Tell Your Story

I started this project in early 2010 with the idea of creating a resource for men that are dealing with the death of a child.  I knew the outcome would result in a book that would be written based on the hundreds of interviews I conducted with these men.  One of the key take aways from this experience was the fact that men often times want to tell their story but are concerned how they will be perceived as “weak” if their emotions are shown, so they keep it inside.  Because of that, I decided to create this page to allow grieving dads and moms to tell their story in anonymity.  Please feel free to use this website as your outlet for telling your story.

595 Responses to Tell Your Story

  1. Mike says:

    Mark. Well said. My journey started nine months ago & I can relate to your words…..not the same words I would have said 6 months ago, but just where I find myself now.

  2. Kelly, thank you for this outlet. Other than an early couple’s group counseling session with other parents who lost a child, this will be the first time that I sit down alone and share my story. Matthew’s story. The story of a brave, courageous, funny, and loving 10-year old little boy. My son. My sweet boy. My best buddy.

    It will be two years already on March 23rd, and to this minute, I still can’t believe that he is gone. I miss him more than I could ever express. He had a grand mal seizure and went into cardiac arrest while on a nature walk with Mom and another mother and her two children. Matthew was diagnosed with epilepsy several years earlier, and as he grew older, the condition worsened and the list of medical options shrunk.

    Of course I wasn’t there. Like so many other times in his 10 years I was doing something else. Work trips. Conference calls. Projects around the house. If I could only have those moments back. The things I would do different.

    I got to the park (or greenway as it’s called here) screaming for some direction as to where Matthew was. A wonderful man told me they were about a mile in and gave me his bike. I never pedaled so fast in my entire life. All the while praying that the worst wasn’t happening. Asking God to help him. To protect him.

    The paramedics had trouble finding Matthew. Upon arrival, they did all they could and finally got Matthew to an ambulance and then the hospital. It took 47 minutes, but they finally were able to get a heart beat again. A testament to the grit and courage that made Matthew so special. And from there, he was airlifted to the children’s hospital here in Charlotte.

    In so many ways the time in the hospital seems so vivid looking back today. The machines. The tubes. The wonderful nurses. And in other ways, it’s a complete blur. We got there around 4 or 5pm, I guess, and at 1 or 2am the doctors were telling us that things didn’t look good. The length of time without oxygen to the brain was more than significant, and the brain was swelling at a rapid rate. Over time, this swelling would compress on the brain stem and would eventually shut down the body’s main functions. And as time wore on, that’s what happened.

    My wife and I were right there with him when he took his last breath. It was just a minute or so after the ventilator was shut down. Adrienne crawled into bed with him, along with Dori, his seizure response dog. I sat on the edge of the bed and the four of us were together for the last time.

    As I sit here today, the only way to describe any of this is that it’s so screwed up. It’s just not supposed to be like this. He’s supposed to be here with us. I was supposed to be with him today. Saturday mornings were the best days ever. He and I would spend the morning hours in our spare room. Watching movies on the iPad. Talking. Joking. Laughing. Cuddling. If there is one thing I miss more than anything, it’s those Saturday mornings. I wish I could feel him again. Tickle his feet. Smell his smell. Touch his hair. It’s a craving like no other. And just like that, it was snatched from me.

    And, as I sit here today, it’s those things that make it so hard to function. On one hand, I’ve never wanted something so much in my whole life. On the other, the thoughts of those things crush me. They cripple me. They make it hard to get out of bed. They make it hard to go on. But that’s all I have now…the pictures, videos, thoughts and memories. Every single time, to this day, they bring me to tears. And in some crazy way, the pain actually begins to feel good. It’s emotional and the emotions are powerful. They connect me back with Matthew through one powerful means. Love. Plain and simple. True love. Pure love. The kind of love that leaves a hole in my heart that I can actually feel every second of every day.

    So I face this really tough struggle. I need to get out of bed. I need to be able to function. To be on top of my work game and provide for my beautiful soon-to-be 16 year old daughter and the world’s most amazing wife and mom. And I’m OK with that. They mean everything to me. But it’s certainly hard. And the struggle is that for a large chunk of every day I feel like I have to block Matthew from my mind. If I don’t, I can’t function. I feel terrible about this. I feel guilty. It’s really hard to avoid the one thing that I would give my own life for. Does that even make sense?

    Part of me wants to say that I look forward to the day that I think about him with happy thoughts and content feelings. But on the other hand, that’s not what I want because that means I’ve accepted this. I don’t want to accept this.

    Anyways, thanks again for your commitment to provide a support structure like this.

    • Dave Schiller says:

      Mike you have this exactly how I see and experience it. The confusion of wanting to cling on to the heartache over blanking out your mind on daily duties!!
      Max my son also died age 10 and it’s such a fun age promising so much as you can see glimpses of the man to be inside the little boy. Max died from an undiagnosed heart condition HCM suddenly two hours after going to bed. The shock and the trauma is the hardest part to get over as I’m sure you know.
      Peace to you brother through this roller coaster ride. I’ve never liked roller coasters they make me feel sick!!!!

    • dmoore004 says:

      Mike – Everything you said rings loudly and clearly in my heart. My 23 year-old son, Sean, passed away 10 months ago. I have the exact same feelings that you described. I’m crying as I write this. Currently, I am unemployed…I had resigned my teaching position well before Sean passed away. I didn’t believe, at the time, things could get any worse. They did. The fight is all up-hill from here, for me.
      There are entire days which pass when I can’t really muster the will to get out of bed. I understand everything you said. The only comfort, for me, is knowing that I will pass away as well, some day, and I will no longer carry the burden of the pain which we both share. I do believe that there is a greater power – otherwise, we would not have to submit to the cruelty of this world. And I have nothing but hope that we will be re-united with our children…and, for what it’s worth, I believe we will be.
      In the mean time, I think we all live moment-to-moment, just trying to get to the next. God bless you…God bless us all…I will do whatever God requires of me to see my son again.


    • Robert Mehnert says:

      My son Ryan passed away right around 9 months ago. We were also with him when the ventilator was turned off and a little while later when he took his last breath. The pain is still sharp and, at times, feels like it will take over my life if I let it. I think it’s important to recognize that the grieving process is long and probably never ends – more of a journey without a real destination.
      I miss Ryan everyday, I have a deep longing for him that hits me all the time – to date, I have only had a couple of days without tears – and I’ve decided that that is just OK. We face a tough day tomorrow as the local Special Olympics program dedicates an important piece of equipment to him – a new cauldron that will be lit at all future competition in our town. It’s OK that events are difficult, I’d be worried about who I am if they weren’t. Anyone that doesn’t understand your tears or the difficulty of your journey, well, for lack of a better way to phrase this, screw ’em. Bottom line though, we do have to keep moving forward – for you it’s for your wife and daughter, for me a wife and son. I’ve tried to adapt to the following statement – We are not defined by the events in our life, we are defined by our reactions to these events.
      I wish you well in your journey – keep fighting!

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  4. Michael Campisi says:

    My son, Maverick, died by his own hand on June 17, 2016. He was three months shy of his 17th birthday. Charismatic, energetic, empathetic and social, he left loving and compassionate good bye notes to us and all his friends to be found. No warning given. Our only understanding is from forensically looking at 6 months of text/email trails with all his friends, interviewing all his friends and our documentation of his last 6 weeks (the period that he ‘turned the corner’). I wrote this two months ago. It can be shared. I have been told it has helped other Father’s find ‘their voice’ and words to explain their feelings. All I know is that I read it in my brain every day and it gives me a measure of relief.

    Where are you, my son?

    Where are you, my son?
    Is it a place you can dance?
    Are there never ending rainbows and sunsets in colors that entrance?
    Is the music what you like?
    Do the angels sing loud or is it so soft that it brings hush to the crowd?
    Do you have friends to joke and hang?
    Talking in your own form of slang?
    Is there food you like to eat,
    even if it only feeds your soul?
    Is it a place you can rest in a bean bag seat?
    A place you are glad to stay
    A world of endless peace, happiness and play

    Do you hear me say “Hi Maverick, it’s Dad, I hope you’re okay”
    On the dark mornings of my walks?
    And then see me look for a shooting star to tell me you are?
    My prayers for your peace are my greatest release

    I am sorry for my continued lectures in the early morn
    I sometimes get angry at you
    I have expectations for all my children from the time you were born
    Things I worked for with your every breath:
    Success, happiness and love
    That your past is a solid path of good things done
    and that nothing couldn’t be overcome
    My anger turns when I think of your disarming smile, blond hair,
    And how alone you walked your last mile

    Do you hear me speak to you outside the door where you left?
    I sit in that space and say you left for no reason
    about your mom, sister and brother:
    The things they are up to, the change of season.
    Always praying their grief leaves soon
    walking out with a choked voice in ruin
    and straightening out before facing them in the other room

    or when like now all alone I wander into your bedroom
    that place that was your protective shell
    just to remember our last talk
    just to remember your smell
    your “good night love you too” that told me all was well

    I remember your blue eyes, your smile and your infectious joy
    in my dreams during the day
    I remember your style, cutting your hair just so
    Buying you the shirt you had to have
    and doing your laundry to make it ready
    For the night’s events you always planned so steady

    How at you and your brother the girls would stare
    And how you would act like you didn’t care
    But surely taunt your brother with a dare
    Giving you money out of cycle when you were low
    We would both talk about how Mom would give us grief
    but we would conspire to make her laugh hoping she would give us relief

    Your Mom sees you in sunsets and rainbows
    You are so much like her
    Seeing the beauty in the simple things, sensitive to others, quick to smile
    and the first to point out an unfair
    She misses you so much I worry sometimes if it is more than she can bare

    Your sister and brother are working out their feelings of your loss
    They watch Mom and I wrestle with all the questions that start with “Why”
    Your brother sometimes burns hot, and you very well know why.
    He could have helped you, but reach out to him you did not
    You sister shields her loss too, wondering what would have become of you
    I see you in the colors of her new tattoo

    We see your friends now and then
    In their presence I have peace
    Their hidden sadness causes me to pause
    You meant a lot and gave much to their lives and cause
    For those times of you I am happy and proud
    For their loss of you my soul screams aloud

    Where are you my son?
    It’s me, your Father, your guide, the one with no fear of you and nothing to hide
    Just one of many that loves you
    One who hopes you found a place of peace
    Like my prayers requested
    A place where your worries are erased
    Like all my past words suggested
    Where people all know your name
    all the great things done
    and how proud I am that you are my son

    For now I have to leave your room
    I have talked and typed enough
    Oh, I will talk again to you soon
    Until then I will carefully watch over
    The other souls God entrusts to my care
    And the memories of you we all share

    Michael Campisi 10/2016

    • Kym Heffernan says:

      Beautiful words. Big hugs to you and your family

      • Michael Campisi says:

        Thank you. Maverick was very special to many people…..gratefully, they have surrounded us during Christmas. We have all reconciled that the pain doesn’t “get better”, it simply changes into “something different” that we are better able to manage.

    • Dave Contreras says:

      Very beautiful. From the heart, so much pain yet so much love. He is well. God has him home now. He is well.

  5. Jim Silverwood says:

    My daughter Kaitlyn died 4/26/16 of a sudden cardiac arrest while playing tennis something she loved doing for several years. We never even new she had a heart problem as she never had any signs or symptoms. She had just celebrated her 16th birthday and was two weeks away from making her Confirmation at our church. She was an amazing person and we did not know how amazing until hundreds of people from adults to children showed up at her funeral and told us what an impact she had on their lives. This is makes you proud as a father but also sad that she is not still with us to continue helping others. I miss her so much as she was not only my daughter but my best friend. I know they say that this is supposed to get easier with time, but to me my grief and depression seem to be getting worse not better. It is hard to even get out of bed in the morning and now with the holidays here and everyone you see is excited and shopping for their children for Christmas and it makes me miss Kaitlyn all the more. I do plan on getting your book and hoping you might offer some insight on how to survive this tragedy. Right now it seems like I will never be able to find joy in my life again.

    • GrievingDads says:

      Hi Jim. Thank you for sharing your story here on the grieving dads blog. I know what I am about to tell you is just words that do not convey emotion or compassion, but I really am sorry to hear about the loss of your best friend and beautiful daughter Kaitlyn. She sounds like someone I would have been honored to meet due to her kind heart and ability to help other people.

      The first several years feel like you will never find joy in life again. Some people do not. But many do. I am one of the lucky ones that can honestly say I have found joy again. Don’t get me wrong, there are still times (few and far between) I feel depressed or in an emotional slump, but I now I will prevail. This is a process which you will learn about in my book if you read it (encourage you to do so) and its unique to each person. However, there are a few constants that I have learned from interviewing thousands of grieving dads. If you haven’t done so yet, seek counseling, find support groups, talk about your loss, write letters to your daughter, etc. You have to find a way to get it out, talk about it, process it. I also encourage you to find a cause to honor your daughter and put your passion/energy into it. It will give you a person and put a smile on your daughters face. My book and my blog is that for me, I know Katie and Noah are proud of their dad and that brings me peace of mind.

      You are still very early in this process and I highly recommend that you learn to be patient with this process. There will be days you do not think you will survive (probably have already experienced this), but you will. You have to fight it. Its the hardest work you will ever do.

      I (we) are here for you and please feel free to contact me anytime.

      Wishing you peace.


      • Robert Mehnert says:

        Jim – I agree with everything Kelly says here.
        I lost my son Ryan on 6/12/16. I have done a couple of things Kelly mentions – I write letters to my son – most I keep private, just words between the two of us but I have shared a couple on this site. This really helps me sort out my thoughts. I have also kept up my work with Special Olympics (my son was a Special Olympics Athlete). This keeps me connected to friends who knew Ryan, knew of our journey and are there to support his mother and I now.
        Perhaps you can use Kaitlyn’s love of tennis to form a new event in her honor, and you could even use it as a fundraiser to support a cause or scholarship in her honor. It would give you something to focus some energy on – give you a reason to keep moving forward.
        The grieving process is long and probably never ends – more of a journey and not a destination. I miss Ryan everyday, I have a deep longing for him that hits me all the time – to date, I have only had a couple of days without tears – and I’ve decided that that is just OK. No doubt, this Christmas has been hard and we have more “first’s” that I am sure will be just as difficult. It’s OK that these are difficult, I’d be worried about who I am if they weren’t. Anyone that doesn’t understand your tears or the difficulty of your journey, well, for lack of a better way to phrase this, screw ’em.
        I wish you well in your journey – keep fighting!

    • Dana says:

      Jim – I feel the same way. I lost my son Sean May 2016, so, like you, I’m early in my grief, and all the things you say are present in my life. This website and Kelly’s book are the closest things I’ve had to grief therapy…and I was in bad shape before Sean died. I’ve finally got a PC doctor and have been referred, but the process takes so long that I believe the people on this website have kept me from losing my mind…It seems like such a long road ahead with an unbearable load, but I take it moment by moment – day by day. I’m not giving up. What I am giving up is the notion that I will live the life I always thought I would. I wish you comfort in this living hell.

  6. Glyn says:


    My heart goes out to all the other dads who have lost one of the most precious things you can ever have in your life, your child.
    My youngest daughter was diagnosed with Leukaemia in march 2015 and passed away in November, the day before her 26th birthday.
    I feel blessed to have had her in my life as long as I did, but nothing can ever heal the pain of not still having her there, but she remains in my heart and thoughts and I talk to her every day..
    It’s so hard to wait on special days for your phone to ring and to hear those magic words ‘Hi Dad’, so hard to accept that you’ll never hear them again.
    I am lucky to have had a wonderful partner and friends and employer who have supported me for the last year, without them I’m sure I wouldn’t be here to write this.
    To all of those other fathers out there, the pain doesn’t go, you just learn how to live with it, bless you all.


    • GrievingDads says:

      Hi Glyn. I am sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. Thank you for having the courage to share your/her story with us here. It is a difficult group to be a part of and everyone of us would gladly leave if we could, but we are all a par of this difficult brotherhood.

      We all cherish the time we had with our children, but its never enough is it. Both of my children died as very young babies, 10 and 11 years ago. I miss them everyday and wonder what they would have been like. I would love to hold them one more time and tell them how much I love and miss them. They impact my life on a daily basis, whether through my work with Grieving Dads or just me thinking about them.

      The intense pain doesn’t last forever, but it lasts awhile. Much longer than I expected. Its not a storm you can just ride out, its a storm you have to learn how to live with, navigate through. It will require you to learn to be vulnerable in order to let the pain our to counselors, support groups, friends, etc. This pain has to be released in order to “heal” from the intense pain. I can say it took me a lot of learning in order to get to this point, but I smile and laugh most days now. It took me years of processing the pain and loss as well as the impact on my life. I wish I would have surrendered earlier to the process of healing, but it went against everything I was taught as a young man growing up.

      Please know that you are not along, far from it. There are a lot of us out there trying to survive the loss of a child. We are all here to help each other when we can. Please continue to share your thoughts and feelings here. I encourage you to read my book (several times depending on where you are at mentally) to get an understanding of what others have experienced. Its hard hitting but it speaks the truth of this nightmare. I interviewed 1000’s of grieving dads in order to create this resource. If will give you comfort knowing you are not along.

      We are here my friend. Email or call me anytime.



  7. Kym Heffernan says:


    My heart goes out to you. Our oldest son Andrew was 23 when he was killed in a hit and run back on 26 May 2012. A very good therapist, friends and family have helped me navigate though the pain, put on a brave face trying to get media coverage to pressure prosecutors and government ministers to bring his killer taxi driver to Justice . Plus finally the trauma of reliving the details in a courtroom watching the man who killed him sit stony-faced but with the family he still has with him.

    It’s now almost 12 months since the legal part was concluded and my therapist is still a big part of my healing. I find it hard to talk to anyone else about I truly feel and can’t /don’t want to burden my wife who has so much pain herself to carry. Talking to my therapist gives me a safe space without judgement for me to express how I really feel. To express my feelings without the seemingly “why aren’t you moving past this ” looks from those who are well-intentioned but will never get it. Hang in there as many on this page have said it gets better. Now at least I’m starting to fell grateful for the 23 years we had with Andrew rather than the bitterness of how his life was stolen and the years we will never have.

  8. Dana Moore says:

    I had my first meeting with a therapist yesterday. It has been almost 7 months since Sean died.
    He was 23 and he died because he was having trouble sleeping…Someone whom he was probably trying to help gave him a Xanax spiked with Fentanyl, and he died in his sleep.
    Until yesterday, I didn’t have a path…I was grieving, but I could pretend I was the same guy as before just to get some relief from the pain.
    But now I feel differently. I can’t turn away from the fire that is the love for my son, and I have to accept that I am a different person. I have to stay on this path for the rest of my life…but the reason I am facing the fire is Love. It’s the only thing that is real, and it hurts as well as heals.

    • Bruce Friedman says:

      Dana – I’m sorry for your loss. Two weeks ago we passed the five year anniversary since losing our oldest son, Josh at the age of seventeen. Josh had a rare disease, so his death was not sudden, but still remains very difficult. It took me almost a year before I could reach out to a therapist. Kelly’s book inspired me to take that step as I realized that my friends and family could be supportive (sometimes), but really could not help me. Seeing a therapist has been a critical part of enabling me to live while still feeling loss. I’m fortunate that he knows how to listen and offer perspective at the right times. I used to see him every two weeks, now it’s about every two months. We don’t always talk about Josh, he’s been a good anchor in a lot of ways.

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  10. Craig Clarke says:

    This is my first post.
    My wife and I had a baby boy named Leonardo on the 24th oct 2015. He was born with a terrible tumour that started at his left hip and went down to his foot. It was shocking cause nothing was picked up in the scan. Anyway we’re going through his birthday anniversary which will be followed by his passing anniversary on the 23rd November. He hung in there for 1 month.
    So 1 year has passed and Im so messed up still. I dont know how to be. Im angry all the time. I struggle being at work because everyone around me seem to be so apathetic. The craziness is that I know in my head that their lives are just that, theirs. Why should they care? Its not there problem. Its been a year after all. But i seem to care that they should acknowledge what we lost. Maybe Im just a self centred person? I think i am sometimes. Some of my closes friends are at my work. Some have been amazing. Others not so.
    I dont know what Im really trying to say. I just want to connect with people how have similar experiences. Thats all i have to say for now. thank you.

    • applejack76 says:

      Craig, I found some comfort in joining groups that you can relate too. Check out the MISS Foundation and see if they have a group near you. No one can relate to the pain of losing a young child but other parents that have. I hope this finds you and helps.

      • Craig Clarke says:

        thanks Greg. I’ll have a look around. I think Im ready to start seeking some help – i think so anyway. Thanks again.

  11. Dana Moore says:

    This is not a reply to any previous posts…I haven’t been able to figure out lately how to post something I just want to get out. If anyone can correct me, please advise, but here it is: 2 nights ago and 6 miles down Rt. 89 South from Burlington, VT, 5 high school kids were hit head-on and incinerated in their vehicle…You may have read about it.
    I won’t compare the magnitude of the shock they absorbed on that night to any others, including the shock of my own son’s death.
    They may be searching for fellowship and understanding in any of a number of ways. If they come to this website, I want them to have the heads up that I’m just a few miles away, and it would be my honor to serve their needs in any way I can. I wish them strength.

  12. Dana Moore says:

    I finally woke up and put this webpage on my Favorites bar for easy access. You were the first and most helpful person I made contact with. I read the book and it gave me a sense of direction and what the future might be like. I have two brothers, and they mean a lot to me, but this seems like a brotherhood forged by the deepest spiritual connections there are…I share the weight of the world with you all…I tried to get with Compassionate Friends, but I’m new here in Burlington, VT, and the online directions led me on a maze of disappointment. I think Rob’s suggestion of keeping a journal is probably a good idea for me…I’m usually not that organized, so I need to actually get something to write in…where I can document my deepest feelings without having to show the world. I still post on Sean’s Facebook page, along with his many friends, and today I wrote to him how I’m feeling…and it led me to a breakdown which has been coming for some days now…and it’s been a hard morning today…and that’s how it goes…there is no linear connection to comfort…it’s more like ups and downs with sporadic spikes, up or down. I’m changing some of my ways and trying to live a healthier life, because those are things Sean wants for me…things we have actually talked about. I feel like those are the only connections while I await my own death and ultimately freedom from this pain and maybe a revelation…or not…but I can hope…hope is something real, just like love…so I hope, and I love, and I grieve, and I’ll try not to break.

    • GrievingDads says:

      “Trying not to break” is not an easy task. In fact, since you read my book, you know I had to fight everyday not to break. I could have easily thrown in the towel, but I am glad I didn’t. I do feel a sense of peace every time I am around/with another grieving dad. The brotherhood is real.

      Thanks for your kind words and your thoughts. I hope your day has gotten better. The one thing that has helped me is to learn to take the waves as they come and not fight them. Hard to do, but the emotions are real and they need to flow freely to survive and to move forward. If not they become heavy burdens that weight you down.



      • Dana Moore says:

        Peace and Love to you ,brother, and to all who share in our pain…I’ll not shy from the grief. I’ll do the best I can. The very best I can.

  13. Rob Mehnert says:

    We lost our 28 year old son Ryan earlier this summer. Ryan was a special needs, medically fragile young man his entire life – we devoted much of our lives to providing him all the opportunities we could. Lately I have taken to writing him notes as a way to express my thoughts. Most have been very rambling but I like the one I wrote the other night – things fell into place as I spent a part of my night with him – at least in my thoughts:

    I never wanted this to be a part of my life – who ever would? But, in a way, I guess I’m glad that it is because it means that the love I have always had for you is still a piece of me. That my love is stronger than losing you.
    This is all so new; we are just now approaching the three month anniversary of the last time I held your hand and kissed your forehead. Even though that was on the worst day I have ever experienced, I cherish the memory. How can it seem so long when it hasn’t even been three months?
    I still have your Father’s Day card, unopened, sitting on my dresser. You signed that card a couple weeks before . . . well, “a couple of weeks before” is enough said and all I want to write. I want to open it but I don’t know if I ever can. I’ve picked it up several times and just had to put it back down. Father’s Day was hard, I suspect it always will be.
    Sleep has been difficult. Just too many thoughts run around my head. I don’t remember too many dreams happening but I must be having them because I wake up in the middle of the night and I immediately have thoughts of you. Most of those are of good days, good memories. Holding your hand on a walk. Watching, and listening to your screams of joy, as you ran. Your laugh. Playing your songs for you during the long nights in the hospital room. Parts of almost every night I lay in bed awake, staring at the ceiling trying not to disturb your Mom or the dogs. Tonight I got out of bed and started writing you this letter. I just feel a sense of emptiness. One that I don’t know if I will ever be able to fill and not sure I even want it filled.
    Oh, I’m keeping busy. It helps and hurts at the same time. I’ve spent a big part of the summer swimming with your friends. I’ve coached at some swim meets and I’ve talked to so many athletes and coaches from other teams who remember you. They all tell me they miss you, they almost all want to hug and a couple have even cried. It’s an odd feeling when you are trying to comfort someone when all you want to do is cry with them. With some of them I have. I guess I never realized how many people noticed you, respected you for your will to fight and loved you.
    Tears continue to come easily. My eyes are full right now. It is still difficult to talk to people who are just learning the news or I am seeing for the first time since “that day”. Kind of weird, I try to fight them but I don’t hide them either. I have only had one day without them – and I can’t figure out what was different about that one day. I pray I didn’t not miss you that day even though I know I miss you dearly all the time.
    I used to have my future pretty much planned out. Most of it centered around you. I really didn’t realize that until a friend asked me if I thought about how I would “move forward”. Right now that seems like such an odd term. Sometimes I’m not sure I want to “move forward”. It almost feels like I am betraying you if I do but I know I have to at the same time. Someone else said that I’d find a “new normal soon”. I hope so, I’m not real happy with today’s normal. Life with you was always so lively, so vibrant . . . now it mostly feels flat – like it’s all in black and white when you know there should be color. I’m not sure how to get that back again but I trust it will be here again . . . maybe not as vibrant but at least not in black and white.
    People ask “how are you doing” and I don’t know how to really express my feelings. So I mostly answer with a shrug of my shoulders and tell them I’m just taking things hour by hour and day by day. That’s true but not really the whole story. Saying that I miss you doesn’t do my feelings justice. It is so much more than that. The closest thing I can think of – and it stills feels like an inadequate way to say this – is that I yearn for you to be here with me. I desperately want to sit next to you, to watch you enjoy a meal, to see you dance. So much so that, at times, the feeling actually hits me physically in a way I really can’t put into words. That has actually been frustrating me to no end. I want to be able to put this into words. I don’t think I can really process something I can’t find the words to explain. Maybe they will come to me . . . someday.

    • GrievingDads says:

      Rob – Wow. Thank you so very much for sharing this from the heart letter to your son. It is a beautifully honest letter that others need to read. I’ve written many of these letters early on in my grief. Both of my children would have been “medically fragile” so your words really hit home with me since I never got to see them dance, enjoy a meal or just sit with them. I wish I could have. I miss them everyday. Its been over 10 years, but I still miss and think about them everyday. Its become part of my life whether I like it or not, I don’t have a say in that matter.

      So very sorry for not only your son, but your friend that relied on your love everyday.

      Do you mind if I share this as a blog post on my blog? I think it would help a lot of other dads out there since it expresses what many others think and feel.



      • Rob Mehnert says:

        Thank you for the kind words about this “letter”. I am sorry you did not get to share so many experiences with your children. We were blessed and the time we had with Ryan was precious. If you feel this will help others – by all means, please share this.

      • Rob Mehnert says:

        Here is something I wrote this morning . . .

        I’ve had a couple of dreams that last two nights. I don’t know if they are fueled by the recent bout I had with kidney stones – or the pain meds I was briefly on to deal with them. Could be they are coming because I feel a bit drained both physically and mentally right now. I guess the upcoming holidays could be playing with my mind as well. Maybe they came because of a long talk I had with your doctor, she is my doctor too – it was our first visit since you’ve been gone. The last couple of nights have been filled with a dream that starts out … well, like a dream but ends up with me wide awake and in tears.

