible to diagnose unless you are specifically looking for it.
Thyroid issues are a genetic thing, I found out after the fact that Allison’s grandma had thyroid problems, but didn’t know that until yesterday. So – if you are female and have thyroid issues in your family, get screened for this. The chances of it causing death are EXTREMELY low, but evidently it can happen.
I am hoping this can answer any questions anyone might have and give me a little closure, although I almost wish that it would’ve remained unknown. I would’ve been happier with that than knowing that the pregnancy could’ve had something to do with it.
I almost have to agree with Sean in his last paragraph. It’s been almost 3 months since her death and I was just getting resigned to the idea that we would never know the cause. But that moment has arrived, a final determination of cause of death, and another emotional hurdle that must be dealt with.
I just learned about this yesterday and my son-in-law Sean just wrote his words today, so I’m still processing it. I suppose I could get angry and ask, “Why didn’t they catch this when she was pregnant?” But what would that prove…nothing.
No, I firmly believe that Allison felt tired and laid down “just for a second”…and never woke up again. No one person, group or entity is responsible for her death, it just happened.
Finality…of a sort.
I am so sorry for the delayed response to this information. I was out of town for a few weeks and I am trying to catch up on some older posts. I know you were stuggeling with not having the answers to “what happened”. I know it’s hard to hear the facts when they do come it. The spawn off another set of questions. We will always have questions. I know I do.
Thank you for sharing your (her) story with us. I hope it helped just a little to be able to share what had happened with your daughter. Please let me know if you need to talk. I am here!
I was sent an email by Share regarding the petition. (www.nationalshareoffice.com). I not only am a support group leader in Kansas City, but had a miscarriage 11 years ago. Currently I have 1 dad coming the group along with his wife, and may have another couple attending as well. I will definitely be giving the dads your information. I have also posted information regarding the petition on my blog in hopes to add more signatures. Thank you for what you are doing, and if you need any assistance at all, please don’t hesitate to let me know!
Karen Dunn (Miscarried Mom)
Kelly- thought I would share something with you that I had read.
An affirmation for Those Who Have Lost
I beieve there is no denying it: it hurts to lose.
It hurts to lose a cherished relationship with another, as well as a significant part of
one’s own self.
It can hurt to lose that which has anchored you with the past, or that which has
beckoned you into the future.
It is painful to feel diminished or cut off or abandoned,
to be left behind or left alone.
Yet I believe there is more to losing than just the hurt and the pain.
For there are other experiences loss can call forth.
I believe that courage often appears, however quietly it’s expressed,
however easily it goes unnoticed be others;
the courage to be strong enough to surrender,
the fortitude to be firm enough to be flexible,
the bravery to go where you have not gone before.
I believe a time of loss can be a time of learning unlike any other,
and that it can teach some of life’s most valuable lessons:
In the act of losing, there is something to be found.
In the act of letting go, there is something to be grasped.
In the act of saying “goodbye,” there is a “hello” to be heard.
For I believe living with loss is about beginnings as well as endings.
And grieving is a matter of life more than of death.
And growing is a matter of mind and heart and soul more than of body.
and living is a matter of eternity more than of time.
I believe in the promising paradoxes of loss:
In the midst of darkness, there can come a great Light.
In the middle of despair, there can appear a great hope.
And deep within loneliness, there can dwell a great Love.
I believe these things because others have shown the way–
others who have loast and then have grown throught their losing,
others who have suffered and through their suffering found new meaning.
Finally, I believe whoever we are, whatever has happened to us,
we are not alone.
We are accompanied, day after day,
We are held, night after night.
We are connected, both here and in eternity.
–James E. Miller
I am a speaker / author and have a new book being released in April, “Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? A Companion Guide for Couples on the Infertility Journey.” A Mommy-in-Waiting, who shares her story in the book, sent me the link to your blog. I’m so glad to know about this resource specific to men. I am blessed to have some Daddies-in-Waiting share their story in the book, and I do address couples on not just mommies. I do an online newsletter, and as I publicize the book, I will refer dads to your Grieving Dads Project. Blessings on your work, Janet Thompson
Thank you for you kind words and for sharing your book project here. I also appreciate you sharing this blog with other grieving dads. There are so many out there that don’t have access to support or even realize there are other grieving dads out there that have been through what they are dealing with. Best of luck on you book! I’ll stop you your blog/site and say hello.
I am so very sorry for the loss of your son Graham. I know how difficult it can be on this journey.
Thank you for reaching out to me and this project and for reaching out to help others that feel hopeless,regardless of their situation. I am glad you found the project, it has reached 1000’s of people so far and it continues to grow everyday.
Feel free to contact me anytime.
stumbled upon you via Twitter… Pastor Brian Cox follows you-
I am a Father of three boys: John  , Graham [9-in heaven] and David .
It has been a little over a year and a half since our boy passed… we are making it-surviving-looking to help others. There are folks everywhere who need help-we never knew how much we would heal by helping others who feel hopeless.
Looking forward to reading more about your experiences, efforts and success.
Ken-Lake Forest, California
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