        The other night I was chasing you. It was a fun, playful type romp through a small town. Not a town I recognized though. It was a nice enough town but everything was in a sepia tone. You were running. Climbing over and under things. Laughing the whole time and calling for me. There were other people in the dream but I don’t recall knowing who they were. Screams of “Gaggy “ were followed by your happy, infectious giggle. I was having fun chasing after you. There was no sense of danger or panic. It just felt like a fun day.

        Towards the end of the dream, you crawled under some large structure. I have no idea what this structure was – just a big block that was floating over a flat piece of soft, grass covered ground. I followed you but lost sight of you. When I finally crawled from under the structure I was in a bright, sunny field of flowers with water flowing and birds singing. Full color – vibrant and alive. But you were nowhere to be found, I called for you a few times but you did not answer. This is when I woke up in my own bed in tears.
        The dream weighed heavy on me all day yesterday.

        It came again last night but it was a little different. The first night I saw you in the dream. You were the same as you always were here – you ran with your limp, your left arm wasn’t much help as you vaulted fences, climbed onto objects or crawled under things that were in your way. This time I just heard you and you must have been carrying your favorite stuffed Scooby Doo toy – the one that laughs when you press his ear because I hear Scooby laughing with you. I could tell you were happy, having fun but I was so mad because I couldn’t find you. You led me under that same structure, to that same field – a stunningly beautiful field – but, again, your were not there and I woke and I cried.

        Crying is OK. I cry because I miss you and these dreams just reinforce those feelings. I really don’t want to analyze these dreams too much – I’m not sure I want to know what they mean. I don’t know if I want to have another one or not – though I suspect I will.

    • Dana Moore says:

      Rob – I’m glad you posted this beautiful letter. I lost my 23 year-old son, Sean, my only child, 4 months ago in May. I have very similar feelings. The tears come at will and sometimes my chest heaves, as if to vomit. When I get right down to my feelings of love for Sean, it’s too much for me. He was such a good kid, and I miss him so much.

      • Rob Mehnert says:

        Dana – I’m sorry to hear about your loss and I understand your feelings. I never knew how physical the pain of loss could be – and how constant it is in my life right now. This can feel like a very dark place at times. I’m not sure why we’ve been asked to walk this road but, the way I see it right now, we have no choice but to continue the walk and hope we find a place of light sooner or later. Keep walking . . . .

    • Kevin Black says:

      Rob, thank you for sharing. As you are very aware, there are no magic words to make it go away. I decided very early on that I didn’t want the pain, the ache to go away. Like you said above, the love is stronger.
      I lost my son a little over 4 years ago. Seems like yesterday and it seems like a thousand years ago. One thing that I have found, I think it may have been a fellow grieving dad that told me, was to keep a journal. Keep it private or share it with the world, but I found it helps to write. Even if the only thing you write that day is “I miss you”. Admittedly, I have fallen off that wagon of writing, but I’m really trying to get back into the habit. I’ve found it helps to pour it out on paper or a blog.
      I am so very sorry for your loss, Rob. I pray that you and your family will find peace.

      • Rob Mehnert says:

        Thanks Kevin – I have been writing – actually typing my thoughts. I leave them in a file for a couple days and then delete it. This one, the one posted here, I just couldn’t delete – felt the need to share it – that’s not normal for me but it felt right in the moment.

    • Bruce Friedman says:

      Rob – you’ve expressed yourself so wonderfully. Our oldest son, Josh also had special needs and was medically fragile. We’re coming upon the five year anniversary since Josh passed away at the age of seventeen. Your note describes so much of what how felt during the first months and year or two after losing our son. One way we’ve continued to feel our connection with those that Josh had his best times with and their families is to stay involved at the special needs camp he attended. Our two other children have been counselors at the camp and my wife and I both volunteer regularly. As the years go by, we meet new people and I always feel they are missing something if they never knew Josh. Staying in touch with the special needs community provides a way to still connect with others that really understood how special he was. Josh’s memory does become easier to talk about and the laughs and smiles do eventually replace some of the tears, but I still do feel a deep emptiness inside of me without him here.

      Best to you and your family as you continue through this journey.


      • Rob Mehnert says:

        Thanks Bruce. Our connection to the community and Ryan’s friends is through Special Olympics. We coach 5 sports, sit on the board of a team, raise funds, and I also serve on the Special Olympics Area Sports Management Team. Even though it is hard at times, we have no plans to give any of this up!

  14. Jamieson Pepper says:

    My first son Elliot Jamieson Pepper was stillborn on May 19th, 2016. I have recently finished reading your book and found several of the stories helpful. The tragedy is still very fresh, and I do tend to try and fit into the protector role for my wife when I need to. She is also there for me when I need to cry. We do fairly well at balancing our bad days back and forth, and also sharing a cry when we need to.

    I decided to post today because instead of being silent over Father’s Day my immediate family chose to honour me as a father. My wife also gave me a present Elliot picked out and she wrote me a card stating how proud she was of me as a father to Elliot and how great a father she knows I am and will be in the future (and yes we cried over the card). That kind of hope is what keeps me going when everything else seems to matter less.

    Thank you for your book, and for your continued work.

    • GrievingDads says:

      Jamieson – Thank you for sharing your story. Great to hear that they chose not to be silent and to honor you as a father, as difficult as it is. Other than my wife and a couple of others, I generally don’t hear much from family or friends.

      Its ok to cry over the card, its part of the deal. If a card helps you feel your son and helps you release the pain, its worth the $5. It did its job of making you feel.

      You are welcome for the book. It is my pleasure. I am happy that you were able to connect on some level.



  15. Gabe says:

    Today was Father’s Day and for the first time in my life, I really hated it.

    My wife and I got married four years ago and while we talked about kids, we only really got serious about it a year and a half ago. She got pregnant and we were so happy, we even announced it to our families at the end of her first trimester. Then we miscarried. It was a nightmare, I had to hold her hand in the hospital while she cried and I kept wondering what happened. About five or six months later we were pregnant again, and again we lost it. We decided to really be proactive, talk to our doctors, be extremely careful in what we ate, drank, did, etc. We never really got any solid answers as to why but we tried a third time. She lost it a couple of weeks ago.

    We finally did some genetic testing and it turns out I have some bizarre chromosomal abnormality, that makes our chances of viable birth kind of low.

    So I was kind of in shock for a couple of weeks – I always felt healthy and normal but now it turns out I’m the reason we can’t have a kid. It’s really depressing. What’s worse though, is that most people don’t even know what happened. It’s awkward to talk about, I never know if I should be feeling stoic or sad or what? Mostly I just try to pretend it didn’t happen – but after the third time that gets kind of hard. We go to family events and all the Dads get to stand up and be acknowledged, they have their kids on their laps, or photos of their kids or want to talk about THEIR KIDS. All of our friends are having kids, they complain about how hectic their schedule is with TWO or THREE children…meanwhile my wife and I would give anything to have just one.

    Facebook is a total nightmare since everyone on Father’s Day naturally posts photos of their children with their Dads and I get notified/reminded almost every hour that I’m never going to have that either.

    We’ll be going back to see the doc again soon but it’s hard to hope. I try to be strong for my wife, but today I sort of just fell apart. I’m glad this site is here, it’s nice to empty the abscess.

    But as far as Father’s Day goes? It can go f*ck itself.

  16. Dana Moore says:

    My 23 y-old Sean died in his sleep 4 May 16. I am still in shock and react emotionally by going through painful times of crying which sometimes just don’t stop. I miss him already so much. So I decided that he would encourage me to do things which will make the world a better place. The thing I’m trying to do now is to produce and dedicate a suite of eclectic-type music which reflects my feelings toward my son. This has touched the very depths of my soul and created a dimension of grief I never would have known, as I try to be good enough next to the memory of Sean. I feel broken, weak, and regretful, but I will take a step at a time and somehow get it done.

    • GrievingDads says:

      Dana – I am sorry for the loss of your son Sean. Please take one minute at a time, you are very early in this journey and you will hit a lot of bumps in the road. Most of it will feel like you are living in a fog that has settled in you as you try to navigate your way through it. This is a level of grief, despair, pain and fear that no one knows unless you are living it. Its all consuming but it is survivable. You will never be the same person that you were prior to the loss, but you can find ways to adjust and find a life that is worth living again, it just takes time and a lot of hard work. Hard work meaning being patient with yourself and learning to be vulnerable and transparent by telling you story to others (counselors, support groups, friends, strangers, etc). You are not alone, there are thousands of others that are currently walking on the same path. Find ways to reach out and connect in order to help each other along on days you don’t think you can take another step. Read my book, it will be a huge resource for you and keep reading it because depending on where you are at, you’ll be able to connect with someone else’s story.

      We are here my friend and please reach out to me anytime through email of phone.

      Wishing you peace!


      • Dana Moore says:

        Kelly, thanks for the thoughtful reply. I’m starting to reach out more….something I have never done before.

      • Dana Moore says:

        Yesterday I received an unexpected call from one of Sean’s best friends. He had a message he and Sean’s friends wanted to pass along: “Happy Fathers’ Day”…to me from Sean, because that’s what Sean would want them to do. That was very, very nice of them, and I was humbled to tears. What a fathers’ day gift.

  17. Can I write down the story of our daughter Maartje (14 years ) ? She took her own life last year, as a result of being bullied at and out of school. She was a pretty girl, outgoing and very warm hearted to other people. As many fathers I feel devastated…………I have changed a lot.

  18. Dr Jim Richardson says:

    I lost both of my natural children to cystic fibrosis. It has been 38yrs for Becky and 16yrs for Ben. I never have a day go by that I don’t think of them-sometimes I cry, sometimes I smile. It never goes away. My adopted son just got convicted of rape and will spend the next 10-15yrs in prison. In working with my pastor at Church of the Highlands about this latest tragedy, I now plan to start a small group for men who are grieving such losses. We are calling it “Growth through Greif”. Thanks for your work and God Bless. Jim Richardson

    • GrievingDads says:

      Jim – Thanks for sharing your story. You are certainly no stranger to loss my friend. I applaud you for the work you are about to embark on, you will make a big difference in people’s lives by providing them a safe outlet for their pain.



  19. Jojo says:

    Hi. I recently lost my daughter, Feb 22 2016. She’s just 12, and she just missed marching at her graduation ceremonies in school. She is a loving, thoughtful, generous, kind, friendly person. She died in an accident at home. We miss her. The classmates, her friends, the neighbors love her. It really pains me so much, that I lost my baby.

    As i write this message, I am lost for words, for the grief that has befallen us. I could not explain in pure simple terms what i feel right now. Sometimes, I feel so alone, depressed, and keep asking questions the “why”, the “could’ve, should’ve”, and sometimes I blame myself, for not being by her side all the time. Sometimes I get the feeling, that I should have spent more time with her, as I work overseas.

    During the wake of my daughter, all her classmates and the graduating class went to the wake. That, I wept uncontrollably. I never imagined myself, meeting all those people, not known to me, kids weeping, telling me how good my daughter was, school kids comforting me. I told the kids, including all the teachers, I tried counting all the friends i have the night before, and I have counted at least 20, but never have I seen so many people, my daughter’s friends, from all walks of life, comforting me. She is truly a wonderful kid. As I said to my wife, my daughter is just magical. She can turn a bad person into a good person.

    At her wake, miracles happened. A friend having a problem with their property was with us during the wake. His problem was solved when he met another person, a lawyer, who volunteered to help him. Then there’s this another person with mental health problems, that all of a sudden, she became a normal person, although briefly. I was told later, that each Christmas and special occasions, my daughter would give her food. Then there is another person who lives nearby, who is not talking to our neighbor, but during the wake, they forgave each other. And another friend who has not left his room for one and a half years, has finally left his room after learning of my daughter’s death. These are the people whose lives that my daughter has touched, and continue to touch.

    Everyday, I pray to the Lord, that He gives my daughter eternal peace, receive her in His Kingdom. And that my daughter will be happy, will always be with our Lord.

    I miss my daughter, never will I forget her, will love her, she will stay in my heart forever.

    Thank you for your time, for listening to me


    • GrievingDads says:


      I am sorry for the delayed response to your posting. I am also so very sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. It sounds like she touched a lot of lives during her short time here on earth. A kind soul. Hang on to that fact, she was a caring and loving person that we should all strive to be.

      I hope you are doing ok on your journey. Please keep sharing here on this blog.



      • Jojo Rodil says:

        Thanks, Kelly.

        Today, May 17 is her 13th birthday. I am overseas, and took a leave, to celebrate her birthday quietly. The wound is still fresh. I am struggling. To this day, I still ask why my daughter? It is unfair. But I know, it is not for me to ask.

        The family is going to where she rests, where her friends would meet today. She is just loved by so many people. People that I may never meet in my lifetime. There are too many of them, I can’t remember their names, just faces.

        I thank my daughter, for the time she has spent with us. We will never forget her. She will be cherished. She will be in our hearts forever. Thank you, Julienne, and happy birthday.

        Thank you again.


  20. Oosman Sadiq says:

    I am a married man who had a stable earning. But my wife did not want kids and being from Pakistan, I lived in a joint family household. Bad family life (with my father), financial worries in marriage, extra work hours and my lower earnings made my wife not to have kids as she feels I can not cope up with the responsibility of a family (she is right to some extent though).
    I accepted it initially as its ok I have my art to work on (I am a photographer also) but daily I feel the need to have a baby to hold on to. I love my wife and do not want to be with someone else… yet the fact that I may never have a child has haunted me. I feel victimized and can not bear to think of my life without a kid,
    I can not even comprehend your grief of people losing their kids, but I can feel your pain a little. God bless all people with families and kids that their kids remain happy and healthy.
    Love from Pakistan

    • GrievingDads says:

      Oosman – Thank you so much for reaching out to us grieving dads. I encourage you not to give up on the idea of having a child. The love is unconditional and one cannot understand the depths in which the love goes until you hold your own child.



  21. wishy2 says:

    My daughter Melinda passed away on December 16th 2015. She was 19 months old and is our only child. She had been battling a fever for 24 hours, and it seemed it had broke the morning of her passing. She slid out of my arms and to the floor so she could play, laugh and try to make Mommy and Daddy smile like she always did. After an hour or so of playtime, she was ready for her nap. An hour and a half later she was awake, still groggy but ready to get up. I picked her up and went and sat on the couch with her in my arms, offering her animal crackers and pedialyte to help with the dehydration. She drank some, but didnt want any crackers. She snuggled tightly in my arms as she just wanted to watch her PBS shows.

    After 2 hours of her still sleepy, my wife headed out to the store to run errands and I decided that maybe she needed a little more nap time. I carried her down the hall where she snuggled against my shoulder and then I placed her in her crib. Normally she fusses a little and stands up and cries, but this time she just laid on her side. I sat with her for a few moments and then decided to give her time alone. Its hurting me so bad now that I decided to leave the room and go to the basement. I have a monitor and hear her let out a small cry about 30 minutes later. She did this normally and something in me thought about going to check on her, but since she didnt make any more noise I left her alone.

    About 30 minutes later my wife came home and down to the basement where we talked for 10 minutes. I then went upstairs as I had errands to run. I decided to pop in Melinda’s room and turned on her lamp and I found her face down in a superman-like pose. Ive never seen her sleep like that before as she usually did sleep on her tummy with her face turned outward. I tickled her side expecting her to jump, but there was nothing. I then tickled her feet and nothing. I then touched her back, which was still warm and still no movement. I scooped her up and her head flopped over the side of my arm and I ran down to the basement screaming at my wife to call 911. I attempted to give her CPR and the police, fire and ambulance all showed up within minutes to take over care. Unfortunately she never came back. Of course it was rush hour and the hospital 15 minutes away was impossible to get to as the highway was a parking lot. So the police and fire shut down every intersection we went through in the city to get to the hospital as quickly as possible. But it was all over. She was gone.

    Everyone loved how happy of a baby she was, always laughing, never scared of a new person or situation, always wanting to learn. And now she’s gone and my heart is destroyed. It hurts so much as I had said to my wife that morning that I had never been so happy as I was then, that I finally had a job i really liked, I was married with a great kid, own a home, and my financial situation was good. Then 6 hours later my entire life is destroyed. My wife is struggling with the every day, finding it difficult to not be angry or jealous of friends who’s kids are healthy. As we are in our early 40’s the chance of having another child will be difficult. But we’re going to try anyways. Ive done a pretty good job of coping so far, having returned to work this week. Plus I spend a few hours at our house every day to try and get back to living. My wife isnt ready to return home, and its beginning to put a strain on us as I cant sit around all night at my in-laws mindlessly watching tv when i could be home doing activities I enjoy and can fill my time.

    I’ve been lucky as I have had people reach out to me to help, but I really do like being alone and working on things that make me happy. I know in time I will need to seek counseling, but I dont think I can do it until I know my wife is making progress as I worry about her and her progressing.

    Thanks for letting me vent. Jason

    • applejack76 says:

      Hi Jason,

      Thanks for sharing Melinda with us. Your description of her reminds me of Lily. Lily passed in her sleep of SUDC ( at 2 1/2 years old. She passed in July 2014.

      Your wife’s and your progression through grief might be on completely different planes. Please take care of yourself. Offer your wife help, but do not force it.

      Take care,

    • GrievingDads says:


      Thank you for telling your heartbreaking story. I know its not easy to sit down and write those words without shedding a lot of tears.

      I am so sorry for your loss of your sweet baby girl Melinda. I can feel love you have for her in your words. I can also feel the pain you have in your heart. I know that pain all to well and wish I could take yours away.

      This journey is long and hard, but cling to your memories and love you have for your daughter to get you through the days you don’t think you’ll be able to survive.

      I invite you to continue spending time on this blog and connecting with other grieving dads here AND in support groups. Its important that you surround yourself with others that understand the pain you are dealing with.

      Feel free to call me anytime Jason if you need an ear. I’ll be here.



  22. Kenny says:

    My wife and I lost our son Jonathan on December 23, 2015. The past few weeks, I have gone through several stages and felt as if I was alone in some regard. On Monday Jan 18th, I found this site. I have ordered your book and am hoping it comes sooner than later, as I have already felt some comfort in reading through this site. The following is what happened, in the words of my wife Ashley.

    On December 23rd, Jonathan, at just 25 days old, died from complications related to RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). He was born on November 28th, a perfect, healthy baby boy.
    On that Wednesday morning, Kenny and I woke up to shock because our newborn baby had been asleep for over 5 hours from his last time nursing at 1am. I immediately knew something was wrong. Kenny changed his diaper and he didn’t even cry. When he brought him to me to nurse, Jonathan had about no interest and just wanted to go back to sleep. His lips were a dark red, almost purple color. I just kept saying “This is not normal. This is not normal!” I called the after hours pediatric number and the nurse asked me to lift his shirt to see if he was struggling to breathe. She asked “Are his ribs pronounced?” I answered yes and her next words were “You need to call 911.” Within a minute, I had 6 emergency workers in my house, assessing Jonathan. They told me they were taking him to the hospital and asked if I would be riding in the ambulance. I had Rachel and Jackson asleep upstairs and the ambulance driver said “we can’t wait.” I told him I didn’t want him to and I would be right behind them.

    Kenny met us at the hospital, where Jonathan had been sustained and was on monitors for his breathing. He seemed perfectly fine. At the hospital, he was diagnosed with RSV, a diagnosis that all the doctors were optimistic about as it is completely curable and common. As the morning went on, Jonathan’s breathing contained to be monitored. I was even able to nurse him around 9:30am…what would be my last time to do this amazing gift.

    The doctor told me that because of his diagnosis, he would need to be transferred to Lutheran General where they have a pediatric unit that’s better for the treatment of RSV, especially if he would need to be intubated.

    Our poor little baby then had a spinal tap to confirm infection hadn’t spread anywhere else in his body. During the spinal tap, his IV had come loose, which took over 30 minutes to get fixed because his veins were under stress from his morning.

    They got him all ready to go and off Jonathan and I went. On the way to the hospital, the driver said to me “So you’re eventually going to have 3 kids in high school at the same time.” I said “no, kid 1 and 2 will be in high school at the same time and then 2 and 3 will be.” This is again showing how optimistic everyone was about Jonathan.

    Once we were at Lutheran General, Jonathan was admitted to the Pediatric ICU. The nurses and doctors were awesome. They informed me of the course of treatment and how long we could expect to be there. They said how it was “RSV season” and how they loved taking care of their RSV babies…that they were basically so easy to take care of.

    As the day went on, everything they did to help Jonathan would help for a little while, and then his body would stop positively responding. His breathing was all over the place. I later learned he kept having apneatic spells, along with rapid breathing….he would take rapid breaths and then hold it. At times, as long as 10 seconds. Oxygen was getting trapped in his lungs and he was working really hard to breathe.

    I did get to hold him again in the evening. What I didn’t know is that would be my last time to hold him alive.

    Kenny and I agreed I would stay, especially because I was told as he got stronger, I would get to nurse him, and he went to get Rachel and Jackson to take them home. He kissed us goodbye and said he’d see us in the morning.

    Around 9pm, the doctors were getting worried and decided he needed to be intubated. They said it was better to intubate him now instead of doing it in an emergency situation. They asked me to wait down the hall. I kissed Jonathan a bunch of times, told him how much I loved him, and we were getting him better. I called Kenny and told him everything that was going on. After about 25 minutes, a nurse updated me saying the intubation went great and I would get to come back to him in a few minutes. I didn’t want to wait; I wanted to be back with my baby and headed back down the hall to his room.

    Immediately, I see nurses and doctors running to his room, the light above his door his flashing and they’re rolling a crash cart. I said to Kenny “oh my God, something’s wrong, something is wrong! People are running. Something is wrong!!” As I approached his room, I see the doctors are performing CPR on Jonathan…an image forever burned in my mind.

    After over 30 minutes of doctors and nurses working over and over, doing everything they could, updating me with everything they were doing even though I was standing there watching and praying and begging God to save my baby, the doctor led me to a room. Before he spoke, I said to Kenny “they’re leading me to a room!” Before the doctor spoke, I knew what he was going to say. There was nothing else that could be done. Jonathan’s heart had flatlined after intubation and they couldn’t get it to start. The doctor’s eyes were bloodshot from crying. Nobody could believe what had happened.

    I went back to Jonathan’s room. A nurse had cleaned him, dressed him in a onesie I had packed, and swaddled him. I walked in to her handing me our dead baby. Kenny and I held him for 4 hours, crying, kissing him, and praying for him to come back. I just wanted to warm him and breathe life back into him. A part of me died with him. We were living the biggest fear in our lives. We lost our 25 day old baby. He was perfectly healthy, and then, all of a sudden, he wasn’t. His poor tiny body looked perfect on the outside, but on the inside, it had been attacked.
    He brought an incredible amount of joy to my life. An indescribable feeling of happiness. I cherished him. He was our third baby and completed our family.

    • GrievingDads says:

      Kenny – I am sorry for the loss of sweet baby Jonathan. You story is heartbreaking. I wish I could take away your pain, but we both know that isn’t possible.

      Although I am happy you found this blog and my book, but I am saddened that you even needed to look for it. You will find many dads here that have gone though a loss and at very different stages of the aftermath. I encourgage you to ease into my book and use it as a resource in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. This is a very long journey and one that has no road map. We all take various paths, but our experiences are very similar along the way.

      I am here as well as other dads. Please feel free to email directly or call me anytime.



    • Chris says:

      Kenny, really sorry for your loss. I know mere words can never truly relieve the sadness inside, but I also know they help. I see parallels in your story to my own. We lost our daughter at birth. She looked absolutely perfect and we’ll never really know why we lost her. It is the story of our son, however, that really came to mind reading your story. He is our second child, born after we lost our first. He had a traumatic birth and spent the first three weeks of his life in the NICU. There was a RSV epidemic that went through the NICU while he was there. He luckily did not catch it, but he did catch a UTI. I remember the day they gave him the spinal tap to see if it had crossed over to his brain. It took three attempts. Those were some brutal weeks – seeing him attached to so many monitors. It terrified me. I’m writing this knowing that my son turned out okay. He eventually came home from the NICU – while your son did not. I guess my point is that we grow up thinking childbirth is an easy process – it hardly ever goes wrong. People have babies all of the time and it is normal and they grow up happy and healthy. That is what I thought…until it happened to us. Just know that all of us here are sad alongside you. We did not know your son, but we know the loss – because we’ve all lost children. It’s the worst thing in the world – and I can tell you right now you will have some hard days ahead of you. It’s been over seven years for me and I still grieve for my daughter. I still break down and cry. You’ll get through it, though. You will find strength you never knew you had. Hang in there, my friend. I will say a prayer for your son tonight and also for you and your family.

  23. Yasir says:

    Hi fellas. I am in a really strange and weird place right now. My daughter was born Dec. 30th 2015 and was diagnosed with Trisomy 13. Trisomy 13 is the most severe of the 3 known genetic disorders, 21 (downs), 18, and 13. My wife and I didn’t know anything until I saw her come into the world. When my daughter come out I immediately noticed she had a cleft lip and palate, I didn’t was disappointed, my wife saw my disappointment, I knew something was obviously wrong. Things got worse.

    The nurses wiped her off a little and she began to cry, but my wife never got to hold her because they immediately sent her away because she was having difficulty breathing. These past 2 weeks have been a blur so my days may be off a little, so much has happened. My daughter was taken to the NICU and kept overnight.

    The next day we were told by the doctor that my daughter has trisomy 13 in all of her cells, and that it is a terminal condition. My wife broke down, I took the doctor off to the side to ask some more questions. Later in the day I researched online and found all of the grim, devastating information about this condition. We’ve since had 2 conferences with the nurses, doctors, and surgeons and we were given 2 options: “We can go through a round of surgeries to help her heart defect and put a ventilator in her throat but she will still ultimately die probably before her first birthday from the Trisomy 13, or you can just let her pass away peacefully and comfortably.

    What a choice….

    Week 1 was really hard, this week has been easier. My wife and I understand what is happening and we both know what needs to be done. My wife is having a really difficult time because of course she carried my daughter and she has been there with her everyday. We have 2 other children and I of course, have to work.

    It’s strange because right now, I almost feel like it didn’t’ happen. I almost feel like my daughter was never born because I haven’t been able to build a bond with her. I feel the most for my 3 year old daughter because she was really looking to having a baby sister.

    I just feel cold. I did a lot of crying last week, this week not so much. Am I wrong? I know that my baby will be leaving here very soon and I’m sure have a whole host of other emotions to deal with at that point but I don’t want her suffering. She’s on a breathing tube right now, at 2 weeks old, it’s no reason to send her through an open heart surgery, put a breathing tube in her neck, and there is only a 10% chance of her living to her 1st birthday. Also what kind of life will she have? The trisomy 13 brings a whole host of other issues that I won’t get into here and that is her MAIN issue. Everything else she has going on can be corrected or managed through surgery but NOTHING can be done about the trisomy 13.

    Am I wrong to feel this way? Has anyone else gone through this?

    • GrievingDads says:

      Yasir – First off, I am so very sorry that your daughter has Trisomy 13. You are in a no win situation, meaning there is no right answer. Only an answer that will protect your daughter the best way you can. Only you and your wife can come to a decision.

      Secondly, you are far from wrong to feel that way, I too was in a similar situation with both of my babies. As a parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your child, but in situations like this, you are literally stuck between making a lose-lose decision. As one doctor put it, “do you want to cut off your left hand or your right hand.” There is no obvious answer, but I can assure you, I would have given both hands not to have been in that situation.

      Wishing you peace in the days, months and years ahead my friend.


    • Derek says:

      I’m so sorry brother.
      Your not wrong for crying one week and not the other. I can’t speak for every guy on here but, I still don’t understand my feelings or reactions concerning my daughter I laid to rest in August of 2015. One picture I see of her I will smile and laugh and the next I’m crying like a baby. I don’t know if I will ever understand it. I put my focus on helping and being there for my wife. It’s pulled me through so far. Your not wrong for feeling anyway brother.

      My wife and I have often said the same thing to each other, about feeling like she was never here. We haven’t figured out anything yet in this.

      What ever decisions yall make on any of it, make them together brother. What ever decisions yall make is the right decision.

    • Chris says:

      Yasir – I am so sorry to hear of your situation. Kelly hit it right on the head: there is no right answer. He is also right that this is only a decision you and your wife can make.

      I wish I could offer you an explanation about why life is so unfair. It truly is unfair. People will tell you that everything happens for a reason – and maybe it does. I know I’ve heard that many, many times since I lost my daughter. It’s a cold comfort, however. It does little to ease my sadness and it most definitely doesn’t bring her back.

      All I can say is to feel what you feel. It is okay to cry one moment and then not cry the next. You are dealing with so much right now. Your mind can only process so much, but when it needs to come out – it will.

      You’ve found a good place for support. I pray for peace, strength, and guidance for you and your family. You will find moments where you find strength you never knew you had and you will have moments where you feel powerless and hopeless. You have to learn how to surf, I guess. You have to ride out the waves – and you’ll get through it, my friend.

      Take care. I wish I had better advice – I feel somewhat lacking. I just know having gone through a loss myself I’d think I’d have a better idea of what to say someone going through it, but I feel like I don’t. 😦

    • Christian says:

      Dear Yasir, I recently found this site from the grief of losing my first son to full Trisomy 13 in January 2016. He was 2 years and 3 months, I love him so much and the depth of grief from his loss is beyond what words can convey. However, I would never wish to turn back clocks or ask for anything else from this life. My son was on a respiratory apparatus 24/7, surgically implemented through his throat. Since discovering this site you are the first person to mention Trisomy, and I feel the need to leave a reply. I have spent a lot of time, since his passing, with my wife and my second son (who is 10 months), to visit Trisomy 13 kids of other parents around Japan (I am actually English and live in Japan). Please have faith in your beautiful child. T13 is not hopeless. My son had a wonderful life surrounded by people that loved and adored him. All you should think of is love and support. Cast aside any feelings of doubt, depression and worry. This is you now as the father to your daughter. Your daughter is not Trisomy but your daughter. Just to let you know, I took my son on an airplane to the Japanese islands, I took him out in the car a lot. We went everywhere with no impediment. People can’t believe we did what we did. Some parents keep their child hospitalized. I wanted my son at home in a loving environment. If you want to know more or anything about Trisomy please contact me.

  24. KIRk says:

    Trey, i so understand, Especially the feeling of not coming home with you. That takes me back to our life changing night. I’m so glad you found this site. You are never alone.

  25. Trey Wentz says:

    Hi Kelly,

    Thank you so much for creating space where men can share there stories. I have found some peace reading stories people have shared on my son’s memorial site, but I just did not feel I had an appropriate place to share mine. Your site looks like a great place to do this.

    My son 16 year old son Tyler passed away on September 13th of this year. It was an absolutely devastating loss to my family. As many have said no parent should have to go through seeing their own child suffer and die. I really try to focus on what my son accomplished in life rather then what happened as that was not who my son was but it was rather what happened to him.

    Also the article you linked to, “Everything Doesn’t Happen For A Reason” really hit home for me. My wife and I came very close together right after the loss of my son but in the past week and a half I find I am secluding myself from her and just about everyone. I don’t want to have to be around anybody right now as I just feel so alone. It’s weird as many adults were friends with my son (more on that later) and so they have lost somebody too but I just cannot seem to relate and feel like a bump on the log. I am in therapy so I am working though it, but these are just tough times.

    …So on with the story as I have been told each time I share it, I will heal a little more.

    My son was asked to go on vacation with his best friend the last week of August before school was starting. They were going to the beach with his family. My son was going to be on the football team this year and we talked about the vacation and what it meant as he had to do a bear crawl around the football field for each day missed. We calculated this would be over 3 miles of bear crawls, but he knew he wanted to be with his friend on vacation and said he would do whatever it takes. He left with them on a Saturday or Sunday (sorry still bit of a blur) and headed out to the beach. This was on an island and the only way to get on an off was by ferry.

    He was having a blast and would call or text every day and let us know he was happy and safe. Thursday I was in the middle of a meeting when my phone rang and saw it was my son’s phone calling. I thought it was odd to be getting a call in the middle of the day so I excused myself to answer the phone. I answered and got a call that no parent ever wants to hear. It was the police on the island informing me my son had been in an accident. I had tunnel vision though the phone call and it took them what felt like forever to tell me that he was body surfing with his friend and they found him face down in the water after catching a wave. I did not get it. My son could swim. He had been body surfing ever day while he was there. No one really knows what happened.

    They airlifted my son off the island and I drove home to get my wife to go on the third longest four hour dive of our lives to the hospital. We got several calls from the hospital on our way. The first was horrid news that he had aspirated while on the helicopter on the way in which made his condition much worse. The second was that his oxygen levels were not going up and they wanted to put him on an ECMO (lung bypass) to give his lungs a chance to rest and recover.

    My son was ALIVE. We spent the next week at the hospital where the amazing staff took my son in like he was their own. He was improving that first week in the hospital, slowly but improving and in forced sedation by medicine. His kidneys stopped working and was put on a slow dialysis but we were assured that was the least of our concerns and he would probably recover from that without issues.

    I have a as well daughter who was starting high school and since things were improving I went home to get her started back up in school. She has been being bounced around between my parents and my wife’s parents and we wanted her to have some type of normalcy. That week on Thursday night I talked to my wife and an infection had started to cause some major issues with my son even though he was on antibiotics to prevent that. I immediately got my daughter to pack and we headed down for the second longest 4 hour drive of my life. This one was tough as we left at midnight and my adrenaline kept me going for about two and a half hours then I was just exhausted. I have no idea how we made it but my daughter was awake and helped us get thought the drive safely.

    My son’s liver was failing which was the point of concern we were dealing with at that time. They brought in another machine to try to resolve that problem as well. This infection was reeking havoc on him. The first time they hooked him up to the machine for his liver it did not go well and my son crashed at the end of the treatment but they were able to revive him. They were trying to decide if they should run the treatment again and decided to do it under a much more controlled setting and they disconnected him from dialysis this time while they did it. It was a very stressful few hours but he made it though and did not crash at the end. I had thought we crossed over to the point where this was not going to be a problem and went to sleep.

    The doctor woke me up in the morning and informed my my son’s pupils were no longer responding to light. They believe he had an aneurism or a clot run up to his brain and it was over. We kept him on the machine for another 5 hours for family to arrive but my sone was gone. I could tell he just looked different.

    That is what happened to my son. I will say the longest quietest drive of our lives was coming home without him.

    That is what happened, but again that was not who my son was. He was mature beyond his years and had a light about him like no one else. What kills me is I honestly feel my son was a better MAN then I am and he was only 16. I was so proud and was looking forward to what he was going to accomplish in life. He was a son, brother, and friend. I could tell him ANYTHING (but did not). He was an youth umpire at out local little league for 3 years and was consistently called one the best out there. This past year he moved onto to start coaching 10 year old boys because he wanted to (who does that at 16). I had the honor of coaching him with his first team and it was one of the best memories I will have.

    Thanks for letting me share and if you want to read more his memorial site is

    • GrievingDads says:

      Trey – I am so sorry to hear about son Tyler. Although I have read/heard 1000’s of horrific stories from other dads, I still feel the loss in their words. Your son was an amazing young man and the hole his loss has created in your family’s and his friend’s lives is not measurable.

      I applaud you for starting the website to honor your son. I also applaud you for having the courage to share your story and to seek counseling. As you probably know, you have some very rough days ahead of you. This trauma and grief thing doesn’t go away in months, it takes years of hard work, but I am so happy to hear about your willingness to tell your story, it does get easier to tell as time goes on. The rawness starts to get a little less every time. Its been 11 years for my daughter and 10 years for my son and I am able to tell their story without the emotional breakdown I once had. I cried for years when I told their story, but I do believe each time I told their story, I released a little bit of the pain.

      Feel free to vent here anytime! If you need someone to speak with when you’re having a bad day, feel free to give me a call. I always try to make myself available to other grieving dads. Not sure if you read my book yet, but I encourage you to do so. It captures a lot of what you will experience and it helps you not feel so alone in your grief. The book includes perspectives from hundreds of grieving dads that I interviewed as part of writing the book. If you decide to read it, ease into it, it will trigger emotion.

      Wishing you peace my friend.


  26. Derek says:

    My daughter charlotte Rose Dodson, passed on August 27th. She was four months old, never sick, never a cough, never a fever. My wife and I would talk about how she was too perfect, we knew it was to good to be true. She hardly ever cried, started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks. When she was awake she was all smiles. Just truly a happy baby. Just my beautiful happy girl.

    On the worst day of my life. We got to spend the morning together. I work second shift so I typically never saw her awake during the week. I had to take her to a doc appointment that morning. We had so much fun playing and spending that morning together, then we had to get ready and leave for the doc. It was time for four month old vaccines. Charlotte received the DTAP vaccine that morning. We left, and I took her to the sitters, went home and got ready for work. My wife called me an hour and half later, telling me the sitter just called saying she called 911 because she found Charlotte not breathing an hour after she laid her down for a nap. I work an hour from where I live. By the time I was half way to the hospital I got the dreaded call.

    I lost my happy perfectly healthy baby very shortly after that vaccine. The medical examiners office is tossing it up to sids. Which is basically an I don’t know why your daughter isn’t here anymore.

    I lost my little girl and I don’t know why. I feel as if that’s the hardest part.

    I’m just lost.

    • GrievingDads says:

      Derek – Thank you for sharing your heartbreaking story. We all know its not easy to say or write those words. I am sorry for the loss of your sweet baby girl Charlotte. I wish I could take away the pain you feel inside, but we both know that isn’t possible.

      This journey is filled with confusion and questions. Many of which are never answered. You are still very early in this journey and I ask you to be patient with yourself. It is a long road back to some sort of normalcy. There will be days you will question if this gets better or if you have lost your sanity. It’s a ruthless battle and one that can be managed and even won. If you can seek counseling or/and find a support group, I recommend both of them. You need to allow yourself and your wife the time needed to heal to a point of a new you. I know you don’t want to hear this, but it takes time. I wish I knew how much time, everyone is different. It took me several years to “recover” and I still deal with the impacts from time to time.

      If you haven’t read my book, I encourage you to read it when you are ready and to reread it throughout your journey. Its a good reminder that you are not alone and what you are feeling/experiencing is very normal for this not so normal experience.

      Wishing you peace my friend. There are others guys hear to help.


    • Greg says:

      Derek, your story is one that brought instant tears. I cannot express to you in text. There are no words.

      I lost my little girl July 27th, 2014. She was 2 1/2. I placed her to sleep, and she never woke up. (I posted my story September 13th, 2014. If you scroll down, you should find it.) It is considered SUDC in her case, because she was older than 12 months old. SIDS is designated for children under 12 months old. A couple of months after Lily passed, we found the SUDC Foundation for support and some answers. At the time, the CJ Foundation for SIDS was the umbrella foundation, which the SUDC Program ran under. The CJ Foundation for SIDS might be one group that can help you and your wife. Take any and all help, when you can. But do what you can, on your own time line. Like said by so many, everyone has their own grief road, and no 2 roads are the same.

      I wish you peace. Take 1 hour at a time, then 1 day. Nothing will ever be the same. We have to learn to live again.


  27. Bernie says:

    Thank you Kelly for replying to my email and also for writing the book “Grieving Dads”.
    I read the book in 3 days and found it very helpful in helping myself understand I’m not as messed up as I thought I was. One thing I learned is that it is very therapeutic to tell the story of a child that has passed. I went back to work just shy of 2 weeks after my son passed and I actually looked forward to whoever I was going to meet that day and be able to tell my sons story. Every time I told his story I would cry a bit but somehow found myself feeling better, it really helped. What also helped was I have a few friends that would call me daily just to see how I was doing, did I want to meet for coffee and so on.
    My downward spiral started about 6 months after my son passed. There were fewer and fewer people to tell the story to, the phone calls started to become more infrequent. Believe it or not I would tell the story to strangers, if I went to a store and the cashier asked “How you doing” I would just start. I am real curious if anyone else did this?
    Now for the past 4 months things have really been tough, feeling depressed, no motivation, unable to focus, and just being plain miserable. One of the things that perks me up a bit these days is looking at pictures of my son, I cry as I look at them but then when I’m done I feel a little better. Last week I started therapy on a weekly basis and next week I plan on attending a local Compassionate Friends meeting. Unfortunately I am doing most of this on my own, my wife who I love dearly has a very very close circle of girlfriends. My wife goes away for some weekends with her friends and she gets tremendous support and I am honestly happy for her but I’m kind of left to my own. I have 3 older boys 23, 28, & 30 who are my life and I can rely on them when I need to talk but I can’t really talk to them about being a grieving dad.
    So without further delay here is the story of my 25 year old son Chris.
    To get right to the point, in Chris’s senior year in college Chris got hooked on drugs – percs to be exact. This addiction lasted pretty much his entire senior year but just prior to graduating he decided to check himself into a program for a week and then spent another week home. Despite this Chris did pull it off and graduate, god I give him so much credit. Now right after Chris graduated he moved into a sober house and remained clean and sober. Chris liked the sober house living so much he applied and was offered a job supervising a new sober house that was due to open in a few months. Chris could not have been more proud and excited. As fall rolled around at the end of 2013 Chris took a job with UPS as a seasonal helper (aka slave). Chris hated the job and it really sucked but he was determined to see it thru Christmas anyway. The entire month of December Chris just felt plain awful, headaches and nausea and mostly like he had the flu but Chris just kept plugging along. Finally about 2 weeks before Christmas Chris had enough, after trying to get some sick time from UPS he just walked off the job. From that day up until Christmas Chris thought he was getting better (or at least that’s what he told us) and he was just going to ride it out at the sober house. We would bring him food and he would come over the house a few times but he still looked like crap.
    Merry Christmas, Dec 25, 2013. We all gathered around for opening presents and Chris had come home as well. My wife makes a very big deal out of Christmas and makes sure all the boys get the same amount of present and so on. Opening presents is a 2 hour long ordeal where only one person opens at a time. Right after the presents were done Chris excused himself and went to his old bedroom as he was not feeling well at all. Chris didn’t come down for dinner and when it came time to goto my sister-in-laws for desert Chris said he was just going to go back to the sober house.
    The very next day, Dec 26 Chris called me at 8AM and asked if I could take him to the doctor. I had the day off but my wife had to work. I told Chris I would call and try to get an appointment but the doctors office was closed. After I hounded and hounded him he finally agreed to a trip to the ER. Chris showered and got to my house about 9:15am and we were at my local hospital by 9:30. There was no one there so Chris was seen right away. The ER doctor agreed probably the flu or some other virus and put him on an IV to rehydrate him. As a precaution they drew blood just to rule anything else out and Chris got a second bag of IV fluid. As the second bag was about done Chris started feeling much better as I knew he would and we just waited for the doctor to come in and discharge Chris.
    At 10:30 Dec 26 2013 the doctor returned to the ER room and said to my son “I’m sorry to inform you that you have blood cancer, leukemia”. The doctor further explained that they had this diagnoses confirmed by doing a pathology on his blood and it came back positive. The doctor told us that they had ordered an ambulance to rush Chris to a major hospital in Boston.
    Now wait a minute, beep beep back the bus up I started to question the doctor and he assured me that all the tests were 100% conclusive, leukemia. This hospital was just my local community hospital so I just figured they made a mistake but we would take the ride into Boston to be sure. My oldest son picked up my wife from work and got her to the hospital just in time to ride with Chris in the ambulance. As I drove into Boston I called my sister-in-law who is an oncology nurse at a much bigger hospital, even she said no way could he have leukemia and agreed to meet us at the hospital in Boston.
    Now I’ll get right to the point. It was confirmed that Chris had “Acute Myeloid Leukemia” almost right away and by 2:30 that afternoon Chris was sent to the ICU unit and put on a machine (I can’t spell it at all) that would filter out the extremely high amount of bad cells in his blood, he had to immediately have a second treatment. By 6:30 Chris was given a dose of oral chemotherapy. We were told by the doctors that Chris probably only had 24-48 hours to live if we hadn’t brought him to the hospital. Holy crap, what a day.
    Over the next few months were the usual leukemia treatments, bone marrow tests, chemotherapy and of course a search for a bone marrow donor. Sadly my 3 other boys were not even a close match which really disappointed us but all of a sudden a perfect match was found in the donor bank and things started looking up. Not only was this donor a match but a “Perfect” match. Chris got to come home while everything was set up for the transplant.
    Mid April 2013 Chris finally got his bone marrow transplant and everything went according to plan. In June Chris developed “Graft vs Host” dieses which made him loose his finger and toe nails followed by several layers of skin, boy was he miserable.
    All thru June and July Chris made his every other day visits to the clinic to receive blood, platelets, or what ever else he needed.
    Finally in the end of July/beginning of August the doctors told us that Chris was in complete remission and his latest bone marrow test was negative for any signs of leukemia! Chris made it thank god!
    August was a quiet month with regular visits to the clinic for blood and what not but things were looking good. Mid August Chris developed a small case of pneumonia but that was cleared up quickly.
    The beginning of September we took a small family vacation to Cape Cod (about an hour from Boston) and we had an awesome time. Chris drove himself up to Boston for his clinic visits and then came back. On the last trip he took up to Boston the doctors in the clinic were a bit concerned about his breathing, he seemed out of breath just walking the floor of the clinic so they admitted him for some testing. Obviously we cut a little vacation short to be with Chris.
    For a few days Chris was on the regular oncology floor but when they couldn’t quite get his oxygen levels right he was transferred to the ICU. After a day in the ICU it was decided to intubate him because his oxygen levels weren’t getting any better. My wife and myself were home that morning and when we went to visit him in the afternoon we were shocked to see him on a respirator, my wife almost collapsed. Chris was in good spirits and joking around with us by typing on his iPad trying to keep my wife from loosing it. As time went on Chris’s oxygen levels got a little better but not as much as the doctors wanted so Chris went thru lung biopsy’s, cat scans, MRI’s, and tons of other tests. Every time they took Chris from the room for a test of some sorts his oxygen level would go back down and had to be brought back up by the ventilator. Each time it took longer and longer to get his levels back up. Mid September the doctors decided to heavily sedate Chris because he was trying to fight the ventilator. From this point on Chris never woke up again! We had a constant presence in with Chris, my wife quit work and I came in every day for the “Night Shift” and would stay sometimes till 1am. On October 12th we had a small party in the ICU for Chris’s 25th birthday, again he never woke up.
    A group of Chris’s friends and some local town folk had organized a 5K road race to help make some money for Chris, The race was Sunday October 19. In spite of Chris’s condition the day and the race was awesome. So many people turned out and a lot of money was raised for Chris. My wife wanted to be in the hospital with Chris but I thought it better to have her at the race and the reception that followed so after making an appearance at the race I headed to the hospital. As I sat there holding Chris’s hand, as I usually did I thought I felt something different. Chris’s chest was rising and falling smoothly with the ventilator which it usually didn’t. Usually his chest would rise and fall with a few “Out of Sync” breaths but I chalked this up to him just getting better, hopefully. At the end of the day my wife came in for a short visit and then we both went home exhausted from the day.
    At about 9:30pm my wife was watching tv in the bedroom while I was at my computer in my office when my cell phone rang, it was the hospital’s number on the caller id. I remember letting it ring 4 times hoping it would stop but it didn’t. When I answered the phone the doctor introduced himself and calmly said that I should come into the hospital ASAP. I remember asking the doctor if I should come alone or bring the family, of course he said bring the family. One of my sons drove with my wife while I took my dad in my truck and made as many phone calls as I could think of. Within an hour the hospital was full of Chris’s brothers, aunts, uncle, grand parents and 2 of Chris’s best friends which I felt obligated to call. In total we had about 20 people crammed into Chris’s ICU room. The doctor pulled me aside and explained that all Chris’s levels had tanked just before he called me and that they were able to somewhat stabilize him with medicine but Chris was now on 100% oxygen and the doctor said that Chris would never take a natural breath again or wake up! In talking with my wife and my nurse sister-in-law we decided to let the doctors stop the meds that were keeping him somewhat going and let him finally have peace. We were asked to leave the room for a few minutes while the doctors and nurses removed the meds and shut off all the monitors, the only thing running was the ventilator. My wife sat on Chris’s right and I sat on his left and just held his hands with all his relatives and friends surrounding his bed.
    At 1:10am October 20, 2014, 8 days after Chris’s 25th birthday and not even 12 hours after Chris’s road race Chris peacefully slipped away. There were no beeps or alarms that went off but I was holding his hand and I didn’t even realize it but I was feeling his pulse. I only noticed that I was feeling his pulse when it suddenly stopped. I turned to get up and tell the doctor but he was right behind me holding my shoulder as he turned off the ventilator.

  28. SurferJoe says:

    Does this ever get easier?

    We lost our daughter in November 2008. She was our first.

    She was nearly full-term and they said it was most likely an umbilical cord accident. I just know one day she was there and we were happy and waiting and then the next day I got a worried call from my wife: “Something doesn’t feel right” and then I drove out to meet her at her doctor’s office and a little while later we both saw the look on the ultrasound tech’s face – a look I know many of you have seen – and suddenly our little world collapsed in on itself.

    It changed us. How can it not.

    We went to a support group for several weeks and then transitioned to a therapist. We went together for several months and then she stopped going – I continue to go until this day.

    We’ve been blessed to have two children after our loss: our son, who is nearly 5-and-a-half and our daughter, who just turned 3.

    I know find my wife and I headed down different paths. She asked for a divorce in March and it will be final by the end of August. I lost my daughter and now I am losing the partner I suffered and endured that loss with. I recently found a journal I had kept in the weeks following our loss and I signed off my final entry by praising my wife and saying how I would never have gotten through this without her and how I didn’t know if I could continue to get through this without her – and now I am having to face a future without her.

    We had a good relationship – a great relationship – but I think the death of our relationship began when we lost our daughter. I went from being a very emotionally open person to being somewhat closed off – I think as a way to protect myself from the emotional pain I went through when we lost our daughter. I know my priorities changed. I became so wrapped up in having more children – as if they could somehow make up for her loss – and when they finally arrived I focused so much of my time and energy on them.

    I’ve read that many losses lead to divorce. I guess I thought we wouldn’t fall into that trap – I thought we were strong enough – I guess I was naive.

    I just know nothing has seemed “right” since November 11th, 2008. My happy world suddenly lost its luster. I enjoy life. I know I have a lot to live for – especially these two incredible kids. I have my health. The sun rises in the morning – yet I just cannot shake this sadness – compounded now by the loss of my relationship – a loss I also don’t understand.

    You just never realize that life can be this hard when you’re young – and I don’t want to sound like I am complaining because I know so many have it so much worse – but I guess I just expected to have what my mom and dad had/have: a lasting relationship, a couple of kids, a house in the suburbs, stability and happiness and everything else. I never in a million years would have guessed that my path would fall so differently than that.

    Anyway, I think about her every single day. I feel like she’s with me – like I bump into her now and then. I feel like I owe it to her to live the best life I can – to experience as much as I can because she experiences it through me. That said, I’m so scared right now. I feel so alone. My current loss and the loss of my daughter are connected – it’s like just when maybe you think you’ve turned a corner and gotten on with it another punch is waiting to floor you.

    I know things will get better again. I know I will smile again. I know I an pull myself out of this depression – but right here, right now – in this very moment – it seems so hard, so distant, so impossible. Yet, I get up every morning and I go on. It’s all I can do.

    • Greg says:

      I lost my daughter last year. I posted below on September 13th. My life has also gotten worse. My wife and older (adopted) daughter moved out of the house about a month ago, so I go home to a silent house. In less than a year, my life has become a miserable existence. When I go to sleep, I usually wish for the same fate as my daughter.

      In your last paragraph, you describe this life of ours. I wish you peace. Thank you for sharing your story… your life.

      • Gkiger says:

        Greg…..please don’t give up…it’s hard, very hard, I get it…..but your love for your daughter doesn’t dimish, it carries in you forever and in fact it gets bigger, stronger and it’s as if you know her even more….sorry I don’t know the age of your daughter…….but try to get help if you need that, private counselor and maybe your not ready for a group setting, but you will learn you’re not alone…..your wife and other daughter still need you in their life….they do….talk to them, express yourself and what you feel, but also listen to their pains, their needs and pain…it hurts deep to lose a child….but keep fighting back is the only way to do this…..going on 3 years for me and my wife and daughter…..remember they went through this as well…”with you”……my thoughts for you and your family that healing continues…..

      • SurferJoe says:

        Hang in there, man – it’s all we can do. Yes – life has gotten dramatically harder because now I am without my partner – the person I went through this with. She was my rock – and vice-versa – but we managed to lose one another. Losing a child changes you in ways you cannot comprehend and just when you think you’re doing okay – you find out you weren’t. I miss my daughter every single day and I know miss my wife every single day. Yes – she is still “here” – we still live together (for the time being, at least) and we will forever be linked together by our three children (and our shared loss) – but the deep human connection we once shared is gone and that loss is almost as painful as losing our daughter.

        You just need to keep being strong – even when it feels like you have no more reserves of strength – you have to keep moving forward. I often think that I owe it to my daughter to do as much living in the days I have left as I possibly can – because she lives through me. When the sun shines down on my face – it shines on her face, too. She never got the chance to experience any of the true joys of life – but maybe she can through me.

        Keep your head up! You’re not alone – we’re all here to support one another.

  29. Jacob says:

    I am glad I came across this site, it allows me to tell my story, and not be looked down upon. I am glad I am no longer alone in this.

    This is one of the hardest things that I will ever write about. It has been nearly 10 years, and it hasn’t gotten any easier, nor any less painful. Time does not mend a broken heart, I do not think it is possible to find peace.

    I can’t just cover the loss of my child, so I will cover the full story, if you read through the whole story, thank you very much. It was 2006, I was young and dumb as we all are at 17, and in March I ended up getting my fiance (my girlfriend at the time) pregnant. We were both scared, I thought God was not happy with us, and thought it was a true unwanted burden. But the minute I felt my baby kick, I fell in love. It is uncomparable, the love that you feel, all of a sudden this mistake, or unwanted burden, was a wanted miracle. That moment forward, the only thing that mattered was my baby and my girl. This was the happiest time of my life. We found out that it was a boy, and I can’t explain how thrilled I was, all I wanted to do is be a dad, the only thing I ever looked forward to was raising my son. He brought out a side in me that I didn’t even know I had, I think it happens to a lot of dad’s and/or dad-to-be’s, something like a daddy syndrome. We came to an agreement to name my son after my idol and hero, Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Unfortunately, there were complications with the pregnancy, due to my health history at the time, and due to my girl’s family health history, my son was only given a 20% chance of survival. This made me nearly depressed, I was praying for a miracle, I would’ve done anything, and given up everything to see my son survive, but that just wasn’t enough. My son was set to be born December 7, 2006, but was unfortunately born premature on September 21, 2006. From there, he was immediately sent to NICU. The amazing, and commendable staff of medical professionals working in there tried everything, just to keep a dumb teenage couple’s son alive, and this gave me hope, but it was all in vein. My son was pronounced dead on December 8, 2006, in the NICU unit. Once again, I commend the hospital for letting us (my girl and I) stay so long, and see our son after he passed away. We stayed in that hospital for over 12 hours crying over our son, we wouldn’t leave on our own, they actually had to call someone to come and pick us up. This was and still is the saddest moment of mine and my fiance’s lives. We still cry every September 21st and December 8th, because of the emotional toll it had on us, and we still think about our son every day. R.I.P son, I love you and miss you, and I can’t wait to see you again when I reach God’s celestial shore.

    Robert Edward Lee Hamilton
    9/21/06 – 12/8/06

    • GrievingDads says:

      Jacob – I am sorry for the loss of your son Robert. I believe that the loss of a child stays with you for life and has major impacts (good and bad) that we don’t even realize. I am glad you found us here. Trust me when I tell you this, you are not alone. This journey is populated with more grieving parents than most people know. I felt alone as well, that’s why I wrote my book, I wanted to find out if what I was feeling was “normal”. I learned quickly that there were a lot of us out there and that everything I was feeling and experiencing is completely normal. Its just part of the deal.

      Thank you for having the courage to tell your story. Its not easy and it triggers a lot of emotion. Wishing you peace on your journey.


      • Jacob says:

        Thank you for your reply Kelly, it means a lot. I understand what you mean when you said that telling your story triggers a lot of emotions. As I was typing it out, I was crying my eyes out, and I will admit it. Reading through other people’s stories on here, I see that we all share something and I see now that I’m definitely not alone. Losing my son has had most definitely had positive and negative impacts on my life. It helped me strengthen my relationship, but it also sent my girl and I into a state of not wanting anything to do with anyone but each other; so we cut ties with many of our friends and family members, and some of them I still haven’t talked to even to this day. I’m sure that there are also positive and negative impacts that I haven’t noticed. So many things have happened since then, but I still look to Heaven each day, and think of my son, and what could’ve been, it truly never gets easier, we just have to live through it. My life is looking up at the moment, I’m getting married, on October 21, to the woman who would’ve been the mother of my son. We’ve been together since 2004, I have a steady career with the local Police Department as a Police Officer, and I recently received my ministry license to be a preacher, and I’m beginning to preach the word of God. My fiance and I have agreed that if we have another kid, if it’s a boy, we will name it after our first child, in his memory. I’ll keep everyone updated from time to time, God has a plan, and it’s time to put it into action! Thank you men.

  30. Rick Kauffman says:

    Thank you for the opportunity to talk on the phone yesterday. It’s been a long time since I had talked about my daughter Kelsey. It has been 22 years ago that she died in a tragic accident on June 15, 1993.
    She was in the care of our babysitter on that day. But however I have blamed myself for what has happened on that day. I took her to get her hair cut on that morning and she wanted to go with her older sister. She was at the city pool taking swimming lessons. So I did take her and drop her off to the babysitter while they were at the pool. 45 minutes later I got a call, back at my shop as I own my own business. They had found her unresponsive in the big pool. Somehow she got from the kiddy pool to the big pool. We have never found out how she found her way in the pool, ether fell, pushed or she got in on her own. Her older sister at that time was 7 years old can remember seeing her in the water and at the bottom. She then was found floating on top of the water 8 feet away from the life guard who never saw her, two boys found her.
    I then went to the hospital and was there before the squad, the paramedic jumped out before the ambulance came to a stop holding my daughters lifeless body. They transported her by care flight to Children’s in Columbus Ohio. By the time we got there she was gone. Needless to say a lot of things have happened after that. So much so it has been a 22 year journey to bring me here to your page.
    There was nothing like this back then, the internet was just starting, no blogs, YouTube or other mediums to help. I did read many books, grief groups and counseling learned a lot about my grief but in many ways didn’t help much. However we did have 2 more children after Kelsey’s death but our marriage was doomed due to different ways that Dad’s and Mother’s or Husbands and Wives grieve. We ended up getting a divorce.
    I have wanted to tell my story so many times and write a book and reach out to other to see how I can help them. Just never did that as I felt that nobody would listen or didn’t know how to go about it. The time is now and I’m ready But Father’s as you have done a great job in saying we are to be strong not show our emotions. Be the protector. Any father would lay his life down to protect his child from harm. I failed Kelsey I wasn’t there to protect her. So I have been working on my story to publish in a book called A Father’s Loss. The story will cover a lot about what happened, but most of all how destructive grief can be to one’s life.
    I will say life does get better as time goes by. I do have those days that it all comes back and I have to deal with the pain. Your page is great and I feel have found a new friend within your community here. I would love to help you in your cause for the Dad’s out there that I was not all that fortunate to have help me, But I have made it thus far when I never thought that I would get by the first year let alone 22 years. Her birthday is next week as she was born on July 3, 1989 so it all comes together from the anniversary of her death June 15, Father’s day and then her birthday July 3. A very tough time of the year.
    I do have a Facebook page I have started called A Fathers Loss. I’m working on my blog website and my book at this time. Please feel free to contact me and let me know how I may help in anyway. It has been a long time but I feel very strongly as you do that Dad’s grieve also and endure their own tragic pain in a very different way that nobody understands unless they have lived it.
    I would like to share with you and your readers a lot about my personnel story of grief over the years, I know that I will live with the grief for the rest of my life. I have learned so much about myself over this time and hope that I can help others and save them from the destructive force of the grief that we live with.

    I would like to leave you with this one thought that was shared with me in a grief group that another parent shared. Not sure of one’s faith so I would put it this way. “If you had a crystal ball and given the future or God was to come to you and tell you that you were going to have a child but when that child would be a certain age be it 1 day 1 month 1 year or 10, 20 years old you would lose that child or they be called home to heaven would you still want that child?” That question floored me and I thought long and hard about it as we are very selfish. But I said yes I would and make every day count. But of course we are not given the future maybe for good reason.

    Thank you for all you do and so grateful that I have found your page,

  31. truiz27Tommy says:

    It’s been a while since I last wrote on here. Huge changes in my life. I ‘celebrated’ my daughter, Jewel’s, one year anniversary at the end of January. In fact, my wife was pregnant with our first son, and we had a combined one year birthday / baby shower party. Tons of family! It was nice to have the them around for support. Of course, very happy to be welcoming our son, but still emotional with the remembrance of Jewel and everything that happened a year prior. (she experienced complications right before birth, 39 weeks and 5 days – severe meconium aspiration – and had to be resuscitated, but was being kept alive by machines for 3 days before we had to make the horrible decision to let her rest) Fast forward to March. Our son Julius was born, healthy and strong, on March 21 of this year. I must admit, the whole time my wife was in labor was very nerve wrecking for me. Watching his heartbeat on the monitors, making sure everything was okay and that he would come home with us. The doctors’ and nurses were amazing and did everything in their power to make sure he would come out safely. There was a slight scare, however, as he came out, as he was a bit stressed from the whole transition. But they cleared his nose and mouth, warmed him, and I heard his first cry. I broke down right then and there. Overwhelmed with millions of emotions all coming out at once. (I never heard jewel cry. Only seen her open her eyes and slightly move her arms and fingers). Fast forward to now. Julius is just over 2 months old. I love that he’s here. I never thought I would feel happiness again after the horrible 2014 that my wife and I experienced. But he’s brought such joy back to us. But there are definitely times that I’m overwhelmed with sadness. When he was born, he looked identical to Jewel. And at certain angles, in certain pictures, and certain looks he gives us, he looks just like her – and I can’t help but get sad and overcome with tears. I hate it. I hate that he’ll never be able to meet her. He’ll never be able to play with her. He’ll never be able to grow up with her. I can’t even begin to explain the amount of love I have for him and the amount of happiness that he brings. We often sit with him in front of her picture and he stares at it. We talk about her often to him and he will definitely know all about Jewel as he grows up. It’s weird having this happiness and sadness at the same time. It’s just something I have to learn to live with. Well, thank you for reading my story.

    • GaryK says:

      Hi john
      What a great and painful thing to write, but so wonderfully written. I wonder the same John, “when does it get better”. Two and half years since our son past and it has been better since his passing, but some days are still very difficult and I’ve come to the point those days will come and come….the wound, the scar will always be there, masked over by smiles while talking to others. My wife understands, my daughter does as well, but others don’t. What I miss John is a simple word…”joy”…..I pray, I go to church, I believe in God, but my human faults take the joy away from a level I use to have and miss…..I ask myself is this the new norm, is it. Currently I fight this daily, but I tell myself, I must find a way out of this, but how I ask. Love for your child is profound and wish there was an easy way to fix it, but I’m fighting my way through this and im fighting myself as well.

      Does time really mend a broken heart…..I guess I’ll find out or die trying…..maybe I just have not found “peace” with this yet or turned it over to God.

      Wish you and your family healing John and to so many others out there that have lost a child no matter what age. Prayers…

      • John says:


        Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. You are so right — joy is a difficult thing to find these days. I find joy in my family and in serving. But that’s pretty much it.

  32. Dave says:

    Max was my beautiful 10 year old son who passed suddenly on the 8th January. He had some blood tests done in November which came back showing a high muscle enzyme so was referred to great Ormond Street Hospital to be checked for Dystrophy or other auto immune diseases. In himself you wouldn’t really know anything was wrong apart from the fact he was looking tired and struggled walking long distances and going up lots of stairs. I noticed how weak his legs were when he wanted to play football in the garden over Christmas. He was in good spirits and started to look well again after sleeping in most mornings and getting rest.

    We had a great Christmas together as a family. He went back to school on January 6th.
    On the Thursday he said he had a great day at school and enjoyed himself. He said he was tired at 9pm and went to bed. My wife put him to bed and kissed him goodnight and then I checked on him at 11pm and he had passed away.

    Having to do CPR and having emergency services over was horrific knowing he had already gone.
    It was an horrific night all in all. I miss my best friend and son so much. His sister Molly is now 16 and has exams next month and doesn’t know how to deal with this (mind you nor do we).

    Life feels very empty without Max our lovely, happy and always smiling boy. He had such a kind nature always looking out for others and concerned about others wellbeing.

    Life shouldn’t be this way – it hurts so much.


    • GrievingDads says:

      Dave – I am so sorry for the loss of you son. This is not a group anyone wants to know about or be a part of, but there is no going back. You story is heartbreaking and I know that find him this way along with the CPR and emergency services is traumatic. Most of is on this site has experienced some level of PTSD as a result of losing our children. I wish I could take a way your pain and tell you that this will be over soon, but I can’t. The truth is that there is a long road ahead of you. However, you don’t have to go it along, there are a lot of grieving dads on here that will help you along the way. And in turn, you will do the same for others. We are a community of dads that are trying everyday to survive this pain but also we are able to connect with others so there will be days that we’ll need some help.

      I encourage you to read my book if you can or haven’t yet. It will provide some insight into what I and many other men have go through. I also encourage you to find a good counselor and support group and to take an active role in the group, meaning talk about what’s on your mind.

      Wishing you peace my friend.


    • Greg says:

      I lost my daughter in July of last year. Your story hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve survived 235 days. Every day I wake up, is another day I have survived, we have survived. My wife and I found my daughter in bed on a Sunday morning. Lily was 2 years, 7 months old. My wife, an RN, proceeded to do CPR on Lily, but we both knew she was dead. That morning is burned in my memory. I don’t have to describe this ‘event’ to you anymore. You lived it. The autopsy found nothing wrong with Lily. She passed away from SUDC (sudden unexplained death in childhood). Your description of Max personality mimics Lily’s personality… and many more SUDC children, that parents I have spoken with.
      Please take Kelly’s advice. I am sorry you lost your best friend / son. I, too, feel the same.
      Much love,

    • Kevin Black says:


      Like Kelly said, I wish I could take away your pain and make this horrible nightmare just go away, but I can’t. There are no magic words to ease your suffering. It is necessary to take things one day at a time, one hour at a time and sometimes one minute at a time.

      Mason has been gone for 1086 days. He died on the Saturday between Good Friday & Easter Sunday in 2012. He too was my best friend, my son, my shadow.

      Again as Kelly said, support groups can be good. We found a local chapter of Compassionate Friends and we can’t say enough good things about our group. That being said, it wasn’t the first support group we found. We tried several before we found one we fit in.

      I wish for peace for you, brother.

    • GaryK says:

      So sorry for the loss of your son Dave and to your wife and daughter….to sit here and think back where we were when we lost our son at 6-1/2 months later now for you and your family brings a flood of pain, & tears missing him so much. It’s crippling both mentally and physically. There is no magic answer on how long the healing will take for each of you as you will all vary in your own healing process….our daughter had a very difficult time as well with school and removed herself for one semester to cope…..your right, “life shouldn’t be this way”, no body tells you that or teaches you how you cope or heal from the death of a child and it’s something you and your family have to fight your way through it……As Kelly stated, when the time comes get to a greiving class or a counselor to help in the process… does help…..isolsation is something you need to begin with the start healing, but later, as hard as it feels to do, join a group……your not alone in this process…..

      Wish you and your family healing, better days, as they will come, but you will forever be changed……

  33. Tommy says:

    Well, two days I wish wouldn’t come are approaching very quickly. My daughters 1 year birthday (1/29) and her angelversary (feb 1). This year has been a very crazy one – emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually. The birth and passing of my firstborn child – our daughter, Jewel Bella. And all of the pain the followed. Although it’s still very very tough, the overwhelming, unable to do a single thing, sadness, comes less frequently. But when it does, boy does it suck. Fortunately, we’ve had happiness come in the midst of all this pain. Today, my wife is beginning week 30 of her pregnancy with our baby boy, Julius! So the emotions go from really high highs to really low lows at times. A roller coaster of emotions! This being Jewel’s birthday week is definitely bringing some strong emotions. the sadness of course, but also, some happiness and excitement. This Saturday, my wife and I will be throwing a combined 1 year birthday party / baby shower.. honoring Jewel’s brief time with us, and also welcoming our son. It will be a tough day. But it will be a very special day for us as well! Really looking forward to celebrating both of our children! This Thursday, however, is the day I’m stressing/thinking more about. We’re going to try to stay busy that day, but I honestly have no idea how the day will affect us. I feel like we’ve gotten through the very worse of times and we’ve made it to where we’re at now. How? I have no idea! But regardless of how we feel, I know my wife and I will get through it together. Just some things I needed to get off of my chest. Thank you for reading.

    -A grieving dad

    • Greg says:

      Tommy, thanks for sharing your story. Today is 183 days since I lost my daughter. She was 2 years 7 months old. My wife, older daughter, and myself have made it 6 months. I don’t really know ‘how’ either. I wish you all the best in this BS journey of ours. I find some peace that other parents have survived… and so can I. ~Greg~

    • GrievingDads says:

      Tommy – Thanks for sharing your thoughts as you approach this first milestone of your grief journey. Everyone is different, but I found the anticipation of this day is always much worse than the day itself. It is a day that can be used as a day of reflection and a way to honor your sweet little Jewel Bella. She will be with you that day, take the time to feel it. Make the day about her and it will bring pain, tears and smiles. Find a cause to volunteer, make a donation in her honor, do a balloon release, something/anything that reminds you of her.

      Wishing you peace my friend.


      • edcol52 says:

        Tommy- I agree with Kelly. For me the anticipation of the day was much worse than the actual day. We lost our 24 year old son a little more than a year ago. On the 28th, the day of his passing, we had a small gathering with some of his closest friends and told stories, shared memories, ate cookies, laughed and cried together. We managed the other ‘anniversaries’ throughout the year, his birthday, the day of his funeral, (New Year’s Eve) in much the same way. Do take those days and make them yours. Remember your daughter, feel her presence, she is always with you.


    • I miss that same thing, Tommy! I was waiting to become a first-time father last summer. I would kiss my baby boy from out of his mom’s belly and said “Good morning!” to him. The first thing I would do when I saw them (wife and boy, one) again would be to kiss that belly again and say “Good evening!” I had gone into this habit of him waking up when he heard daddy’s voice. Toward the end, I would nearly make up his facial features as he felt he pressed his little nose to the belly and into the cup of my hand.

      We went to have him on May 30. He had been breach, and we were scheduled for a C-section. So many urgent cases came and each time would snag our O.R. from us. At some point in time, we were encouraged that we could come on Monday. Our doctor did not seem to think two more days would wait. We came home, and the next day, a Saturday, I got once more to wake him up, even though I was sooo longingly disappointed that I was not already holding him “proper.”

      We filed in that Monday, and the worst day of my life started with a heart monitor that stayed silent…. Our baby had decided to turn at the last moment and the chord had become constricted, therefore blood supply choked, and he died. My wife spend the next agonizing hours giving birth naturally, because doctors felt it would be better.

      My biggest regret (other than leaving the hospital that Friday) is that I did not get attached to that belly every second of my wait in that hospital, so I could stay with him a bit longer. As they brought this perfect little boy weighting 7 lb. 1.8 ounces and 20.5 inches long, I was, regrettably, too shy of what the morbidity of holding on to a dead baby, even though I wanted to have as many pictures as I could. I was also shocked that, even though he was perfect, his head was a bit soft (because of the long time spent in the birth canal) and I feared he would come apart in my arms. Therefore, I did not hold him for more than two minutes. I only got to kiss his cold but smooth cheek once. My worst sin that day was that I convinced my wife to give him up. You see, my wife was holding our dead little son and talking to him as if he was alive, and she was finally just serene and simply telling her son “How beautiful you are, my love!” I feared my wife would go insane with pain of being attached too much. So I convinced that is was time to let him go.

      We ended up not holding our son in our presence for more than a few minutes. And we had no pictures of him in our arms. The nurses, however, did something I will never be able to repay them for, and gave us four pictures of our baby after we gave him up, in a memory box with the blanket he was wrapped on, his cap and some hand and foot prints.

      Thirteen days later, after the autopsy, I reunited with my son’s remains (now in a tightly sealed little coffin) and with my arms lowered him into the ground in the beautiful patch of land the hospital has with all the babies. He was, as when I held him, nearly weightless. The beauty of this place is that it is two miles from our place, a short jog away.

      I visit him every week, or at least I try. Some days are very hard, some are easier. I just wish my wife and I could shake this feeling of being so utterly alone when we wake in the morning. We have been lucky that our strong relationship has gotten stronger. But now, faced with the uncertainty of the future, it feels like getting pregnant again is such a challenge (the first one was, we felt, so easy).

      I am sorry I hijacked your post, Tommy! I just wanted to say that I know exactly what you are going through. Today is especially hard, because now every little emotional thing, like a video of kindness shared on Facebook, brings me to tears and brings my boy to mind. This is how I started crying today and googled for a place like this. Thanks in advance for letting me put these words here, to you and the creator of this site. May God bless your families and angels forever.

      With respect,


  34. Matt L says:

    Greetings all….
    This Christmas season was my 4th since our angel Riley, passed away in 2011. Overall it went better than I expected. I took sometime off of work for Christmas and was able to feel some sense of normal.

    We celebrated New Year’s Eve with some friends (in bed by 930p) and woke up New Year’s Day with a stomach bug. Riley has a twin sister who is thriving and doing very well! So later during New Year’s day, Reagan asked me to dance with her. BTW, you never refuse a 3 year old’s request to dance. So Reagan grabs the iPad and launches Pandora. The first song that comes on is “Over The Rainbow” by I.Z. It’s a special song that means a lot to us and Riley’s short life with us. Reagan and I danced to the song and I was in tears the whole time. I haven’t cried like that for a long time….. It felt good, but it also freshened all the memories of Riley and made me extremely thankful I have Reagan to dance with.

    Since then, I have been back in a little “funk” of depression and anxious spells again. These are nowhere near as bad or extreme as the first year after Riley passed away, but they still suck. I can function fairly normal now, but the racing thoughts are still on the back of my mind. Today’s trigger was the passing of Stuart Scott, who died after battling cancer for 7 years. I’ve thought about going back to counseling after taking a year off, but my wife will say that I am doing well and we don’t need the expense. Death isn’t the trigger but lately it has been cancer, which is weird. When Riley first passed away, I was concerned about heart issues. However, everything in my health exams show I am a normal person who has gone through a traumatic experience.

    I find that these intrusive thoughts come more frequently at home when I am idle. A lot of the time I would prefer to be at work…. I love my job, but I don’t want to make it an escape for me and avoid the time I need with my family. Often times, I don’t want to burden my wife with my thoughts as I know she has enough on her plate with a FT job, mother, and wife…

    I also started working out again in November and was loving being back in the gym. It has helped, but now I am faced with find the motivation to continue exercising.

    Have any of you experienced these? What have you done? These episodes tend to be shorter every time and less intense, but they still suck.

    Thanks in advance.

    Matt L

    • GrievingDads says:

      Matt – Its good to hear from you, its been a little while. I am happy to hear that you had gotten your depression and anxiety under “control”. What you are experiencing now is a minor set back which is very common. There are triggers that often cause us to go into a “funk”. If you need to go to counseling for a “tune up” do it. I go back probably once a year. After my book was published, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I think it was a result of doing something in honor of Katie and Noah and knowing I was helping some many others along this path. My book has been published for near 3 years now and I have lost some of that peace. My personality type lends itself to wanting to concur the world, but I have come to realize I need to learn to keep it under control. I notice every time I starting taking on new ventures, I become overwhelmed and the sadness and other things start to bog me down. I suspect this is something we’ll have to deal with the rest of our lives on some level due to the trauma we have all endured.

      Hang on to those moments with Reagan and know the Riley is right there with the both of you. Dancing and singing along.



  35. lfergusonjr says:

    Redemption, restoration, and reconciliation. Those are the words that have come to embody my story of horror, pain, heartbreak, brokenness, loss, and despair. My story is coming full circle–I am a different person than I was. My life has been fundamentally changed… but I am amazed at what God is doing with my story… Here’s a link to a fairly recent newspaper article. Be forewarned, it is hard to read…
    Thanks for your work. Would love to speak with you more…
    Les Ferguson, Jr.

    • GrievingDads says:

      Les – I read your story and I am not really sure where to begin. Your story is horrific and I sorry for the pain you have had to endure as a result of this monster. As you can imagine, I have heard some pretty screwed up stories from other grieving dads since I started this project, but yours ranks right up there with the worst of them. It takes a lot of strength the endure the loss of a child (and wife) in such a way.

      As you have seen in your congregation over the years and now in you own experience, you know that anger/rage and guilt can be the biggest destroyers in a persons life. I know I carried a lot of anger and guilt for years before I made a decision to attempt to let them go the best that I could. This didn’t happen over night and it required a lot of telling my story (allowing myself to become transparent and vulnerable) and time.

      I agree with you that the power of God and the peace he has brought to me has allowed me to create the Grieving Dads Project> I have heard from dads from around the world that has reached out to me and told their story for the first time. My book has allowed many other dads to start down the path of healing by realizing they are not alone in their pain and thoughts.

      Feel free to reach out to me anytime at (630) 561-5989. I would love to hear from you.



  36. Scott Overstreet says:

    I am so glad I came across this website. I started searching out grieving fathers support groups not for me personally, but after I saw a soon to be father in the waiting area during my wife’s appt. for our son who is due in April. Anyway, when I saw this guy I had the biggest flashback to 2 years ago when I found out the hard news that my first son was really sick and probably would not make it. And looking at this gentleman I thought to myself I want to help fathers out who have gone through losing a child. I want to just talk to this guy and let him know that he will get through whatever life is about to throw at him and that there are other fathers out there who have gone through what he is going through. Just to make sure he did not feel he was alone in having to go through possibly losing his child.

    Here is my story. Two years ago my wife and I found out that our first son had a genetic disorder called IPEX. IPEX affects boys immune system and the life expectancy of boys with IPEX is anywhere from 1 year to 5 years old. So we prepared ourselves for this by working with dr.’s in getting a bone marrow transplant scheduled to perhaps cure my son’s IPEX. Bone marrow transplant is the only way to cure the affects of IPEX on a boys body.

    Anyway the day came and we realized my son had severe issues that could not be fixed which were more than likely the result from IPEX, so he passed away after 15 days of life. I went to counseling and after a year and a half I felt I had gotten through the worse parts of sadness. During this time my wife had had a miscarriage unfortunately and I just felt it was just another hurdle to climb in the journey of life.

    Then a week ago my wife and I found out that my second son due in April has IPEX. Its still raw and I go from angry to ready to take on the challenge of doing the bone marrow transplant for this son and him being healthy afterwords. I do feel that the bone marrow transplant will be done this time and everything will work out but for a baby to have to go through this just pisses me off. But in saying that my mindset going forward is that I know that going through this with my second son is going to test my strength and resolve as a man but I know above all else I will come out an even better father and a man than I ever dreamed of being.

    Anyway, in the future I hope to be able to tell people my story and perhaps help fathers out like the one I saw recently. Thank you so much for putting a website up like this Kelly. Two years ago or even a year ago I don’t know that I would be able to read the stories I have read here today. But now I can and now I know that time heals even the worst of pain.

    • GrievingDads says:

      Scott – Thanks for sharing your story. I am sorry for the losses you had to endure, this is a tough road to travel. Wishing you and your son the best as you approach his due date.

      We are here for you anytime and please keep us posted on your new baby boy.



    • applejack76 says:

      Scott, thank you for sharing your story.

  37. Arlie says:

    I wanted to start by thanking you for putting up this website, it has been very helpful to me in dealing with my grief, as so many others have found it to be as well.

    Our daughter was 4 months premature and did not survive the birth, our lives have not been the same ever since. Both my wife and I took the loss very hard, our daughter was not expected but she was very much welcome in our lives, and although we never got to bring her home or be parents, we loved her very much. The way my wife and I grieved has been very different, and very much what societal norms expect from us, my wife cried a lot, rarely ate, or drank anything for the first couple of weeks, I on the other hand buried myself in work, and in my downtime, I became very obsessed with video games, anything to keep my mind occupied.

    Time passed as always happens, but the world seems to be constantly throwing it back in our faces. There always seems to be someone on Facebook who is posting baby pictures, telling cute stories, or sharing ultrasound photos or something, and to us it’s salt in the wound. The other day I was stuck in line waiting for the cashier to get to me, and I heard two women behind me going on about their recently born children, and I found myself grinding my teeth and clinching my fist so tight that for the next few days my hand and jaw were very sore, part of me wanted to turn around and yell at these two women to shut the hell up and leave me be, but I understood they wasn’t doing it on purpose and their intent was not to hurt me. Anger now seems to be the closest emotion to the surface for me, it does not take much for me to unleash a verbal tirade on people that annoy me, whereas before I was always able to hold my tongue. Coworkers, management, friends and family seem either unable or unwilling to understand I no longer have the control I used to. Thoughts of my daughter, the loss of my only child, not getting to be a daddy, all of this is just under the surface, and it fills me with a constant anger.

    I have been told that it has been four months and while I have sympathies and sorrows of others, its time to move on and get over it. I’ve been told that they experienced the loss of grandparents, parents and even pets and where I am coming from is understood. When I tried to talk about my anger when I overhear or see baby talk, I have been told that I shouldn’t feel that way, like I have some sort of control over these emotions and should just stop feeling them. I have had a couple people tell me that my wife and I are still young enough, we could simply just have another baby, as if our daughter is interchangeable with another baby. I have even been told that God did this to get my attention and bring me to his “loving embrace”, apparently “God” is not man enough to come after me directly and has to pick on my child.

    Now it is the holiday season, my wife and I have gone through the motions, put up a Christmas tree, threw some lights in the windows, and even bought gifts, but it feels as empty as the nursery. To make matters worse for us, December 17 was our daughters projected due date, and as the day draws nearer the loss feels fresh once more, as if it happened only last week.

    • Jacqueline says:


      First off, I am so sorry about the loss of your baby girl. I also had a premature son who did not make it and passed away on November 20th, 2014. And like you, my husband has had to endure comments about simply having more children and “moving on”, as if there is such a thing after a tragedy of this magnitude. Sometimes while wrapped up in my overwhelming grief, I forget that he is hurting too. I forget that it was his son as well and I also forget that he loved his child with his entire being just as I did.

      Don’t let the disrepectful and insensitive comments get under your skin, I know it is hard and I know you are filled with overwhelming anger, sadness, frustration and a host of other emotions but just take solice in the fact that there are people out there (and here) who unfortunately know your pain and can relate. Surround yourselves with people who truly care for you and are there to embrace you emotionally or physically. Look for those who genuinely want to hear how you are really doing when they ask how you are and aren’t looking for sugarcoated responses to protect THIER feelings. This is a time you find our who your friends and family really are and who is really standing behind you.

      I hope you and your wife one day find peace. I have not found it yet myself but it’s got to be out there somewhere, right?


  38. Kym says:

    I read your book over a 3 day period and cried all the way through it, though I felt strangely relieved that I was not alone.

    Our oldest Son Andrew was born on 26 October 1988 and was killed by a Taxi Driver on 26 May 2012 when he was just 23. The driver fled the scene but was tracked down by the Police (who were amazing) and charged within 48 hours. However a lack of resources and indifference by the prosecution to Andrew’s case because it’s only a “driving charge” vs a more serious charge, delays in the justice system and games by his defence attorneys have meant that 2.5 years later we still have no firm trial date and are likely to have to wait another 10-12 months for justice for Andrew.

    Every day I am overwhelmed by not having Andrew with us and angry and frustrated at our “justice” system. Three of his birthdays have passed since Andrew died, the third Christmas is coming up and yet the trial of the man who killed Andrew still has not even started. I feel this tremendous weight to fight for Andrew and at the same time wanting to grieve, move forward and just give up. And to be honest it’s doing my head in. Many days I am paralysed with inaction and can focus on nothing else which of course has resulted in emotional, physical and financial struggles which creates a vicious circle that just loops and loops.

    Reading your book helped me for a couple of days by making me by being able to connect with others’ pain and helping take me away from my own pain and frustration. Thank you for the book and this forum.

    • GrievingDads says:

      Kym – I am so very sorry for the loss of your son Andrew. I cant imagine the agony of watching this mess drag on for 2.5 years and still do not have any resolution in site.

      Everything you are feeling about wanting to fight for him, grieving for him and just give up is all part of this mess. I knew I wanted to do something after the death of my children to make sure they were never forgotten. But I also knew I had to start the grieving process. I didn’t have the energy to fight from day one. But our circumstances are different, you have a very valid reason to keep fighting. If you can try to fit in time to grieve during this fight by going to support groups, counseling, write about your experiences, etc. Find a way to vent and it different for everyone.

      I am glad my book has helped you in some way. It was written to those of us on this journey do not feel so alone in our pain. To realize there are others out there on the same fight.

      Thanks you for reaching out and sharing your story. Please keep coming back and use this forum to vent and to tell us how Andrew’s story is unfolding.



  39. truiz27 says:

    My daughter, Jewel Bella, went home on February 1 of this year. She got very sick right before she was born. Severe Maconium Aspiration Syndrome. And fought for her life for 3 days but had too much damage to her brain, lungs, and kidneys… Ive written about it before and dont want to get into the details today. But Fast forward to today. My birthday.. A day I have zero interest in celebrating. Last year on my birthday I remember being so happy because it was going to be the last birthday with just me and my wife.. This year I was suppose to have our first born with us. Its a day I’ve been dreading leading up to it. Happy birthday? What’s so happy about it? My daughters not here to celebrate with me. so far ive tried to not make a big deal out of it. And my coworkers have also respected my wish not to make a big deal ouy of it as well.. But the texts and calls from family jusy keep coming. I guess i cant avoid it entirely. Im staying busy.. Morning wotkout, busy monday at work. But I plan to leave early and have a picnic at my daughters garden with my wife. Really waiting to get back to “normal” tomorrow.

    • GrievingDads says:

      Truiz27 – These days are always hard. Birthdays and holidays from this point forward will never be the same because our kids are not with us to celebrate them. Hard to truly enjoy the day when “something” just isn’t right. I think you are handling the day in a way that’s right for you. Love the idea of hanging out on a picnic with your daughter. Wishing you a very peaceful birthday my friend.


  40. Kirk Lee says:

    Well, 2 years ago tonight i joined this club. 2 years, wow seams like it flew by and yet seems like an eternity. Year 2 was definitely harder than the first year. Seems like year 1 the first 7 months were numb. The first year anniversary hit home that Ashlyn wasn’t coming home. This year the hardest day was yesterday. Having been through the first year and some great advice from several of the guys I knew that the anticipation of the day is worse than the day itself. That didn’t stop it from getting to me no matter what I did. Im blessed that there are people like you all to help get through this. It is true that the only way through this IS through this.

    • Tommy says:

      Hi Kirk,

      Sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing as well. I’m also very appreciative of this site and that every dad on here is willing to share their stories. It’s a group I wish I was never a part of but I take some comfort in knowing that I’m not alone and that like every other dad here, we will get through it together. I’m approaching my daughter’s one year birthday and angel anniversary. The anticipation is something I’m trying to ignore but it’s always there and feels like I can’t get away from it.

    • GrievingDads says:

      Kirk – Yeah, these days will get to you no matter how much you try to prep for them. Based on some of your FB posts, you kept busy honoring Ashlyn. That’s the best we can do, keep their spirits alive.



  41. Vaughan says:

    My daughter died of breast cancer, aged just 34, on 10 July 2012. She had the most amazing courage you would never have expected. I broke down once speaking to her on the phone and she just said: “It’s alright, dad.” She had come to terms with what was happening to her. She could even make jokes. When my wife was tidying her hospital bed, and pulled up the sheet to straighten it, a little voice said: “I’m not dead yet, mother!” It was over two years ago, and I thought things would be getting easier, but we are dreading another Christmas without her. Sometimes things feel bearable and you even think things are finally turning around, then you hear a piece of music, or want to share a story you know she would have loved and laughed at and it all starts again. Will this ever end?

    • GrievingDads says:

      Vaughan – I must say, its been 10 years and 9 years for my losses and music or a situation will still trigger emotion. Not as bad as it was in the early years, but it still hits you. Does it end? No, but it does evolve. You learn to live with it and make other adjustments. I now just like to get a way on the holidays if I can. I know some of my family doesn’t understand why I don’t want to partake in the “festivities”, but its hard to get into it like I use to.

      Wishing you peace as we approach the dreaded holiday seasons which is often bitter sweet because we have these cherished memories, but sometimes those memories also bring pain.


      • Tommy says:

        This is also our first Holiday season after losing our daughter. Went out for a nice dinner on Halloween. We’re going on a little getaway for Thanksgiving. And planning on doing the same for new years. I agree, some of my family can’t understand why we’re not sticking around for the festivities but it’s not something we care to partake in this year. Maybe next year.

  42. It has been 2 years and 9 months, 2 years and 9 months and I can still close my eyes and in an instant be brought right back to December 23, 2011. That’s the day I learned thay my wife and I had lost our 4th child. After having 3, uneventful pregnancies and deliveries and 3 healthy children how could this be? How?

    Things started off normal enough, just like the other pregnancies. Things were a little hectic, I was getting ready to start a new job and we were headed out to a first family vacation. I was not aware Corrine (my wife) was pregnant yet. She had not shared that little bit of information yet, she had a feeling but was not 100% sure. Summer was winding down and we were getting ready for dinner and I was on facebook. I had a new private message, it was from my wife. It said “Dr. R says April 4th is a good day to have a baby. What do you think?” My reply to her, as she was standing in the kitchen and I read this to myself “Are you serious?” Corrine was worried I was mad, she started to cry, I was not mad, just surprised and we joked that I really did need to get that vasectomy.

    Things continued normally and uneventfully from there, aside from my appendix bursting everything was great. Corrine was under a lot of stress as a result of my appendicitis, we had not told our family of the anticipated 4th addition yet even though she was roughly 4 months along. She dreaded telling her family, even though we are in our 30’s and have successfully been raising 3 kids they were never happy that we ever had kids, never supportive. When she told her mother her response was “why so you can get public aid?” Not congratulations but instead a dumbass comment. Not that we were surprised, that’s just who they are, inconsiderate assholes. The tipping point was my sister-in-laws annual Christmas cookie party. We showed up and Corrine was visibly pregnant and this enraged her sister. You see, since Corrine had not formerly told her she had no right showing up at her cookie party pregnant. According to her she ruined her party and that’s all people could talk about. I didn’t hear anyone mention it while we were there and if her friends were so consumed by this then they need to get a life. This started a huge fight, with her sister posting horrible nasty comments on facebook about us and wishing ill will upon us. I mean this is just madness, who behaves this way? Needless to say this caused more stress but we moved on.

    On December 23rd I got home from work at 6am, I worked midnights as a police dispatcher. We had the ultrasound appointment for a little later in the morning so I had breakfast and helped get the 2 youngest kids ready. Our oldest son, Tyler was at a friends house from a sleepover the night before. I remember sitting in the waiting area and more and more pregnant woman came in. They were running behind schedule so the room was getting croweded. We had our daughter Makenna and son Jonathan with us, they were as excited as me to see the ultrasound, to see their new borther or sister, to hear the heartbeat. I also remember how sloppy and miserable so many of the woman looked. I commented to Corrine that I was so happy that she looked so pretty all the time even though she was pregnant. It’s not that she went ouf of her way to get dressed up but she always dressed normal, brushed her hair and was clean. So many of these woman were just a mess with shirts that didn’t fit, and wrinkled clothes you name it. I don’t know what was happening in their lives I was just grateful for my wife being the way she was. Back to the story at hand. We finally got settled into the room and the kids were very curious about what was going on and in the room. I was explaining things and trying to get them to sit still and the technician came in. A short time later there was our baby on the screen. The technician was taking measurements and typing on the keyboard, the kids were very curious about what all the images were but they just had to wait. Then suddenly the nurse put the wand down, I knew this was strange we had only been in the room a few minutes. She and my wife were whispering, I couldn’t hear what was being said over the kids talking. I could feel my heart beat start increasing, it was like everything in the room was spinning. I hushed the kids and finally asked what was going on. The response was devestating, I never even considered this a posibility. ” I’m so sorry, I don’t see a heartbeat, I’m so sorry.” I was so confused, I couldn’t comprehend this. There, my beautiful wife was still laying, and she was so composed and put together and I was just lost. The doctor came in and there was a lot of technical talk with the technician. We were then escorted to his private office for further discussion. My wife asked for pictures from the ultrasound which the compassionate technician gladly printed for her, then apologized again to her.

    In the office the doctor or specilalist, whatever his title was very direct and cold. He instructed us to go home and call my wife’s OB, inform him what happened and decide from there what to do next. In his opinion since the baby had died recently there was no medical danger in her carrying around, and this is his exact words “a deceased fetus”. We left and the receptionist asked, “do you need to make another appointment?” I wanted to reach over the desk and slap her, I know it wasn’t her fault she couldn’t have known but to me this is something that should be passed on so you aren’t confronted with the smiling lady at the desk. Perhaps an alternate exit so you don’t walk full a room of pregnant woman thinking are any of you next to hear this news. We got in the car and everything was just a blur, we both started crying. I didn’t even know how I was going to drive and the kids were confused as to what was happening. We pulled up to the parking attendant and turned in our parking slip, and the polite man said “thank you, have a good day and Merry Christmas.” I was so angry by that, everything was making me angry, I said nothing and rolled up the window and said “fuck you, yeah merry fucking christmas.” Corrine scolded me, she was right, I didn’t say it to him, just out loud as I drove away. By now the tears are making it heard for me to see so I had to pull to the side of the driveway. I composed myself and drove home.

    When we got in the door we cried some more, hugged and I still tried to make sense of it all. I remember telling Corrine how mad I was that I never heard the babies heartbeat. The 3 previous check ups I was with the kids and they had always fallen asleep, and since having our baby die was not a possibility I always said “it’s ok, next appointment.” There were no more appointments, I never got to hear the heart of our 4th child beat. This still haunts me to this day. I started making phone calls and each time I broke down crying while telling the person I was talking too. I called work to let them know I would not be in, I called my dad and asked him to tell mom because I couldn’t do it. I called my brother then my sisters. The decision was made to go to the hospital and have Corrine induced. We didn’t want to take a chance on her going into labor at home during christmas or at someones house and ruin their holiday. Yeah, we were concerned with that. This was all not real still. I still couldn’t accept it. I still held out hope a mistake was made. We got to the hospital, and the smiles on the nurses faces quickly left when they realized who we were. We were escorted to a room all the way at the end of the hall away from the other labors. Corrine’s doctor arrived a short time later, he is a great man. Compassionate and understanding and the first thing he did was say how sorry he was and hugged Corrine then me. He explained that he would leave no stone unturned to find out what happened and ordered tests, he apologized again and left the room to prepare paperwork. There was so much paperwork and decisions to be made. Done very orderly and matter of fact but we were in no position to be making decisions. We were still processing all this. I just wanted to scream at everyone to get the fuck out! Nothing like being handed a list of funeral homes right when you sit down right? Do you want to have the babies remains picked up or do you want the hospital to “dispose” of them? Do you want this done or that done, so many things being thrown at us I just hated them all for this. Give us 5 minutes for godsake!

    I realize this is getting very long, I am sorry, I’ll skip ahead to the silence. Our baby boy was born, I still held out hope they were all wrong, that silence made me sick. I never hated silence so much. Cry, scream, move baby, breathe! He didn’t, he was limp and silent and I collapsed in sobs and tears onto the couch. I was exhausted, I can’t even imagine how my wife was feeling. Our boy was perfect, perfect hands, and feet, ears, nose and mouth. He was perfect, he was beautiful he was gone. He had become tangled in the ambilical cord, around his stomach and stopped breathing, that’s how he died. We asked my sister to give us some ideas of names, she was good at finding special names, we decided on Declan. It means full of goodness. He was so light but so heavy in my arms. I wanted so badly to feel his hand squeeze my finger, I so badly needed to hear him breathe and see him move. I was lost, I was there but I was not there. We were fortuneate that the hospital had a camera for us to use. They had contacted Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep but their call call was never returned. No one was coming out to take pictures for us. We took a lot of pictures, the camera was old and didn’t focus well but we have our pictures. There were no clothes that fit him but the nurse found an outfit with a puppy on it that we liked. He was swimmig in it but at least he was wearing something. I couldn’t stop looking at him, it was also so very hard to hold him. I had been up for over 24hrs and ended up falling asleep. When I woke up in the morning I was so angry, I couldn’t believe I had fallen asleep, I wanted every minute possible with my little boy but my body just gave out. My dad offered to call the funeral home for us, I was going to take him up on it, I was crying so hard again I didn’t know how I was going to make that call. Corrine asked me if I was sure I wanted my dad to call, I ultimately said no. I am his father, it’s my job to make this call and I did. They initially were not going to come out until after Christmas but we asked them to please come today (the 24th), we couldn’t leave Declan there, it didn’t seem right. The funeral home did, they came and picked him up later that afternoon. We walked with the nurses as they pushed his bassinet to the morgue. The one nurse broke down crying as we said our final good-byes, so much so my wife consoled her. It showed she was human, I am glad it happened. It was a long walk out of there and there is way more to this story but I will stop here. 2 years and 9 months and I am as lost today as I was then. I have his feet tattooed on my harm with his name. I have an empty spot in my heart forever, sometimes I just want to run. But you can’t run away from it. I am not a religous person but I do believe there is a heaven, I know strange, but I do believe I will see my Declan again. I have to.

    Brian Laarveld – In Memory Declan Eugene Laarveld 12.23.11
    “There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.”

    • fenway1977 says:

      The part you wrote about the silence really hit home. I felt the exact same way. We lost our daughter (our first child) at 39-weeks (full term). We went through the same experience with the ultrasound and everything and one of the hardest things to deal with was what do we do next. We were offered the chance to “let nature take its course” but that was just too much to handle so we decided that my wife should have an induction right away. Our daughter Isla Rose was delivered just as any other child would be delivered and though I knew she was gone – there was a part of me that maybe they were all wrong – maybe she was going to come out kicking and screaming. It was totally irrational – but what is rational about losing a child? The silence in that room was the loudest silence I’ll probably ever experience…to deliver this perfectly formed human, our daughter, but for her to be gone – it just made so sense. She truly looked like she was sleeping. They were never able to tell us exactly what happened – they think it was also an umbilical cord accident – not that it really matters in the end. Anyway, thanks for sharing – your story really resonated with me because so much of what you went through mirrored my own experience…right down to the tattoo – and yes – you will see your son again. Take care!!

  43. Chris says:

    It’s been nearly six years since my wife and I lost our first child, Isla Rose. It was a picture perfect pregnancy, but one morning just after she’d reached full term, my wife noticed our little one was not being very active. I actually went to work oblivious of my wife’s concerns – we even had a phone conversation a few hours later discussing how we were going to add her to our insurance after she was born. I just assumed everything was normal – but then she called back a few hours later because she felt that things didn’t seem right and said she was going into the doctor. I, of course, had to meet her there – and I don’t remember feeling all that anxious (and I am an anxious person) on the drive there. We waited and then we were finally ushered into the non-stress test room. The nurse quickly thought she had felt the baby kick – and I remember the feeling of relief. We all nervously laughed a bit – but then the nurse’s tone changed ever so slightly. She was finding it hard to get a consistent heartbeat – she kept reassuring us that it was probably just because she was in a hard to reach spot. We were then taken in for an ultrasound and I couldn’t watch the screen – I just focused on the tech – and I knew from her expression before she even told us the bad news. Nothing can compare you for it. It took me to a place far darker than the tears and hysterics that I had always assumed would accompany news like that. It took me to a place that felt devoid of emotion – cold and detached – where time seemed to stop moving. It’s like my mind simply couldn’t process something so profoundly horrible. It overloaded the neurons. In fact, it took several long days – maybe even longer – before the normal grieving process could begin. In the years since we’ve lost her my wife and I have been blessed with a healthy son and a healthy daughter. My son, who is four-and-a-half, knows about his sister who is in heaven. We talk about her now and then and it always rips me up inside when he talks about how sad he is. In the aftermath of her loss, I decided to seek out cognitive behavioral therapy and it has worked. For me, it has been important to be able to talk about her. Yes, the sadness is always there – but I’ve gotten to a place where I can talk about her and her loss and not breakdown. I knew I couldn’t bottle up the feelings because they would one day come back stronger than ever. I think about her everyday – some days more than others. I think about what she would have been like. I look at her brother and sister and wonder if she would have been like one of them or would she have been completely different. I’ll never get over losing her – I don’t know if that is possible. It takes a piece of your soul – but I strongly believe that we must go on and try to take in as much happiness as God gives us in whatever days we have left. That is how I honor her – by trying to live each day to the fullest – because I’m living it not only for myself, but for her as well. I always tell my two other children that they have a guardian angel watching over them – and I know that’s true. I’ll never understand why we lost her (the doctors could only guess – they thought probably an umbilical cord accident) nor will I ever understand God’s plan while I’m down here on this planet. They say everything happens for a reason – though that is not of much comfort most days. The loss of a child is the worst possible kind of loss in the human experience – it’s so against the normal order of things – they’re supposed to bury us – we’re not supposed to bury them. It’s also tough being a dad – because the man is always supposed to be the strong one – the one who shoulders the burden and remains strong so everyone else can grieve. I think it’s okay to play that role – but we all must remember to grieve – let the emotions flow out. Anyway, it always helps to be able to tell her story. May God bless all of you who read this and for my fellow grieving dad’s – keep hanging in there.

    • Gary kiger says:

      Well said Chris, well said….and sorry for your loss and your wife’s…it’s something that changes a part of you forever, but your spot on on grieving. I once saw shades of green and now they are yellow….it changes you….it will be two years since our 23 year old son died, but now I can say how thankful we are for those 23 years together….some day we will meet again…..thanks for sharing Chris….and may god bless you and your family as well….

  44. Robert Tate says:

    My story about our son begins way back right before 20 weeks from conception. My wife appeared to be farther along than she should have been, so they did an ultrasound early. They discovered my wife had several fibroids, so she was sent at 20 weeks to a perinatologist for a higher level ultrasound. That is when we found out our son had hydrocephalus along with a few other issues possibly. We saw a genetics counselor immediately which was standard procedure. She asked if we knew of any genetic disorders in either of our families and my wife knew she had two aunts on her father’s side with confirmed Myotonic dystrophy. So we were both tested for it and that is when we found my wife also had it much worse than the mild version her aunts had. We decided on an amniocentesis to see if our son had it or not and thankfully the tests came back negative. During a follow-up ultrasound the perinatologist urged us to abort, but we are firm believers in life and were going to love our son no matter how it turned out.

    Fast forward to 35 weeks after a very closely watched pregnancy, my wife had to have the C-section early because of pre-eclampsia. One evening were in the hospital following up on a high protein in a 24 hour urine collection the next morning my wife is going under for the C-section both of us with no sleep. Because we knew my son needed a children’s hospital immediately after birth, my wife had her C-section in the hospital connected to and right across the street from the children’s hospital. The plan was for wife to be awake during the C-section, but because of an inability to breathe on her back and not getting enough oxygen, at the last minute in pre-op it was decided she needed to go under general anesthesia. We were trying to avoid this because people with Myotonic dystrophy can suffer hyperthermia while under general anesthesia and get so hot their organs start to shutdown. The C-section mostly went well and I went off with my son after he was delivered to the children’s hospital while they finished up with my wife and took her to the ICU. They kept my wife under with propofol (same drug Michael Jackson used for sleep when he died) for 27 hours while all the general Anastasia worked out of her system. So while my son is in the ICU at the children’s hospital, my wife is across the street in the ICU at the general hospital and I am running back and forth trying to keep tabs on both for several days. With both being on life support during all or some of that first 27 hours after our son was born.

    The day after my son was born he had a shunt placed for the hydrocephalus and this began the next phase in his life. Along with the hydrocephalus he suffered from bilateral microphthalmia which means his eye balls did not develop completely. His right eye ball was half the size of normal and with time we figured out he could see some light and dark. His left was almost non-existent except for a spec of blue. Then his nose was completely blocked on the right and so narrow on the left he could not breathe through it. Sawyer had to learn to be a mouth breather at birth. So 2 weeks after the shunt was placed on Memorial Day weekend it became infected. We were given the choice to have the infected shunt removed and an external shunt placed until the infections and side effects cleared and internal shunt could be placed again OR. The recommendation was to place him in hospice and let him go. They said he would have no quality of life. But after much soul searching by me and my wife we decided to let him fight and went with the shunt replacement. We had seen how much of a fighter he had already been. It took 4 1/2 more months for all the side effects of the infection to clear and they could put the internal shunt back, but we made it. He was born 5/14/2010 and he finally went home 11/1/2010. There were feeding issues, development issues, shunt failures, repairing his nose and all the usual ailments a child goes through. BUT Sawyer grew and flourished and far far exceeded any expectations ever set for him.

    Then the last horrible week came. We knew that Sawyer’s shunt was slowly clogging some after many CT scans during the summer, but it wasn’t 100 percent clear it needed to be operated on right away. Sawyer was fusing little more than normal off and on, but it wasn’t the obvious symptoms he had before with his other shunt failures where he would cry uncontrollably and was vomiting. He had a fantastic day at school on Tuesday, but Wednesday he was a little more off and not wanting to eat. He had an ENT appointment about his nose on Thursday and we made a regular GP appointment for the afternoon. ENT cleared him as ok for what he checked and pediatrician listened to his tummy and said it was girgly and probably had a stomach bug that was going around. We figured he picked it up at school. Sawyer could not talk and was only capable of saying Mommy and Daddy plus a little other babbling, so was unable to communicate how he really was feeling. Thursday night things got worse, but we figured it just was his tummy making him really uncomfortable and would pass within 24 hours. Friday morning I headed off to work late after a rough night with Sawyer. Late in the morning before noon I received a call from my wife telling me Sawyer had quit breathing and was taken by ambulance to the local ER. I rushed out of work to join them. His heart had never stopped, but had slowed and by the time I had gotten to hospital it had gotten better. He still wasn’t breathing on his own. What ended up happening was his shunt catastrophically failed causing so much fluid building so much pressure inside his head and pushed on his brain that controlled breathing causing it to stop, He was transferred to the children’s hospital where they put in an external shunt to drain off the extra fluid, but he had gone without oxygen for too long. His brain swelled so much from the damage it cut off the flow of blood to his brain. He died from brain death Sunday officially 10/27/2013 just short of age 3 1/2. We donated his organs the following day and said our final good byes before he went into the operating room.

    Now were coming up on a year later. The pain is still as terrible sometimes as it was then, but it is true that every day is different. Every moment is different. We keep moving forward. We had been planning to go to Faith’s Lodge and we were receiving their newsletter and that is how I found out about I read your story and said WOW that is exactly how I feel. I felt good to know I wasn’t alone in how was I feeling as a grieving dad in relation to home, work and everything while dealing and living with my grief. We just got back from Faith’s Lodge and I was able to read the first couple chapters of your book from their library. That weekend and your book has given me the strength to write my narrative. I will definitely be buying a copy to finish it. I also made sure to recommend it to the two other grieving dad’s we were with during this last weekend at Faith’s lodge. So we continue our journey now dealing with my wife’s Myotonic dystrophy that we just did not have the energy for with all our son’s health issues and keep moving and healing by God’s grace and future plan for our lives whatever that may be.

  45. Greg says:

    49 days ago I joined this F’d up club, that no one should every join. We as parents should be buried by our children, not the other way around. The natural order of events has been taken away from all of us. The future potential of our children has been taken away from us.
    My daughter, Liliana, died of SUDC. This is the ‘older’ children’s SIDS. SIDS is for children 12 months and younger. SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood) is for 1 year olds to 18 years old. Liliana was 966 days old (2 years, 7 months, and 23 days). Go to to learn more. On July 26th, we had a wonderful day… playing, went to see a movie, had lunch, usual nap time, play time in the kiddy pool, etc. That evening, Lily developed a runny nose and slight fever; normal for toddlers that go to day care. We gave her Tylenol to reduce her fever. She had a late nap, so we put her to bed at 9pm. 15 minutes later she cried not wanting to go to bed. We let her play next to us, while her mom and I watched TV. 11pm rolled around and we decided to put her to bed. I paced her to sleep in my arms in her room. I gently lower her into bed. With heavy eye lids, she blinked twice very slowly. That is the last time I saw her beautiful eyes. I stroked her head a few times and left the room. At 12:35am, after getting ready for bed and finishing some chores up, I entered her room to check on her. She was sleeping on her other side, slightly snoring, due to her congestion. I placed her blanket back on her and made sure her humidifier was on. I took one last look at her, not knowing it was my last. Then I left the room to go to bed.
    The next morning is a nightmare I wished I never woke up to. My wife went in to check on Lily at 9am. We thought the sleeping in was normal, because she went to bed so late. I heard a panic in my wife’s voice that I never heard before. It was worse than any horror movie sound I have heard. I ran across the house in seconds and entered the Lily’s room. At that point, my wife and I knew our Lily was gone. My wife, being a RN, had to try CPR. I ran and got the phone to call 911. This is where our longest and worst day of our lives begins. The investigation took 6 hours, while our Lily was still in her room.
    Currently, we do not know why this happened to Lily and ourselves. The investigation is still pending, while they do the tests on Lily’s tissue samples. They said it could take up to 6 months. We feel as if someone stole Lily. She was here one day, and vanished the next. I have cried every day since Lily’s death. She and I had a bond that I have never experienced before. We have an older daughter with high functioning Autism. Even though they were 10 years apart, they were best friends. She misses Lily more than anything. Lily’s mother is crushed.
    Thank you for listening to my story and sharing yours. We are all in this F’d up club to help each other. I only wish we could have helped each other out in better terms.

    • Scott Overstreet says:

      Dude I have a 3 yr old daughter and cannon imagine waking up to find this. God bless you and your family during this tough time.

      • Greg says:

        Thank you, Scott. Lily’s 3rd birthday party would have been on December 4th. We threw a party to honor her on December 7th. We collected over 100 toys and delivered them December 8th to the firehouse that came to our house on that terrible Sunday morning.

        Do something good for someone this holiday season. Our children are watching us and we have to make them proud.

  46. Bruce Lindholm says:

    My 24 yo son died a year and two months ago whe a car he was working on fell on him. He was home for the weekend of the Fourth of July and wanted to drag race on the 6 th. I normally would have been helping him but was busy preparing food for that night. I hadn’t heard from him for a couple hours so went to help him finish up. That’s when I found him under the car. To this day that moment seems unreal. He was cheerful, funny, smart and a great all around good guy. He had recently got his dream job as a network engineer. The next weeks were horrible, a mishmash of friends, relatives, decisions, paperwork etc. we were and are a close knit nuclear and extended family. I felt so bad not only for me but for my wife and other two children. The kids in particular were to tight, the loss to them has been staggering.
    I have always been a car guy, and used cars to spend time with my kids. Whether racing or building cars I really thought that was a way to bond with them as teenagers and young adults. I thought that anyone could buy their kid a car, it took effort a commitment to build a car with them. While I will always treasure those memories of working on cars with my son, I’m so sad that was the cause of his death. Maybe if I hadn’t chosen that way to connect with him. At the time of his death we were friends , an awesome development. I miss him so much! My relationship with my wife has taken a turn for the worse. I have been going to talk to a shrink, she will not go. I don’t not believe I will be able to maintain this relationship. I suppose I can say that every now and then I don’t feel horrible. I am a changed person – broken. Thanks for reading.

    • Kirk Lee says:

      Bruce, I understand completely, we all do. You and I have a connection. We lost our daughter an a car accident. Though she was only 8 she had been my little car girl from the time she was a baby. I had done many cars with my little helper by my side. One of the last years we went to one of the big shows we picked out a body style for our “Family Hot Rod”. She picked a 37 Ford sedan. At the time I had opened a hotrod shop as a part time business. After we lost Ash I have had a very hard time with any of my own projects and closed my shop. I still have hopes to finish the 37 in her honor but who knows. I too am broken. Some connections are meant to be like oil in your veins as it was with us. Relationship takes a lot of work. We don’t grieve the same way as our wives and /its hard work to keep it together. All you can do is the best you can my friend.

    • Gary kiger says:

      Bruce….first I am terribly sorry for your family’s loss and please don’t put blame on yourself for your sons death….we lost our son to a motorcycle accident and I have to tell you I was the one who encouraged him to first ride at age 7 and taught him to ride and he crew up around motorcycles and cars and the key in this is that he “loved them”. I to at first thought I could I, why did I, the what ifs, if I would have never taught him these things and believe me my wife was not happy as well….but we talked and talked and both agreed, our son was doing something “he loved”, not what I wanted him to do, but what “he loved”….it was like a knife put in my chest when we learned how he died….but I came to a place that our son wouldn’t have wanted it another way but to do the things he loved and for that we are great full. Life is full of risks everyday, there are no guarantees…..I am thankful my son and I connected thru cars and motorcycles because those memories will always be with me. Keep communicating with your wife, get a good therapist for both you and your wife and go….go….we did and it was the best thing we did together and alone… we all grieve differently……if you need to talk, repost to this site and then I’ll give you my email and phone…..hang in there…it’s a tough and long road losing a child….it will be two years the 29th this month for our son……continue to celebrate his birthdays, his day of passing and life…..bless you…

  47. Travis says:

    My friend recommended this page to me. I’m not sure about it all but I guess I can try it. I lost my daughter to a cancerous brain tumor earlier this year right after she turned 8 years old. She battled it for a year and a half even though the doctors said with her tumor and stage most adults wouldn’t last even a year. Idk if it’s selfishness but my birthdays coming up and it’s my first without her since she was born and it’s been hitting me harder and harder the closer it gets. My brain sort of shuts down lately even in the middle of a conversation. I try to stay strong for my son and everyone else that was involved but I can’t anymore for anyone except my son which is getting tough itself. I’d never admit it to anyone close to me though. I guess sometimes we as humans look to words as comfort on a screen because it’s easier to read and make of it as we want which is easier to stay strong than dealing with human inflections such as empathy or sympathy because toe to toe you Must deal with it, on a screen you can just turn your head and come back when you’re ready to. I didn’t mean that offensively towards anyone, if anyone possibly myself. I just feel cold and inhuman like lately. Thanks for reading if you made it all the way through that.

    • Kevin Black says:

      So very sorry for your loss. The first year is rough. It really sucks. There will be a long lists of firsts without your daughter. Your first birthday without her, first halloween without her, first thanksgiving without her, the first August 20th without her. The list is endless. I wish I could tell you that things would get better after the first year. Maybe they will, everyone is on their own grief journey here. Mine didn’t even get started good till after the first anniversary of my son’s death.

      I’m not an old pro at this. My son died in April 2012 at the age of 11. That being said, if you would like to talk/type, feel free to shoot me a message.

      • Tommy says:

        For me, there’s a constant struggle of maintaining “normalcy” in my life to not allow the grief to over take me and negatively affect my work, friends, family, etc. My daughter passed on February 1 of this year and my sadness comes with missing all of her firsts. She was three days old when we had to make the horrible decision of taking her off her machines. Worst day of my life. Approaching her 7 month b-day and angel-day anniversary at the end of August. Each day is hard, but the end of the months are very difficult for me. She was born on the 29th and went home on the 1st. It kills me that I’ll never be able to experience those milestones with her – all of her firsts: cry, smile, crawl, walk, word, tooth, birthday. Last year was suppose to be me and my wife’s last year of just us two. Our last birthday’s without our baby, last thanksgiving, last wedding anniversary, last new years. Honestly, these last 7 months have been a blur for me. I remember telling my wife at the end of 2013 that 2014 was going to be our best year ever for us! it’s been the worst! I’ve been numb, I’ve been a mess. I’m eagerly awaiting the end of 2014 and start a new year.

    • Kirk Lee says:

      Travis, Nov 15th it will be two years since we lost out 8year old Ashlyn. The first year is very hard. I did the same things, the loss of thoughts, confusion. The first year, her birthday we surrounded ourselves with the friends, the anniversary of the accident or should i say leading up to it I was a mess. In the end the day was not as bad as the day leading up to it. Year 2 has its ups and downs and concentrations better but not great. Back to school was very hard for me but I lived through it. As a matter of fact Iv lived through all the firsts and Im still here. Guess what Im getting at here is that you too will get through it. It won’t be easy and it will never be over for us. Know we are here for you if you need to reach out Ill put my email address out there too.

    • ron says:

      Hi Travis
      Sorry I didn’t see your post earlier but I haven’t been on here much lately. I am saddened by the loss of your daughter to brain cancer. My son Cooper died from brain cancer May 5, 2013. He was diagnosed with Grade 3 Anaplastic Ependymoma in December 2008 at age 13. He was our only child.

      My brain too shuts down in the middle of conversations, my memory fails me, and have little interest in doing much.

      I have no words of comfort for you and I can’t even say it gets better. To be perfectly frank I had people tell me the second year is worse than the first and I couldn’t believe it. But for me it has been. I can’t tell you why other than you have already been through all the “firsts” and some of the fog is gone and it becomes more real. I don’t mean to be discouraging – just letting you know my experience. And honestly thanks to your prompting , I am writing this for my own healing.

      I too am becoming cold and get easily agitated by others and often snap at them . I’m not wanting to be around or deal with people – (which makes work hard because I am a service manager) and really just want to runaway to the woods.

      As I said Cooper was our only child, so I don’t know about helping surviving children, but I know that your son needs you and you him.

      Sorry I can’t offer more. Do know we are here for you and I thank all the others here for reading/listening. My email is if you ever need to reach out.

      Blessings to you and yours,

  48. Kirk Lee says:

    Well, I’ve been here but haven’t had much to say but I feel everything you all do. This weekend we rode in a Make a Wish parade on our bikes (Motor). We felt strongly that Ashlyn would have approved and would have surely been my passenger if she were here. It felt right although we still miss her every moment of every day. Sunday was a car and cycle show at the Salvation Army. A van went through the parking lot at a high rate of speed and hit 3 pedestrians. One of the people died, a 13 year old broke a hip and the husband of the victim held his wifes hand until she died. The driver of the van it is believed to have had a seizure when she lost control of the van. This strikes close to home. My wife who had her seizures under control had one the night Ashlyn died. Im so torn on how to feel about this. I understand the medical side of it and know what she will have to live with and I sure understand the loss side for the poor family who lost their wife, mother. I guess there will always be a moment where you feel good then the trigger kits and brings it all back.

  49. Sigurgeir E.Jóhannsson says:

    Fealing a bit sad,its mi son birthday,empty and then coms sunday,born and taken away from us.
    This is not fair,I was should have been taken not mi baby boy.
    Kelly I got the book from Amazon thanks.

  50. Ron says:

    I don’t know where to put this, and I don’t know who to talk to. I’ve been searching for the right place to finally get out in the open what I’m feeling behind closed doors.

    I’m angry. I’ve never been so angry in my entire life. My son, whom would have been my only son, was taken away from my wife and I at 38 weeks and 1 day. Due to the age of my wife (she is 37), her OB/GYN decided that it would be advisable to induce at 39 weeks. We were extremely happy with that fact as the same thing happened with my almost-3-year-old daughter and things went well. We had asked if we could do it any earlier, but policy is policy, nothing before 39 weeks. Early in the morning on July 5th, my wife comes into the den saying that Sebastian hasn’t moved at all this morning. She had tried half-caf coffee, a sugary chocolate muffin, and the usual wiggling of the belly to get him to move, to no avail. We had a small heart monitor that we had used successfully in the past to find his heart and tried again, this time to no avail. I wanted to be strong, and honestly thought he was ok, but we called the oncall OB/GYN anyway, just in case. She notified us that we did everything we could to get him to move so it might be a good idea to get him in the to ER just in cast for a doppler. We packed up thinking the worst case now was going to be a C-section.

    It was the struggling of the first nurse to find the heartbeat with that huge sensor that stuck in my head as “the moment.” Then the summoning of another nurse to try. Then the summoning of a sonogram machine. Then the summoning of a second machine because the first one wouldn’t work. Then the measuring of body parts by the technician. The command of the oncall doctor to “go straight to the heart.” Then the realization, within a split second, by my wife and myself that the once strong 4-chambers were no longer pumping.

    It’s now July 7th, I’ve been keeping it together for my wife and daughter with bouts of crying when I’m either alone or only with my wife. My sadness is immeasurable, but my anger is palpable. Everything I’m angry about sounds selfish: We deserved Sebastian. We fought for Sebastian. My wife put other health issues on hold to have Sebastian. We trusted our doctors on 39 weeks even though his weight and development was OK at 38 weeks. He was our son already. We had plans for him, for our family, for US.

    They let us hold him for most of July 5th. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I held his head, I held his fingers, touched his toes, kissed his forehead, but I couldn’t hold him. No matter how long I held my hand on his head, it never warmed. The soft coldness of his body, his head, will stay etched into my memories until I die. He just looked like he was sleeping…the gasping breath my wife and I were waiting for never came, even though we stared at him for hours hoping for it.

    So here I sit, early on a rainy and stormy Monday morning, trying to figure out where I can find an outlet for my anger. My wife doesn’t deserve it, of course, and is only slightly aware of it. (She asks me how I feel, I simply tell her “angry,” and she nods acknowledgement with wet eyes.) My mother has been the granite foundation and has done everything we have needed and more. Our friends, the few there are, have been making amazing strides to help us as well, organizing dinner schedules so my wife and I needn’t cook, providing words of encouragement and sorrow, and just being good friends.

    So I turn to this white box on a website I just found. I pour out the words that have been in my head since I saw that still heart on the sonogram screen: “I’m angry.”

    • joe says:

      I know how you are feeling that. Anger it eats u from the inside out it makes u feel less then human like a monster to have all that hate and anger in u I took to punching a heavy bag like at a gym and just keep at it till u can’t lift ur arms no more you have to find that one activity u can do that helps u burn all that anger and hate filled energy

  51. Tommy says:

    Hi everyone. Just feeling overwhelmed this morning and needed to come here to free my thought/feelings. Yesterday my daughter, Jewel Bella, would’ve been 5 months old. It was a very difficult day and night for me. She was with us for three days in the hospital, so the end of the month is always very emotional. (29-1, best three days ever) She went home on Feb 1..Im still Just trying to figure out how to continue moving forward on days like this. Its very tough. But im lucky to have a strong wife that comforts me when I need. We both have a nact for being strong when the other person needs it. Still, my first born is not here and I’m struggling with not letting the emotions overwhelm me each day. I just pray for strength, courage, and peace to live and honor my daughter. Thank you guys for reading and I am so thankful that I’ve found this site.

    • Tommy says:

      Well, today’s the first of the month. My worst day of the month. trying to avoid the thoughts of today’s meaning for me. Made a deal with myself to stay busy and focused at work. The mornings been a bit tough, but really going to try and buckle down to not let the feelings overwhelm me. I have a question, how long did it take everyone to get back to work afterwords? I’m fortunate to have an understanding/supportive job. Took 2 full months off, tried to go back to work for about 3 weeks but couldn’t really concentrate, so I was able to take another 6 weeks off. Now, I’m back. Doing a lot better with concentration and productivity so I think that the last 6 weeks were very necessary. My coworkers also said that they saw a big difference in my attitude.

      My wife was off for the full 4 months afterwards and started when i went back after my last 6 weeks. It was good timing for both of us to try to re-acclimate to “normal” work lives. But i think that now she’s able to ‘manage” better than I am. I see/feel her becoming stronger and she has to console me a lot more now. I feel myself just breaking down when I see/hear little babies, especially little girls. I sometimes can’t help but think of the what’s ifs and how my life would be different if my little girl was here with us. I especially hate weekends.. my wife works weekends and they were suppose to be father/daughter days. So now I can’t even be home because it’s quiet and I feel so alone.

      I know the grieving is different for everyone, and I just hope that I can manage to continue living “normally” with this hurt. Me and my daughter bonded so much while my wife was pregnant. I would sing to her, talk to her, she would kick a lot when I touched her belly. When I would come home from work, my wife would always notice her kicking way more than she did during the day when it was just them.

      I was so excited to have that “i’m home” moment and play with her after she was born… and i yearn for that.

      Again, thank you for allowing me to express my feelings and emotions on this site. It’s truly something I appreciate.

      • GrievingDads says:

        Tommy – What you are experiencing is normal, it sucks, but its normal. There will be a time when its not so hard, but this is the ebb and flow of how this journey works. My wife was in really bad shape after we lost our daughter and I didn’t think she would make it through, but after the loss of my son, I was the one who became extremely depressed. Don’t get me wrong, we both struggled to survive from day to day, but we both responded differently each time. Cherish those moments, they were not long enough, but what a beautiful gift she gave you. Keep talking and signing to her, she hears you. I believe our children are with us most of the time. That thought brings me a smile and a level of peace. I am sorry you are having a couple of bad days, but glad you came here for support during that time.

        Wishing you peace brother.


  52. Kirby White says:

    Bythe way, Glad to see you a fellow Hawkeye.
    We live in IOWA
    Kirby White

  53. Kirby White says:

    I have not read your book yet, but your website was in the local latest CompassionateFriends newsletter recently.
    I have ordered the book and look forward to the different reflections of many dads.
    Our youngest child ,Elizabeth,19 forever, died as a result of a wrong-way drunk driver Nov, 15,2007. She was just in the fourth month of her freshman year at college 3 hours away from home.
    Our doorbell rattled me and my wife out of bed at 4;15 a.m. We had just started empty nest syndrome ourselves. Now faced with death of our youngest, we had to now look at the world from there on out thru a cracked window pane.
    Of course i could go on, but wanted to say that I am pleased to come across your site. So far, the posts have been meaningful and very thought provoking.
    I will share that on her bedd that morning in her apt., i found a reflection she had printed off her computer, we had no idea where it came from,(probably computer), but it has brought comport and peace and I share it now with others when I speak, on behalf of her LIFE, which still is giving.
    Of course, many days have passed , and her two brothers , and us have trudged thru these days forward.
    i would like to share many more words with you, but will maybe contact you, if you are interested.
    Finally, I just want to say how much your piece on BROKENNESS, has really touched a nerve with me. After all these days yet, I now have finally read what I am STILL GOING THRU. I knknow I am still grieving, but your words, meant alot to my life, now at this point. Of course our marraige is still being challenged, due to other outside and internal influences, so this showed me and my wife another perspective of the DAD’S “side of the coin”.
    Thank you for allowing me to share.
    kirby White

    • GrievingDads says:

      Kirby – Thank you so much for reaching out to me. Words can’t express how sorry I am for the loss of your daughter Elizabeth. All of our losses are tragic and have forever changed our lives. The reflection that she had on her bed is a wonderful gift from her.

      I am glad “Brokenness” has brought you some insight and provided a outlet for reflection. I am confident the book will do the same for you.

      You can call me anytime to talk, I make myself available to grieving dads (and moms) that just need to tell their story or talk about the struggles of the aftermath of losing a child.

      I am certainly a fellow Hawkeye. I look forward to hearing where exactly you are located in Iowa.



  54. Sigurgeir Einar Jóhannsson says:

    Dos anyone in her know about a Spanish-speaking blog side four women,mi wife speaks Spanish.
    She want to find a side like this on four mothers.
    Thank you.

  55. Sigurgeir Einar Jóhannsson says:

    Its Sunday 6weeks sins mi baby boy was born and taken from us.Its hard to get through the day.
    Im on mi way to Reykjavík so I can se mi dear wife four little time,then back out to sea.I like to say
    good day and good night to mi Jóhann Marcos,I can not say good by to mi boy.I have him in mi hart four ever.I go all over in mi writing meks no senc sorry for that.
    Bless all in her.

  56. Mike says:

    My Son passed 3 years ago, he was 27, I have since written a book about how my wife and I have battled to cope, as there is no book out there that prepares a parent for burying their son.
    Where can I get it published and what must I do.

    • GrievingDads says:

      Mike – I am so very sorry for the los of your son. I understand your words “battled to cope” all to well. I also applaud you for taking your pain and finding a way to create a resource for others that loss a child.

      As far as getting the book published, that is a great question. I had absolutely zero luck trying to get a publisher to pick up the book. I was told “men don’t by these types of books”. However, with that being said, their responses empowered me to prove them wrong. I found Create Space (which is an Amazon Company) and I used their services to self publish my book. I have had great success with them and they were great to work with. You could try querying agents to see if they are interested in representing your book to publishers, but it you have not luck, check out Create Space.

      Wishing you luck with you book and peace on your journey.


  57. Sigurgeir Einar Jóhannsson says:

    I dont know where to start.Sorry a baout mi spelling.I talk and red english.I am an Icelandic men,55yers old and mi lovely wife is 41yers.After cering mi butiful baby boy 39weks mi wife gave birth to our beautiful Marcosin,but he was stilborn.His name is Jóhann Marcos but I cal him Marcosin.I file like Im going mad,the filings insite me ar killing me.Ther ar so many I newer felt before.I was lucky to find this side and talk to Kelly.I think of mi Marcosin evri day,and I love him.
    All mi love and hope four mi baby boy?He was born may 11 2014 at 17:13 sunday mothers day.
    I dont like sundays now.I gat to be home four 24 days after this theribil day.Im a fisherman,so im back to sea on mi freezer trawler.This trip is 30 days.I regred that I vent to this trip.Luckyli I can talk to mi wife evri day that help a lot.I red this side many times evri day and I vant to thank Kelly and all of you Dads in her,I fele like you are mi brothers and anderstand me.I cant rite eni more.
    I love u mi little Jóhann Marcos always pabbi(dad).
    I hope u understand mi writing,and thank u all four bieng her but sorry that u are her.
    Sigurgeir Einar Jóhannsson.

    P.s. I hope I can come back to u dads.

    • Sylvia Hepner says:


      I can never say that I understand, because our situations are different, but I am so sorry that you are having to feel this pain. I won’t tell you how strong you are, because I know I hated when people would tell me that after we lost our daughter Audrey from SIDS. I can not tell you it will get easier because I don’t believe it ever does, but I will tell you that there is a whole community of people here on the internet that will talk, listen, and read everything. They will be there for you, in any way they can, and you are not alone. My heart goes out to you and your wife.


      • Sigurgeir Einar Jóhannsson says:

        Sylvia tanke you fore yours warm words.It takes a littel of the burden of mi chest to write a bout mi baby boy and mi feelings.I think a bout Marcosin all the time,I miss him so.
        The anger insid me the emtienes and the lump on mi chest,somtimes it hard to breathe.
        And why was I not taken,I lived mi life not him.Where can I put mi anger? I wish I could cry more it ises me when I do.By all fore now.
        I will Love mi Jóhann Marcos four ever and remember, yours Dad.

        Pece to all.

    • GrievingDads says:


      I am happy to see that you found us here. I also want to say that I am honored that you called me in your moment of pain. I have been thinking about our conversation and your comment about how beautiful Marcosin is. As I mentioned to you in our conversation, I too had that strong feeling of my son as well. I will always remember how beautiful is was and how I wanted to just hold him and protect him forever.

      Please continue to visit this site and make sure you read all of the postings over the last 4 years. Were you able to find my book on

      If not, please let me know.



      • Sigurgeir Einar Jóhannsson says:

        Thank you Kelly,I will continue to visit yours site,Im in her many times every day and I like it.I ben heving a litel trobel with the internet,so mi friend is going to order the book four me.If I mayI want to tell a believe of native people in Greenland.
        Their believe is that stillborn children go up to the sky and dans with theirs placenta and that mackes the Northern Lights(Aurora).So I will se mi Marcosin in the fall.
        Thank you again Kelly this is a life sever four me.
        Pece to all in her.


  58. I wrote this blog post a couple of weeks ago after attending a Saying Goodbye service in Derby (East Midlands, UK, where I’m currently living).

  59. Matt L says:

    It’s been a long time since I have posted on here, so here we go.

    We are coming up on the 3-year anniversary of my infant daughter’s passing (6.15.11). I’ve felt pretty low lately, but still motivated to go through the daily grind. I’ve heard a little depression aka grief can be expected during anniversaries of of our child’s death, so I am sure this is what I am experiencing.
    I just got done watching a memorial video I made after she passed away. Sometimes the video helps me to shed tears that I haven’t been able to release for a while. It is a trigger, and I use it for multiple reasons. Sometimes it helps remind me that she existed, to see her face, or her body moving in the video.
    This year, My daughter’s Angelversary falls on the same day as Father’s day…. double whammy…
    Losing a child sucks, and the onslaught of emotions afterwards sucks even more.

    What anniversaries have been worse for you?
    What did you do?

    • GrievingDads says:

      Matt – It’s very common for our emotions to be brought to the surface on anniversaries, birthdays and holidays. This past weekend was the 8th anniversary of my son Noah’s birth and death day. I decided to sign up for a very intense two day bike tour that covered about 130 miles of hilly terrain. Although I didn’t not think about him or the day or the little time we spent together. He was on my mind the entire time. In fact, when I push myself physically it causes a sense of reflection and an emotional response. I survived the weekend and now preparing for Fathers Day. I have an 8 week time frame that I deal with my daughters death, follow by Mothers Day, then my son’s death and then Fathers Day. Its a rough 2 months.

      My wife and I also had a cake and did a balloon release last night to celebrate him.



    • Tommy says:

      Matt – Thank you for sharing. Similar to you, I have many emotions come up during the anniversary and angelversary (i love this term, by the way) for my daughter, Jewel Bella. She was with my wife and I for three days. Jan. 29-Feb 1 of this year. So just over four months ago. I find myself being overcome with emotion towards the end of each month. The 29th-1st of each month just reminds me of those three precious days with her. I just went back to work this month, so it will be interesting to see how my emotions play out while at work. Since my wife and I both weren’t working, we would visit with her on those days to give us some comfort/peace of being with her at her garden. (we don’t like using the term grave). And this upcoming week is father’s day so I don’t know how things will play out. But i know I will spend my time with my daughter at her garden 🙂

  60. Kirk Lee says:

    Its been a while since I posted here. A while back I posted about how I was pretty much screwed out of the job I took after Ash died. I was hired as a sales manager for a powersports dealership. I was a few months into the position and was making great headway in raising productivity. One week a car dealer came in and bought the business. Oh, they said all our jobs were safe. Of course I didn’t believe it and rightfully so. To speed up the story I was told I was in over my head so I bailed. couple weeks later I got a job that I’m at currently. I talked to one of my former coworkers Turns out the “richard” that was after my head is no longer the GM at the dealership. not by his own doing….. Karma.

    • GrievingDads says:

      Love Karma. It’s amazing how your ability to do certain tasks is impacted. I am a Real Estate broker as well as an engineer. After the loss of Katie and Noah, I couldn’t put on a happy face and sell so I stopped selling and just worked as an engineer over the last 7 years. I know feel like I could go back and sell, but the problem is I am no longer motivated to do it. Its fun and I enjoy doing the deal, but I have gotten comfortable and would rather spend my free time with my wife and playing.

      Thanks for sharing.


  61. Gary says:

    Four months ago, I lost my eldest son at age 25, four days before Christmas and six days before his 26th birthday. It was sudden, unexpected and overwhelming. ‘Overwhelming’ quickly became my most often uttered word and remains so. Although he had been struggling on and off for a number of years with substance addiction, he always remained a peaceful, kind soul with a big and giving heart. Losing him was and is overwhelming, and always will be.

    Since the day we found out he was coming into our lives early in 1987, my passion has always been being a dad. Nothing has ever been more important. I live my kids’ ups and downs and when we lost him, it was as if someone took away 1/3 of my life’s work and 1/3 of my heart. His brother and sister currently live on the west coast for school purposes and although we are in constant contact and I travel to see them often, he was my daily “job.” I gave him a haircut on his last day and I will forever see him in my mind leaving my front door that afternoon, not for a second thinking it would be for the last time.

    I know many others here share the same pain and struggle with what to do with it. I don’t think what works for one works for another. We all have to work through it on our own terms and at our own pace. Although it’s only been several months for me, I find that time helps with some of the physical pain and the moment by moment mental grief becomes less constant. However, it’s not something you ever “get over” or “move on” from. People often ask, “how are you doing?” The only thing I can say, since most really don’t want to know the answer anyway, is, “I’m doing my best” or “I’m coping as best I can,” which is the reality.

    I think that’s really what it comes down to: learning to cope with it. Doing what’s expected in other areas of your life, putting on the ‘mask’ people expect to see every day, but learning to live with the deep sadness inside. I catch myself frequently saying, sometimes even out loud, “Oh my God, how could this have happened to me?!?” Then I start feeling completely psycho and find myself saying, “Wait, I’m still here. I’m still breathing. It’s my poor sweet son that this happened to, not me. He’s the one that didn’t get to experience so many things in his life. This didn’t happen to me, it happened to him!”

    Of course, what I am dealing with is the overwhelming guilt, the unanswered questions, the “I just want five more minutes with him,” the “how do I fill this enormous void.” That’s what happened to me. Although I am not a religious person, he had a deep faith and I remain hopeful I will see him again or at least somehow come to know he is ok and at peace. Like many others that have experienced the loss of a child, I do not have suicidal tendencies but I am now very ok with my end coming. The thought of that reunion makes the fear of dying no longer scary but rather calming and soothing.

    Until then, I try my best to deal with the “triggers” that seem to be everywhere. The people, places and things that trigger thoughts and memories of him. Ironically, I used to attend some of his addiction recovery meetings and they’d talk about the importance of avoiding the triggers that can lead addicts back to using… the familiar people, places and things. Now I find myself trying to avoid the triggers that were a part of him and our lives together because they cause me such pain. In one way, it’s good because I don’t want his memory to be forgotten and I can sometimes smile inside thinking about something funny he did or that we shared together. At other times, they give me that punch in the gut and the tears well up from triggers that bring the pain of losing him back to the surface. It’s a daily roller coaster ride.

    There are no easy answers. It’s a slow and painful recovery process that never ends. I call his mother, brother and sister and I the “wolfpack” when we’re together, a force to be reckoned with. A loss of this magnitude completely changes your priorities, makes you bolder and hardens you. Yet at the same time, it also makes you far more sensitive to things than you ever were before. Emotions remain constantly on the surface.

    I read another very good book written by Judith R. Bernstein, a long-time leader of a Compassionate Friends group called, “When the Bough Breaks, Forever After the Death of a Son or Daughter.” It’s a compilation of her own experiences after losing her child and things she learned from interviewing a large group of parents that also suffered the loss of a child. Again, no magic answers but it’s definitely worth a read.

    Wishing Peace & Love (something my sweet son always said when we parted) to all my fellow bereaved parents.


    • edcol52 says:

      Gary- You could be speaking about my 24 year-old son, our only child, who died on December 28th of last year. Four months ago. It was an unexpected, sudden and unnecessary accident. The circumstances are very similar. He was a kind and gentle spirit, loving son, fiercely loyal friend, brilliant, talented, you know the rest. You also describe succinctly my own responses and emotions. The triggers are everywhere and can ambush us unannounced. I don’t have much more insight than that for now, I am just a few paces down this horrific road, it is a moment-by-moment journey, as you well know. I wish you whatever windows of peace you can find.

      • Gary says:

        I can’t empathize with you having lost your only child – as I’m sure that makes it even more difficult – but I can certainly sympathize. It’s our life’s work from now on to get through each day and eventually try to allow the good things we shared with our sons to have as much mindspace as the grief. I don’t have the answers either but I am happy to talk or listen if you ever want to contact me. I live on the east coast but am in the LA area often to see my other two kids that live out there. We are running together this weekend in honor of my son and their brother so they’re coming home today for a week. It’s always ‘safe’ when we’re together to be able let our guard down and just feel with others that understand without having to explain why.

    • edcol52 says:

      Gary, you can contact me through my blog, I would welcome the opportunity to have coffee when you are in LA. The trick is that the good things we shared with our sons also trigger the sorrow. There is a Portuguese word for that, Saudade. “Saudade was once described as “the love that remains” after someone is gone. Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again. It can be described as an emptiness, like someone (e.g., one’s children, parents, sibling, grandparents, friends, pets) or something (e.g., places, things one used to do in childhood, or other activities performed in the past) that should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence. It brings sad and happy feelings all together, sadness for missing and happiness for having experienced the feeling.” – from Wikipedia.

      It describes what I go through daily perfectly. I wish you well on your run.

  62. truiz27 says:

    My wife and I experienced the loss of our first born child almost 3 months ago. Two days before her due date we went to the hospital due to labor pains. Perfectly healthy pregnancy up until this point. We get to the hospital, I drop my wife off to be admitted and go to move the car. And when I get back about 10 minutes later, they told me there was no heartbeat and my wife had to be taken in for an emergency c section … Utter shock and disbelief. My daughter suffered from severe meconium aspiration. Which, usually doesn’t cause death, but there were so many things that happened to her body that she wasn’t strong enough to make it. 3 days of being in the NICU, we decided to let her rest and take away all of her pain. Hardest decision of my life.3 months have passed and I’m still a wreck, I took 2 months off of work and tried to go back for a couple weeks but I couldn’t take it. Taking another 6 weeks off. Luckily my job is understanding and supportive. I never in a million years thought this would happen to us but now I have to try to figure out how to live a normal life again. I miss my daughter so much and feel for all of the fellow dads here. Thank you all for sharing. I, like others, feel that I have to be strong for my wife. But when I’m alone, In the car, in my daughters empty room, on my jog, im overcome with unbearable grief. What’s also hard is that there were many baby’s in our family born in the couple of months prior to my daughter being born and I hate that I can’t see them. My daughter was the only one that didn’t make it. I really appreciate everyone here and thank you all for reading my story. My wife and I are planning to try again at the end of the year. We’re yearning to be parents…

    • Kirk Lee says:

      As every dad will tell you here, sorry you have to be in this group but glad your here to share your experience. We often times are compared to our other halves grief and that isn’t fair. There are no hard fast rules for grieving and I can honestly say that I show my grief. I’ve written many a post on there at times when I was so low and others where I felt better. Can I tell you it will get better?……..No, but it does get different. I feel similar to you when I see my daughters friends. Ashlyn’s room is still the way it was the night she left us in November of 2012. Take your time, accept your grief and if you need us we are here.


    • GrievingDads says:

      Truiz27 – I am so very sorry for the loss of your sweet baby girl. No words can describe the pain you feel on your heart. You have been dealt a hand most people cannot understand unless they too have had to walk this path. Take the time you need to start the healing process if you company allows it. There are many dads here that have had to make the heartbreaking and traumatic decision to take their child off of life support, me being one of them. It is an impossible position to be in when all options are bad. My brother had a child within a month of each one of my losses and even today I have a had time being around them because when I see them, I think about what my children would have been like and what they would have bee doing. Don’t let others force you into seeing these babies until you are ready. We are here when you need us.



  63. Reed says:

    Where to begin….112612. That’s where it ended and began. 032314. That’s where it ended and began again. They say lightning never strikes twice. They are wrong. Nov 26th, 2012. My wife and I lost our first daughter at 37 weeks. No answers to why, nothing to prevent it. It took us a very long time to recover. She went to the brink, I nearly lost her, I forged on ahead for the both of us, shut it all away to make sure we both survived. It nearly broke me and I suffered greatly because I had to keep the two of us alive while shutting out my grief of our baby girl. We made it through though. We were so very joyous in August when my wife became pregnant again. It seemed things were aligning, her body recognized that she was healed enough to embark on another pregnancy. I was so very ready to be a dad again. We were so hyper vigilant about my wife not doing anything that could possible impact our baby. We had so much prenatal screening. We did everything.
    And then Saturday came. It was the same Saturday that we endured 14 months previously. A beautiful day, sun shining. I remember driving home from work that morning, thinking about how amazing a day it was. My wife said the exact same words she said 14 months earlier. “I haven’t felt the baby move for about an hour.” My heart fell through the floor. We used the handheld Doppler that we bought to find her heartbeat. It wasn’t there. We rushed to the hospital to confirm that yes, our nightmare wasn’t over. We just got to live it all again. My wife delivered our second stillborn baby girl on March 23rd at 33 weeks.
    When you experience the worse day of your life, you really tell yourself, “Well, this is as bad as it gets.” While that’s true, I never expected that I had to feel that again. What a cruel world allows this to happen. Having to watch and try to help my wife deliver our two stillborn daughters. It’s absolute torture. Leaving the hospital twice without a baby. Coming home to an empty house again. Trying to grapple with how to survive, again. It’s so very suffocating. I recognize the feelings again. The entire weight of the world sitting on my eyes. My face feeling like it’s being pushed through the back of my head. The utter and absolute pain of having my soul torn apart, again.
    Where do I go from here? I am completely wasted. I have nothing left anymore. I am truly lost.

    • Kirk Lee says:

      Reed, All I can say is I’m so very sorry for you and your wife. The difference from when you hear it from others who have not lost a child is this for real. I, and all the other dads here know the paid of your loss. We know the trials to keep it together for your wife and family. Most of all we know the hurt you feel. Why we are on this particular mission no one will know but we have been brought together for now to help each other in these terrible times. I am here for you anytime as many of the fellow grieving dads. Your not lost, you have us.

    • GrievingDads says:


      I am sorry for the loss of your sweet little babies. Reading your story this morning made me think about my experience. As you have probably figures out by now is I too lost two babies, 18 months a part. Your experience after losing your first daughter and the path you traveled is very similar to how I responded. I can tell you that I know the burden of carrying that pain while trying to help your wife and hold the family together. I held it in for about 15 months before it started to show up in some really weird ways. I say “weird” because the non-stop crying and depression was not something I had never experienced before. I come to learn that its perfectly normal response, especially after holding it in for almost a year and half. The second loss sent me into a major tail spin, one I too thought would break me. In some ways, I think it did, in other ways it made me see life from a different perspective. No person should ever have to loss a child and certainly not two.

      After the first loss I too said things like “what can you do to me that would be worse than losing a child,” then the unthinkable happened again. I no longer make those kind of statements. Like one of the dads mention in my book “there isn’t anything worse than losing a child and if there is, I don’t want to know about”. Me neither.

      You are very early in this second path and there are not doubt some dark days ahead of you, but as Kirk says, you are not alone. We are all here and we all have experienced the same types of stuff that others have experienced. Use us to lean on and to help carry you on days you can’t carry yourself. Call me ANYTIME you need to speak or need someone to remind you that you are not alone and that what you are feeling is “normal”.



  64. Thomas says:

    I stumbled upon this site a few weeks ago. I lost my beloved daughter Lydia unexpectedly about 3 weeks ago on Valentine’s Day. She was only 3 years old. The day before she was playing and running around the house like normal. The next morning she awoke with a fever and she was throwing up. We made an appointment with her pediactrician. My wife took her to the doctor, who said that she had a stomach virus. I had gone to work, thinking everything would be OK. However my wife called me after lunch and told me I needed to come home, because my daughter wasn’t getting any better. Minutes later she called in a panic, saying to meet her at the hospital. I drove there as fast as I could, and once I arrived, my worst fears were realized. She had arrived there without a pulse, and the doctor said it didn’t look good, but they would keep working on her. At that point I was in disbelief. Shortly after that, she was gone. I can’t believe my little girl is gone. We found out later that she had an infection in her blood and that we would have never known that she was sick. The last few weeks have been the most difficult for me. I loved her more than anything. She would always tell people that Daddy was her best friend. I am so heartbroken. I’m struggling to make through each day – I see parents with children my daughters age and I ask why. I look at pictures of her and all I can do is cry. Ironically we were trying to have another child so she could have a sibling, and unfortunately miscarried in October. However, we discovered a few days after my daughter’s passing we are expecting. I don’t know how to feel. I’m sad, hopeful, and scared all at the same time. I am holding onto my faith, because right now its all I have.

    • GrievingDads says:


      I am so very sorry for the loss if your sweet daughter Lydia. My heart was breaking just reading your story. I wish I had the words to erase your pain but I do.

      You are very early in this journey and things will get worse before they get better. It’s just part if the deal. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to process and feel what has happened. There is no quick fix to this pain. But you must allow yourself the time. If you have not done so already, found a good counselor, find a support group, hang in to your faith. It all plays a role. Know we are all here for you when you need to vent.

      Call me if you need another dad to speak with. Wish you peace along this path.


  65. Joe Dupree says:

    i don’t know who else to turn to with this i feel like i am going crazy this was me and my girlfriends first child Feb 7th 2014 we found out we where going to have a baby girl who we named ALEXA ELIZABETH DUPREE we had been having schedule problems in our seeing each other because of our jobs so we argued a lot and it would stress her out but i was feeling lonely and i wanted to spend time with her then on the 13th she goes in to premature labor then at 4:43pm on feb 14th 2014 she was just starting her 21st week she gave birth to our daughter alexa she lived for about five mins on her own be for she passed away as man we are built to protect the ones we love and as fathers our daughters are extra protected by there fathers they are our baby girls i feel so heart broken and guilty i could not get the doctor to save her i failed my daughter and my girl how do yo live with that type of guilt i feel like i am loosing my mind i feel like its my fault for arguing with my girl and stressing her out and i feel like i failed them i couldn’t save my daughter

    • Kirk Lee says:

      Joe, Sorry you had to join us fathers. Guilt is something we all go through it one way or another. For me it was “I should have driven that night”. You need to be kind with yourself first and for most. So many thing we can blame ourselves for that are totally out of control. My daughter was my life. I couldn’t save her, the paramedics couldn’t save her not the doctors. Fact is that there are things in this world that are just plain and simple out of our hands. You have to believe that and you have to know it is not your fault. God bless and take the time for yourself to grieve.

  66. edcol52 says:

    One month ago, our beautiful darling 24 year-old son, Jake died suddenly and unexpectedly. We still don’t know the exact cause, the results of the medical investigation are still “pending”. As one who has lost a child, you can understand how totally devastated my wife and I are. Thank you for putting together this resource. I have started my own site to chronicle my personal journey through this maze and, with your permission, will post a link to your page on it. ( Our lives are altered forever by an experience like this. I know I am at the beginning of a very long journey, but thankfully I have an amazingly supportive and caring community around me that has helped us thus far. My sincerest condolences go out to every man (and woman) who has lost a child. Speaking as a member of this dreadful club, a club with a terrible price to pay for admittance, I truly feel the pain of each and every one of you.

  67. Kirk Lee says:

    I read Kelly’s Blind Sided post this morning. He asked if anyone else has had that happen. Yes it did, just yesterday. I was taking Michelle to work and a song called Dancing with Cinderella came on. Tears just started flowing. It was about a dad and his daughter and her growing up, prom and marriage and it struck me so hard that I will never get to see her go to her first dance, her prom, marriage and kids. I know I mentioned this shortly after she died and really hadn’t given it much thought with all the other baggage we live with after child loss but there it was BAM! As the tears rolled down my face my wife tried to console me but it was too late. I had never heard that song before yesterday and it would be ok if I don’t again for a long long time.

  68. Kirk says:

    Well my friends, Its the end of the year. Im too old to stay up late and besides, without Ash it just doesn’t feel the same. I just want to take a minute and look at how far we have come. I know it may not seem like it but we all have woken up every day and moved forward every minute of every day up to this moment. I am proud of each and every one of us. I consider all of you family and Ill do my best to be there for each and every one of you if you need me. It is my wish for 2014 that we all fine some peace and healing. God bless you all my friends.

  69. Kirk says:


    That touches my heart. It is wonderful when others remember. I tear up when Ashlyns friends remember her and it brings me both pain and comfort. I know how you felt. Ash’s cousin practically every time we see her asks if Ashlyn is still in heaven. It pains me to have to say yes. Someday we will not have this pain any longer and we will again find happiness.

  70. Joe Slifka says:

    Last night, my 3-year old daughter was staring out the window as we drove home. My wife asked, “What are you thinking about, Sweetie?” She replied, “I wish I was a bird. I would fly up to Heaven so I could see Sophie.” Tore my heart in half.

  71. Kirk says:


    The first time AP ever saw his son was in ICU. He had found out about the child only a month before the tragedy. What I don’t get is that no one has been to see the little guy. The cemetery even closed down for the burial to accommodate the team who would come with AP. We feel so bad for him that we will make sure he is remembered and not just a name on a plaque. I just couldn’t imagine not seeing my daughter at lease once a week. In the first 3 months we were there every day.

  72. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    I remember when I read the story and how his dad was still going to go and play on Sunday. I remember telling my wife how angry I was, because he didn’t seem fazed by what had just happened to his son. My wife convinced me that maybe he was dealing with things differently than the way I dealt with things after my daughter past away. Now I know what kind of person he really is. Goodnight Kirk. Must be late in Texas right now.

  73. kirk says:

    Gilberto, yes it is. We feel so bad for the little guy. No one has visited him. We will continue to do so. Maybe its to hard for the mom.

  74. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    Sorry to hear about your loss Kirk. I lost my daughter earlier this year and this was my first Christmas after her death. I never had a Christmas, thanksgiving, or a Halloween with my daughter because she past away a few weeks after she was born. I receive all of the posts and I read all of them and I always tell myself why is it always the fathers that love their children the most the ones that loose them first? I wanted to know, if it’s not offending, was the child of the famous football player you gave toys to at the cemetery, the son of Adrian Peterson. I’m pretty sure you know this, but he is the running back for the Minnesota Vikings.

  75. Kirk says:

    Christmas 365 days later.
    This is our second Christmas without Ash. I remember coming home and posting about what a huge mistake is was to go to my wife’s mothers house last year. What hurt the most is that Ashlyn’s god parents didn’t even acknowledge she existed. I remember getting there and the festivities were in full swing. Now it was only a little over a month since we lost her. I was looking around and thought DONT YOU KNOW! Our daughter is not here and your carrying on like she never existed. Michelle and I went to a back bedroom and cried and cried. We then decided to come back home and put on our winter gear and spent Christmas with Ash at the cemetery.

    A year goes by and I can tell that the loss has aged my mother in law, wife and myself. I have made it so clear that Ashlyn will be present at all family functions. My mother in law has seen to it that it is so. This year we went to the cemetery this morning and off to moms. This year I had no expectations but I had a plan. Ashlyn the Angel whom I wrote about earlier was going to make her final appearance of the year. So I skillfully places some Angel feathers in areas near the tree and outside the front door. I then took Ash’s second cousin whom she loved like a sister and showed her the feathers. Then she looked outside and found 3 presents. While we were doing this Ash’s Godfather made some crack about duck feathers. If looks could have killed he would have been drawn and quartered by Michelle. She angrily said “Those are Ashlyn’s Angel feathers. He didn’t say a word after that. Alyssa got it, Her mom got it, grandma got it. In the little box was a angel wing necklace. Also there was a package for grandma that was written for her by Ashlyn when she was in 1st grade. We framed it and gave it to her from Ash.

    Ashlyns godfather still to this day will not acknowledge her and I think he’s an ass. She was there today. This I know because Michelle and her sister gave their mom a Bose Wave radio. I hooked it up and tuned in her stations and the first song to come on was a Zac Brown song. Ash and I would ride around singing his songs for hours. A few minutes later If I Die Young by The Band Perry. This was Ashlyn’s all time favorite song and she would sing it so pretty. We played this at her memorial service. Needles to say this got me very emotional.

    Everyone there but Ash’s godfather commented about this being her favorite song. Was this year better? Id say different but not necessarily better. There will always be someone physically missing and that loss will always be present. I envy the older people in the family, they won’t have to wait as long to see her again.

    On a side note, while we were at the Cemetery there is a little boy who died this year that is the son of a famous professional football player not far from Ash. Since he was buried there has been no evidence of any visitors. We stop there every time we see Ash. Today we gave him a couple of Ashlyn’s toys. I don’t want him to be forgotten any more that I do my daughter.

    Thanks for letting me share this and as always, you are my brothers.

  76. Kirk says:

    Holiday Hangover

    So as some of you may know I do whatever I can to keep Ashlyn’s memory alive. So I formulated a plan. A Christmas plan. My way of keeping her in the hearts and minds of her friends. I decided that Angels and Peace sign charms. I was on a mission and nothing was going to stop me. Tuesday I his the mall searching for just the right gift for her friends.

    After several hours of shopping and having to listen to friggin Christmas music that I was not in the mood for my purchases were complete. I enlisted my wife’s assistance in wrapping the gifts. It had to be in white paper, it had to look pure.

    So I contacted the kids parents and set my plan in motion. We took off like a drag car leaving the line and made our first delivery. Placing the package on their steps, then the next house. What I had planned was something I would have done for Ash, that kind of warm hearted fun holiday surprise. Before we got home I had received a text from Ash’s best friends mom asking for us to stop by. We arrived and I thought for a moment oops i may have over done it. When we got in the house there was Abby, Ash’s best friend with a huge smile on her face and holding a poem I wrote in her hands. She looked at us and said. “I got a present from Ashlyn and I know it was her because there was white angel feathers on our front porch”. It took all I had to keep my composure as she read the poem out loud. Then she showed us their Ashlyn Angel on their tree. The look on her face showing us her Angel charm will be with me till the day I die. The second package delivered and Ella’s parents sent me a picture of the girls and their gifts. Her quote was “They were amazed” We didn’t get to see them in person wit we will before they have to go to school.

    My mission of presents from heaven was complete and I felt a sense of accomplishment and joy I haven’t felt since Ash left us. This morning I had a headache that would rival any self induced one of my memory. I think that I invested so much emotion into this project that I was drained of everything. I put it all out there and I am glad I did.

    Ash will always be loved by her friends and I am so thankful for that. I also hope we showed the parents how our unconditional love for our daughter goes much further than the cemetery. Her friends are and hopefully will be part of our family for years to come. I just thought I would share this with you all and wish you some peace and comfort.


    • Kelly says:

      Beautiful story Kirk. I love it and in fact, we no longer buy a large Christmas Tree for the holidays. However, we have a small 3′ plugin tree that we cover in ornaments that remind us of Katie and Noah. I also have a 30′ White Fir in my back yard the I wrap in blue and white lights for both of them. The tree keeps getting taller and I have to keep buying taller ladders, but I will decorate this tree until I can no longer physically reach.

      Buying and sharing those gifts for Ash’s friends helps her live on and helps you and her friends continue on the healing process.

      Thanks for sharing this story.



  77. Bruce says:

    Kelly – I’m listening to your blog right now. One thing you said that resonates is the idea of finding a cause or activity that honors your child helps move through the pain and function. I agree with your observation. Since our son Josh passed away 2 years ago, I, along with the rest of our family have been more involved with the special needs camp that Josh attended during the last four years of his life. I’ve been serving on the camp’s board as the treasurer, Josh’s brother Noah spent last year as a counselor, his sister Katie along with my wife volunteer regularly at the camp. The camp along with the Master Gardeners at Penn State built and dedicated a very elaborate butterfly garden in Josh’s honor. It’s been one of the few things that brings some peace when feeling connected with our son. It’s also kept us connected with other families with children with special needs, this community we were a part of for the last 20 years is not the same, but in many ways similar to those feeling what we have in regard to losing a child. When at the camp, I feel Josh’s presence. Sometimes it makes me miss him more, sometimes it makes me feel he is still here.

    • Kelly says:

      Bruce – I am glad you found a connection with the interview. Sometimes we need to hear others stories to realize we are still living, barely at times, but the transition to healing is such a slow process, we forget how deep the pain was and still is from time to time. Finding a way to honor our children in a way that makes us smile when we think of them instead of cry is a powerful thing.

      Wishing you continued healing and peace my friend.


  78. Kirk says:

    As we get closer to Christmas I want to vent a little , make a few observations and share my thoughts. Last week we had our counciling session. As I sat there I came to the realization that this is heading toward an end. We spoke of Ash for a while then the sub jest changes and we laugh about something that was said. It was at that moment that I saw how far we had come in the last year. Though we have come so far yet there are times that I feel we haven’t moved forward at all. Christmas this year seem to be harder than last year. I know last year we were in a fog but this year its ever clear that Ash will not be here. I know that for us it will for the most part it will be “just another day” and we have a plan for Christmas day that includes spending time at Ash’s grave “no matter how cold”.

    It is my hope that all be well and do the best we can to get through the holidays. I can’t begin to express my gratitude to all who have been here, responded, participated in this journey with me over the last year. I have no doubt that Ill be here over the next few weeks. Id rather share with you all than keep it to myself.

    God Bless us all!

    • Matt L says:


      I know how you feel. This will be our third Christmas without Riley. The first one was foggy, last year was miserable and this year I realize how far I (we) have come since Riley passed away. The waves do not seem that big, but they still hit you. I am a little more optimistic this year, but I know there will be a time when I will cry.

      God Bless you and your family and may His peace and comfort surround you as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.


  79. Kirk says:

    Tonight was the 17th annual caldlelighting of the compassionate friends. This will have been our second year. What I can remember of last years is very scetchy. We were 3 weeks into our loss when we attended the event. I remember the singers, i remember not being able to say Ashlyn’s name. My tears were making it so difficult. I looked around and thought WOW there are a lot of people here and all of them have lost kids, we are not alone. Then the picture of Ash came up on the screen and it took my breath away. Just like getting hit in the gut. We didn’t know anyone and we had a few friends come support us.
    Fast forward 365 days. Here we were helping with the ceremony, Michelle lit one of the 5 candles and we were surrounded by friends. We know many of the kids names but not so much the parents. We know where they are buried, We know details on how these kids died and we keep them to ourselves. Ashlyns picture this year brought a smile and a kiss from me from across the room. The fellowship is wonderful and I can honestly say that this has been a wonderful experience.

    A lot has changed in the last year, i have changed jobs 3 times, I have done my best to live the way Ashlyns would have lived. The only really sad news is that 2 years ago I started a hobby Auto restoration business / hot rod shop. Year one we were going gangbusters then my business partner broke his pelvis and I lost Ashlyn. We finished the last project, put in our notice and are closing the shop down. Its bittersweet on the one hand Ash was always there to help me and we were making money doing the cars. All show quality. But now my heart just isn’t into it. I still have the hotrod Ash and I picked out to do and I will do that. Sad because it was a big bart of my life . So there it is, the good , bad, and depressed.

    • Kelly says:

      Kirk – Thanks for sharing your experiences from last year to this year. You are doing all that you should be participating in this events and connecting with others who get. You and your wife are now becoming leaders to others that are on this path. That doesn’t mean you still won’t need help on your path from time to time, but you are taking steps forward very slowly.

      Sorry to hear about the business, but its hard to put all of your energy into something when you lost a big piece of who you are. Things will settle out with you job situation and you will then find your way. I was a successful real estate broker and also an engineer when I lost Katie and Noah. I couldn’t keep going out and acting like nothing happened and put a smile on my face and sell. All I wanted to do is cry. I ended up working part time as an engineer for almost 3 years. I was fortunate enough to be able to work for a company that allowed that. I am just now to the point were I am getting back into selling real estate, but my approach is much different now. It’s about continuing my mission of giving back to others.

      My wife was also an engineer prior to the losses, but after the losses we both knew the high pressure and pace was no longer possible. She too went part time and then ultimately changed professions to become a special education teacher. She loves the job working with the kids that Katie and Noah would have been friends.

      My point is you will find your way. You will circle back and complete that project car, when you have the strength. You will take great pride in doing it, but do it when you are ready.

      Thanks again for sharing, peace.


  80. Kirk says:

    Thanksgiving 2013. Our second is in the books. I hope all went as well as possible for all here. I was at my inlay’s house for the day and I had already told my wife that if a place wasn’t set for our missing loved ones that I would eat standing up and give up my place for them. When we arrived there was a candle set for them. I was content with that then when the time came to eat and say grace, my wives mom spoke of how difficult it is without Ashlyn here for the holiday. Then my wife’s nephew did the same then her sister. That is all very touching and warmed my heart….but! You knew there had to be a but right? There was one member of the family who hasn’t said shit since we lost Ash. Then there was one who pawns her kids of on everyone so she can be the “IT” girl. It really pisses me off that she puts so much energy into everything but her kids. REALLY! have you not learned anything from what has happened to us? Have you not figured out that your kids, my kid any kid can be gone in the blink of an eye? I didn’t say anything but thats what I wanted to say. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect everyone to give a tribute to Ash or any of the loved ones that had passed but I do expect these pompous asses to show a little respect. Enough of my rant. I do want to let you all know that I was thinking of you and said a prayer for all parents who are in this unenviable position of having to try to make order out of chaos. Bless you all and thanks for putting up with my rant.

    • Steven Henry says:

      Yesterday was our 4th Thanksgiving without Jacob and Stephanie. We decided not to go to my sister-in-law’s, and stayed home. We cooked a turkey breast, and had a very nice meal. We ate at our dining room table for the first time in 3 years. We set a place for Jake, and had candles going for him, Steph, and my father-in-law, who passed 4 years ago. My wife and I argued twice yesterday over nothing. She got angry with me that I felt that the meal prep was “work”. I was also “in trouble” because I forgot to call my parents yesterday. I just can’t seem to get it right. The air is still somewhat tense this morning, and I just don’t know why. I’m obviously missing something, but who knows what. I ran 4 miles on the treadmill this morning. Running does help me so very much. I will probably spend most of the day working in the yard. This is my first Friday after Thanksgiving off in almost 10 years. I don’t know yet if today will be good, or another rough day. Yesterday was just hell for the most part.
      They certainly don’t get any easier.

  81. Kirk says:

    Its my honor to be here with you and all the brave dads that visit here. So sorry for your loss of Hallie. This will be our second Thanksgiving since we lost Ashlyn. It normally is at my sister in law’s house but it will be at my wifes mother’s this year. Her sisters and her husband never bring my daughter up. I am hoping we handle it better this year. Last year the loss was so raw and the emotions so …..unpredictable that I am not sure how we survived it. We spent most of the day at the cemetery then went to our church for dinner. I guess my point is do whatever feels right. As your angelversary nears be kind to yourself. Your wife may be seemingly getting worse as the day approaches and we all know how that feels. She may surprise you when you least expect it and be the strong one. You can only be so strong for so long before grief will kick your ass. Sometimes that suitcase falls out of the closet and opens up for a moment and its ok. I have been on many pages of mothers who lost kids and one thing keeps coming up where there husbands are concerned, they wish that their husbands would show more emotions. They all know we hurt and understand that our society says we must be strong. You have a plan in place for Thanksgiving and thats good, do what feels right and as I say with change “stay wiggly”. Ashlyn and Hallie will be with us on not just that day but every day until we meet again. I want you to know my brother that Ill be here for you and any other dads at any time. We are united in this journey and I am glad we can be there for each other.

  82. Gary says:


    Thank you so much for your reply it means a lot and again I am so very sorry for your loss. Our time frames are very similar.

    I am just taking it day by day trying to do my best. That suitcase analogy hits the nail on the head. Its amazing how we hide our pain, our sadness, our anger to the outside world.

    Thanksgiving is going to be a disaster. We always hosted Thanksgiving for the last many years. We would have apprx 15 or so family over. It was my favorite holiday. Last year this time Halle was so excited to help with the Turkey and so excited to help set the table and to be with our family. She ran around with her cousins all day and it was such an awesome time. It was a great day last year. Who knew this was the last holiday I would spend with her. It is just sick and unfair!!!!! We will not be hosting this year. My wife, myself, and my son are going to hang home and be with each other. Not up for doing a thing.

    The one year mark is almost 2 weeks away, and I am starting to get very anxious and extremely sad and depressed. More so than usual. I am trying to be strong especially for my wife who has started to take a downward spiral.

    Well thanks again for allowing me to vent and share a little.

    • Gary K says:

      Hi Gary
      I don’t know where to start, but your trying to do the same things you did before which is great, if you can do them, but it’s so hard for some time. My son died last year in late September and I can’t even remember what we did that day on Thanksgiving, sad but true…but I just wanted to say “it’s ok to change things or just be with your family as greiving is hard, tough, and as Kirk said, kicks your ass”. But its true……

      Take time to heal, take time to cry alone, take time to communicate to everyone in your family to understand everyone’s feelings and emotions, get help if you need it, ….it’s a greiving process, everyone’s different, everyone….respect that within those loved ones….

      I feel for you and everyone else that comes here in their journey as its a new journey you thought you would never have to take…..but now we are….somehow it will change you for ever, but figuring ways to cope can be a challenge and some things will work and some will not and then it will sneak up on you and grab you into sorrow and pain……I hope you and your wife have a good thanksgiving this year…..take care….

  83. Kirk says:

    Thank you for sharing. This is a very caring site and with a heavy heart welcome. So sorry you and the rest of us have to be here. I know how you feel. My Ashlyn was my life. I sit in our living room that used to be filled with the sounds of a lively 8 year old, now its quiet. So quiet in fact that I must have the TV on or it drives me crazy. Ive asked why me as well and what lesson did I need to learn so bad that I had to lose my baby girl. I just went through the 1st anniversary on the 15th and I am still standing. I give your wife a lot of credit for trying to go back to work and I personally think she must be one of the bravest people I have ever heard of. We are the walking wounded, but we are still here. I look at my daughters picture every day and treasure every memory I have. Every day that I leave for work I mentally tell my self to put my emotions in a suitcase and put it in the closet. When I slip I remind myself that the suitcase stays in the closet until I get home. Crazy but it seems to work. If you need anything one of us will be here, anytime.

  84. gary says:

    Hi Joe
    Its not easy and all common symtoms and feelings. Its been a year since my son passed at 23 and I’m not the same man, but as well….better….happy on your new one and wish you well and your wife…….you sometimes wonder if you ever will get back to what once was normal and I don’t think you ever do…you cope and deal with it day to day but only you can push yourself to new places that were once old places……wish you well..

  85. Joe Slifka says:

    I accepted a new teaching position a week before my Sophia was stillborn. I was teaching high school science and took a job teaching technology courses with some integration of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). It was the bread and butter I had been training myself for (I attended 50+ hours of conferences and seminars as well as earned a Master’s degree in technology integration). That summer, every time I sat at my computer to try and formulate a lesson plan for a week, I drew nothing but blanks. I couldn’t formulate a lesson for one period of one class…how the hell was I going to pull this off? I made a name for myself among the teachers in my county, and was pretty well respected and looked at as a “go-getter” and the one who was willing to pilot new things.

    The morning Sophie died, a huge part of me died too. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t concentrate; I truly worried about my longevity at this district.

    Things are somewhat different now. My wife and I just welcomed our rainbow baby into the world, Eliana Iris was born October 11th. She has helped up with part of our grief, but there is still a huge hole in our hearts and lives. Where you see two, there should be three.

    I still struggle with depression, anxiety, confusion…all the same as before. But it is a little better.

    The morning Eliana was born was bittersweet, a father across the hall had lost his son. I reached out, and we have since been in contact a few times. He is just starting his grief journey, I have a little head start, so I wanted to be there for him. I shared this site and a few other in hopes that he would find comfort in knowing he is not alone in all this, just as I have thanks to all of you.

  86. Gary says:

    My name is Gary and my 5 year old daughter Halle died on December 8th 2012 from meningitis after a medical procedure. That is the day my life came to a screeching halt and I am trying to keep moving but I feel I am stuck. Halle was my life she was my world. We did everything together. At times I feel that I loved her more than anyone else. I have no idea how I am going to live the rest of my life without her, but I know I have too for my wife and for my 4 year old son. I can not believe its been almost a year. The love and support is amazing from our community and I am truly grateful for that. I am not a big writer and this takes a lot for me to write this, but I have been on this website a number of times reading your posts and I want to say to all the fathers that have lost your child I am so sorry from the bottom of my heart. I feel your pain!!

    My wife is a kindergarten teacher in a nearby school district where we live. That was the grade Halle was in when she died. My wife went back to work a couple of months ago and now is going to take another leave of absence starting next week because it is just too tough right now.

    I spoke to Kelly a few times early on, back 9 or 10 months ago, but I had no idea what I needed or wanted but I thank you for taking your time and listening to me. I have read your book about 5 times and want to say that the book makes you feel that your not alone in your thoughts and actions etc. Thank you Kelly for publishing that book it allows you to connect with fathers in a similar situation.

    Before Halle died we had an awesome life. Our house was always full of love and all our friends and family hung out at our house . The endless pizza and movie nights and the bbq’s and seeing all the kids swimming and playing together. Halle running around without a care in the world always giggling and laughing with all of her friends and cousins. I miss that so much.

    The concern I have is that everything I enjoyed doing before Halle died I have no will or interest in doing any of it now.

    Life is not fair. Why Halle? Why not me? She had her whole life ahead of her. I miss her so much and I miss the endless hugs and kisses and her beautiful innocent smile.

    I went to counseling for about 9 months. I felt it helped somewhat. For the past 8 months I go to a support group meeting once a week. These groups are parents that lost children. These groups allow me to get stuff out that I can’t say with people that are not in my position. I really think they are helping but who knows.

    Thank you again for letting me post some of my feelings.


  87. Kirk says:

    Take your time my friend. Im 52 (SHHHHH) The way I’m looking at my job, I go and basically put on a show, I’m the actor who has little wrong

  88. Steven Henry says:

    Thanks, Kirk. The job that I was in, I had been there 6 years. I left, because when I was gone for 5 weeks of FMLA, the boss chose the asst. as his #1. I didn’t have a chance when I came back.

    I took at $20K pay cut for the job I have now. It was so much a mistake. I spend hours a day seated, and it is MUNDANE! My boss literally had me work 3 hours to find less than $5. She wanted to know what was “driving” the error. I just don’t have the focus to chase around 19,000 assets at a detail like I am being asked to do. I really don’t like that kind of accounting at all. Not to mention the pay cut! I should be very grateful that I have a job that pays what it does, but…

    So I am mixed. I have been looking for another controllership position, but that will be long hours, new training, but more money. There is another part of me that wants out of accounting, but I’m 53, and that’s all I’ve done since high school!

    There are good positions and good companies out there, I just need to be patient. It could take several months to find a new position.

    Thank you for your good advice!

  89. Kirk says:

    I just want to share with you something I learned. I worked at a company for 17 1/2 years. After Ashlyn died I thought I need a change. I got what I was looking for on May 1 of this year. One BIG problem, I was in over my head. Not that I couldn’t do the job, I just couldn’t do it the way I thought I should have. I don’t often say that I made an error but in this case I did. I had heard not to make any drastic changes for the first year after the loss as significant as ours. I struggled each day and even tried to get my old job back. It was comfortable and I missed the need I say mundaneness. Well to make a long story short the new job ended up being bought by another company and I was out because they brought in their own people. I new I made a mistake and think that God knew I was struggling and helped me get out. I was out of work for 2 weeks when I was offered the position I am in now. It was a bitch to learn this job due to the “fog” of this grieving. I leveled with them before I took the job that I had lost my daughter and it may effect my performance. They thought enough of me to take a chance on me. I can say everyone there has been great and compassionate and helpful. I got lucky. I found out that the hole was deep at the first job and so far this gob isn’t to bad. What Im saying is that you need to look at whatever you want to do as if you are doing the job and see if you think you can cope. Don’t just jump into it like I did, it set me back quite a ways. I took on less responsibility with this new job all i have to worry about is my performance not mine and 7 others. Its a slippery slope my friend, we care and want whats best for you.

  90. Steven Henry says:

    Kirk, and Kelly,

    Those are really helpful insights. I’ve been afraid that I won’t ever be able to do the detail again like I used to. I’ll think it is getting better, then a step back.

    My wife tells me that I had another night terror last night and screamed out in my sleep. I don’t do that often. All I remember is that I was helping Dale Jarrett of all people, look for a little boy in the jungle. I slipped in the mud, and was almost bitten by a snake. BUT, for a brief moment, I saw the little boy. It was MY SON as a toddler. I saw him just for a moment, and then he was gone. Jake was 21 when he was killed. I don’t often have the priviledge to remember him as a small child. Most of my memories are of him bigger. Despite the terror, I’ll treasure this gift.

    Needless to say, my focus and concentration are crap today. I have not gotten much done at all today.

    I have been thinking more and more about changing the type of work that I do. This something that I have been praying about a lot, but still don’t have answers for.

  91. Kirk says:

    Steven, I know exactly what you mean. It takes all of my energy and focus to keep on task at work. Doesn’t help that I’m in a new job. I too find myself in places where I’ve driven on auto pilot. I know the fog has lifted some and does a little more each day but its hard, really hard. Im with you brother. Just do the best you can and leave it at that. Its all you can do.

  92. Steven Henry says:

    Got in trouble at work again for lack of focus. I don’t sit and stare for hours (anymore), but I just make dumb mistakes. I’m an accountant, and that just does not work! Yesterday, I submitted an entry without triple checking, and it was wrong. I know better, I don’t know how the mistake happened, I watch for these, and I still make them. It is like when driving sometimes, I see that I’m at a certain place, but don’t remember getting there, if that makes sense.

    I’m curious how many others fight this at work, and how you deal with it. My productivity is often down due to all of the double, triple checking that I do. It does not help that I don’t like my job, and my “caring factor” is pretty low. But, the bills need to be paid, and I am looking for other work.

    • Kelly says:


      This is completely normal. In fact, I still have to force myself to focus. I am an engineer and use to design a lot of roadways around Chicago. Mistakes are not acceptable and can be very expensive for my clients. Its been 9 years and I still struggle with focus. Fortunately I was able to transition into a more project management/business development role which allow me to delegate a lot more of the day in and day out tasks. I couldn’t do what I once did as far a production. Nor would I want to. I do much better now with the sale side of things because no one else wants to do it (engineers are like accountants, many do not have people skills:) ) So I do it and like it much better. I spend more time out of the office meeting with clients and building personal relationships with them which fits my skill set anyway.

      I was also getting my Masters to become a Counselor because I knew I couldn’t keep up the pace I was doing prior to the losses. Seemed like a fairly easy job and one that makes a different in other peoples lives.

      Sorry for the rambling, but this subject hits close to home. The lack of focus gets better with time, but it doesn’t seem to go away. I think the brain has been impacted from the events and we really don’t care about the BS stuff that doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of life.



  93. Kirk says:

    Yesterday I felt so positive, maybe it was a high from the Rememberance on Friday night. I took my wife out Saturday night to see a band a friend plays in. I told myself last night “thats it! I’m going to control my grief and not let my grief control me”. Well that lasted less than 24 hours. It really is true, you take 1 step forward and 2 steps back. Ive faced this head on and looked this demon in the eyes. Several people tell me that we have accomplished so much in the last year and that we are an amazing example of how grief can and should be expressed. Right now I don’t feel that way. I want to take control of my life but Im not sure how or if at this point I am in a position to take control. As you all know grief is a monster that can be all consuming. I want to find my way back. I want to live my life for Ash not for her death but for her life but I just don’t know how.

    • Kelly says:


      I will tell you what a very dear friend told me, “be kind to yourself”. You are only 1 year out from this, you made it through one whole year and you’re still standing, barely at times, I know, but, still standing. You made it through a very emotional week last week and ended it by celebrating Ashlyn’s life with all of her wonderful friends.

      I will also tell you what a counselor told me, “let it be what it is and don’t fight it”. I know easier said than done, but once you figure that out, it gets easier. Actually, life in general gets easier because you’re not always trying to do more, be more. You just let the day be what it is, because we cant control it. I struggled with that for a long time but once I figured it out, I started to feel/find peace. I still have to go back from time to time and remind myself.

      I will also tell you what I learned from a local on a trip to Cayman Islands for my 40th birthday, 2 years after losing Noah. “No Worries”. Kind of goes with the one above but if you can find a way to control other stresses in your life, it starts to lighten the load, especially if you believe it and live.

      You are in the middle of a horrible ride, but keep moving. That light you see ever so faintly off in the distance will continue to guide you and your path if you allow it to.



  94. Kirk says:

    First and foremost I want to thank you guys with all of my heart. Thank you for being here for me over the last year. As many of you know I was dealing with a lot of anxiety leading up to last nights 1st anniversary. I appreciate all of the advice and prayers and know your support helped pull me through. The morning was pretty tough with a lot of emotion on both of our parts. When it came time for the gathering I was determined to “be Strong” for everyone there. Of course when I spoke to the group I was crackly and emotional. We had about 50 attend and about 1/3 were her friends. Ash’s 2 best friends promised me that they will never forget Ashlyn. Kelly, you were right about the anxiety being worse than the actual day. In my case once we got home last night I felt a sense of relief and peace.

    Thanks for all of your support this past year and Im sure Ill still need to be here and hope that I can pay it forward.

  95. Joe Slifka says:

    I hope you find peace today and feel Ashlyn’s love all around you. Praying for you, brother.

  96. Kirk says:

    It’s the eve before the anniversary of Ashlyn’s death. I have come to hate the words “dead, die” Those words are so permanent and cold. I had to focus all my energy to get through work today. Came home for lunch went into Ashlyn’s room and was looking through her dresser and lost it. I know in my head that she is not coming back but my heart still hasn’t got the message. No amount of tears will ever bring her back, no amount of wishes no amount of prayers Like everyone else here Ill never get to hold her, smell her hair, comfort her when she is sick or sad. What a freakin nightmare. Piecing a life together after child loss has to be the equivalent of climbing Mt Everest without oxygen in flip flops and a tank top “watch someone will do that “. Last night I had rehearsal for church on Sunday. The sermon this week will be about death how coincidental is that . I do feel that Ash would be happy I have kept playing with the band. Its not always easy and I sometimes have conflicting thoughts with the music were playing and I don’t always feel positive as the songs but I have to believe ill get better.

    • Steven Henry says:


      Tomorrow won’t be easy, but you will get through it, because tomorrow will be about honoring Ashlyn’s memory. Our prayers are with you that you will be strong tomorrow. Remember to take care of yourself too. Peace be with you!

    • ron says:

      Kirk – Thinking of you and your family this day and wishing you peace.


    • Kelly says:

      Kirk – I hope the day is being kind to you. I know from experience, the anticipation of the anniversary day is general much worse than the actual day. I hope that holds true for you as you spend time reflecting on Ashlyn’s life and the love she gave to you. I am confident you are feeling that love today.



  97. Kirk says:

    Thanks for sharing your story with me. It was very touching to me that they are by each other. My wife and I seem to “compliment” each other. When Im having a hard time she is there for me and when she lets go Im there for her. She lets it build up before she lets it out where Im more open about mine. Today want to terribly bad except before work. I have been training for a new job and they have been very caring of the situation. I find the learning very hard but Im getting it slowly. Today I met the president of the company and shared my story. I don’t know why but I did. In that conversation I learned that his brother had lost a son. He described “the fog” we go through and he said i can do something positive with this grief . In time I think I can and Im trying now but don’t think Im far enough through this to be that much help. I do feel the need to reach out to the newly bereaved just to let them know that they are not alone. See today has been pretty good, perhaps the calm before the storm.

  98. Kirk says:

    Another day closer to the 1 year mark. I woke up thinking about love. Not the love for a spouse or brother , sister but the love we feel for our kids. A post on a different site basically said that a mothers loss is greater because they carried the child. I understand that to a point. But the pain that I feel is real, real painful. How can something so pure and so special as the love of our children ever be compared to anything. /early on after Ash was born I was the primary caregiver due to the fact my wife was so scared of the newborn. Our bond is as strong as I think any mother. Men in general may keep their emotions subdued but I really think we all understand and feel that excruciating gut wrenching pain at the loss of our kids. My emotions are really beginning to ebb and flow right now and Im doing my best to cope. God give me strength to go to Ashlyns remembrance Friday night and try to remember the good things and the funny things and how Ash touched others lives in a positive way. Ash my baby ,Daddy loves you and misses you every day.

    • Steven Henry says:

      Keep hanging in there, Kirk! Our prayers continue for you!

      My son Jacob, and his fiancé Stephanie were killed by a drunk driver on 10/10/10. Jake was 2 weeks shy of 22nd birthday.

      I met Jacob’s mother when Jake was 8 months old. We got married when Jake was 14 months old, and I adopted him as my own son when he was two. I bathed him, changed poopy diapers, and I was his father, and he was my son. The court sealed the original birth certificate, and re-issued one listing me as the father.

      Jacob and Stephanie met in the 5th grade, and started dating in 8th grade. No question they were meant for each other and were going to get married. They shared an apartment. Stephy was very much like a daughter to us, and her loss has made this even more difficult. We did lose two children that horrible night. We buried them side by side.

      Jacob’s death has hit me every bit as hard as if I were to lose a biological child. His mother has “complicated” grief, but I wouldn’t say that her grief is worse because she is the birth mother. She was diagnosed with complicated grief, and my PTSD and associated panic attacks seem worse than hers.

      Everyone grieves differently. You cannot compare your grief to another, even if it is your wife. There will be periods where she seems to be grieving more, and periods when you are grieving more. You both are in a deep valley, and you both have to go through the valley. You can hold each other while on the journey, but you both will have to grieve, and you will grieve differently.

      Hope this helps.

  99. Kirk says:

    Thanks Steven. Im having these HUGE mood swings, one end I can cry at the drop of a hat and on the other end I want this anniversary to be just what you said a celebration of her life. I will be in the company of several of her friends which like to give us hugs. I find that comforting. Today I had to call the library that was the site of the accident and tell them we are meeting there for a remembrance. I thought for sure I would lose it but I didn’t. When I explained the situation the woman asked if there was anything they could do for us. Of course the first thought that entered my mind was give me my daughter back but I know she was sincere and meant well. I ordered flowers for our church in memory of Ashlyn. The woman that owns the flower shop I used to work with. She remembered Ashlyn’s favorite color and that made me cry. The fact that she remembered that anyone remembers things about her always make me cry. Im expecting the worst for the day and hoping for the best.

  100. Kirk says:

    3 days to go. WOW the impact of the time and distance is beginning to cause some physical pain. I ordered flowers for church in her memory and my wife ordered balloons. I have no idea what to expect for a turnout friday night. I miss cuddling with Ash, I miss her infectious smile and her joking around. I miss her compassion for others. She was my best friend in the world. This is a cruel world to do this to us parents.

    • Steven Henry says:

      Kirk, praying that you will find some peace. I know that this is a very difficult time right now. Anniversaries suck in that regard. Anniversaries are also an opportunity to celebrate our children. It is a mixed bag. I hope that you will find comfort in that it might not be immediate, but after the anniversary, you will head back towards your new normal. Then, unfortunately, and fortunately, another anniversary will come along. I’ve been through 3 years of these cycles right now. Sigh…. Again, prayers that you will find some peace as you get closer to your anniversary.

  101. Kirk says:

    Well its Sunday and the countdown is really on. Friday it will be a year. My wife went to her moms for the weekend so I had a lot of time to think about the last year. Im surprised that the nights were as good as they were. But I regress. My mother in law came to pick up my wife for the weekend. I was home for lunch when she arrived. I didn’t know it till she arrived but in her local paper she took out an ad with Ashlyn’s picture in it in remembrance of Ash. I saw that and I about died. Tear began to flow. It made me realize how hard this last year has been for her. Things were pretty good till I had the 90 minute drive to get my wife. All I could think about was my Ashlyn. when I got to her house my wife could tell it was a rough trip. I told her we need to go and that I wanted to go to the cemetery before it closes. While we were there a very close friend showed up with his wife. A year ago today he was involved in an ATV accident and broke him up pretty bad. Ashlyn thought of him and his wife like Aunt and Uncle. He never got to go to the funeral and never got to say goodbye to her. He has always had a problem with anything / anyone that has died. I felt that it took him that long to get the courage up to go see her. So ill no doubt be rambling on here this next week, please forgive me. I can’t believe how the time has and hasn’t gone by. Ive told my supervisor at work that I probably will be distracted this week and why. He said if I need some alone time to just let him know.

  102. Kirk says:

    Today I read a post on another site that to me was so profound and really made me think about the time we had with Ashlyn. it went like this

    1. If God had said “you may have Ashlyn, but you will only have her for 8 years. Do you want her?”

    My answer: YES

    2. I will take all the pain you feel from losing Ashlyn away but I will also take away all memory of her away. Do you want that?

    My answer: NO

    It has been nearly a year since I lost Ashlyn, not a day goes by that I don’t think about her and miss her. I’m extremely thankful for the time I had with her. It wasn’t long enough but when asked the questions above it did make me realize as much as this hurts I wouldn’t trade my memories for anything

    What would your answer be?

    • Steven Henry says:

      Kirk, thank you for sharing that.

      Yes, I would have to answer the same way for our Jacob, and for his Stephanie, who over the years, very much became like a daughter to us.

    • ron says:


      Thanks for that Kirk – it really helps put things in a better perspective for me.

      peace friend,

      • ron says:

        I do have to confess though that there were times at first I thought this might be better than the pain, and wished for this.

        I know better now.


  103. Kirk says:

    If your here then you know quite a few of our stories. Im about twice as far along in this journey and can tell you that everything your feeling is normal. Ive been struggling with our 1 year anniversary coming up next friday. What Ive noticed is how grief is like the ocean, easy tides one minute and the next the waves are crashing all around you. Sometimes these waves hit so hard that it literally knocks the wind out of you and you just can do nothing but cry. All of us know this feeling and either have been there or are there now. I journaled quite a bit in the beginning and also posted on here nearly from the beginning of the nightmare. I try my best to remember the good things as much as i can but the accident scene seems to work its way into there. So my friend know that you are not alone. Tomorrow you ay have a good day as I did today. I take them one day at a time. Still looking forward to stringing a few days together. You need anything reach out either I or one of the other guys will get back to you.


    • ron says:

      Thanks Kirk
      Your are so right about the waves- some are small and break around me other knock me down and nearly drown me. Peace and comfort to you as you meet this anniversary.


  104. gary says:

    I believe….for one to heal you should cry, whether your a man or not…its a natural process in grieving….its about the loss…the deep deep loss of a loved one and child…….sorry for your loss

  105. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    Today is eight months after my daughter Sophia past away. It also happens to be my wife’s birthday today. I don’t know why, but I have been crying a lot recently. Does anyone here think they know why I have been crYing a lot recently. I’m just curious if someone has an answer or tpsomething.

    • Bruce Welsh says:

      Sorry to be so obvious but your crying because you lost your child.

      I cry every day. I lost my son in July 2012.

      I think it’s fine for a father to cry. There is no greater pain than this.

      If you feel like crying, do it.

      Sorry for your loss.


    • Damien says:

      I have found that there are days where the tears come, no rhyme or reason. Or the there is some small trigger that brings them on. Special occasions are notorious for it. And this will continue. It is 4 yrs since I lost my son and I will still have days where the tears flow. It is part of our lot that we will grieve the loss of our beloved children don’t shy from it. I find it helps me in that I know my tears are a form of remembrance of my beautiful son.

    • Kirk says:

      Glad to see your still here. Cry brother, ‘sohpia is your daughter and you love her and she loved you. ””’i as a dad to my daughter can tell you that the hurt is equal to the love we lost, ‘the ,. Hard to celebrate at times kike this, ‘Your still fresh on this journey and there are no write or wrongs just survive. The birthday may be a situation that she may not be feeling very joyous.. You’ll get through this .

  106. GaryK says:

    Hi Ron
    Sorry for your loss and only into this 6 months is tough. Glad your journaling as I started this about 30 days after my son passed as well and it really helps to write your emotions down or I use it to talkt o my son or god or just feelings I have from day to day. Also if I experience something from a dream, a vision or something where I felt his presences….The journey is never easy with your loss, but I also went to a greiving class put on by our church and its done by peope who also have lost a loved one or child and that was a big help as well to let you know you are not alone in this process. I pray for you and your family and that your healing continues…..

  107. Ron says:

    Yesterday was six months since Cooper died. I stayed home yesterday morning and went to work in the afternoon. I didn’t want to go to work but had to. I wrote my feelings down in journal I’ve been keeping. I don’t write in it often but whe I do it does seem to help. My emotions run the gamut from angry to guilty to sad to accepting and back again. I just miss him so much. I try to remember him healthy and happy and all the wonderful time we had but what keeps coming up is the last six months as he declined and especially the last three days.
    I appreciate everyone here and get hope from the other posts that I’m not alone and my feelings are ok
    Peace to you all

  108. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    Doug I understand what you mean. I went back to work two weeks after my Sophia passed away at six weeks old. People were telling me that I would feel better with time and some people asked me why I had gone back to work only after two weeks. I went back to work because I had nothing else to do. I didn’t want to be at home thinking of what had happened to me. I needed to stay busy. I’m sorry to say this, but it will never get better. People still ask me how I feel, eight months later, and I got tired of telling them that I feel fine, so I just don’t answer their question. They know that I am not fine and that I am not happy.

  109. GaryK says:

    Hi Doug;
    First I am sorry for you and your wife and families loss; 2 weeks and back to work is very tough and will be tough to deal with as you will be in no shape to deal with work items. I can only suggest to talk to your boss or owner ASAP and explain your grieving is what I would suggest. Dont do anything foolish for the first year as your mind is in a place that will make bad decsions and later you may regret them. Maybe you could ask for a longer leave of absence if possible. Glad you have your faith as that is what helped me and my family to get through our loss, but it is and will be very very hard for a long time. Im sorry and my prayer is with you and your family.

    • Grieving Dads says:


      I agree 100% with your comments. Yes Doug, I too recommend you speak to you boss/HR personal about your pain. I dreaded that conversation with my boss and his boss but once I had it, it felt like the pressure had been lifted off of me. Not sure if you work for a company with 50 or more employees, but if you do, you can take time off for 12 weeks of unpaid time without the worry of losing you job as long as you apply for Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Your Dr. will need to say you are to depressed from the grief to work right now and that the time away is needed for health reasons. Some Dr’s will do it, some wont. Find one that will. And yes, do not make any major life decision for at least 12-18 months and even then be careful. Its easy to get pissed off at work and tell everyone to go to hell and quit, but finding a new job and starting at a new place is very stressful on top of the stress you already have.



    • Matt L says:

      I also agree with Gary and Kelly. My old company allowed 5 days of bereavement leave. Hardly enough time to swallow the word “bereavement” let alone do all the “shit” a dad needs to do in preparation for memorial services.

      My old boss said I could take as much time as possible, but I went back to work after 2 weeks. I tried to pretend to be normal…. It didn’t work. I would have taken advantage of our federal laws and used my FMLA under mental illness (depression). However, God had a plan and that wasn’t part of it.

      Be open and honest with your boss at work. He/she may not realize the intensity of the grief we experience and that might be difficult to accept at first.

      BTW, I’m 2+ years since Riley died at 20 days old and I’ve been unemployed (layoff) since Feb 2013. It’s been a rough 2+ years…. We are here for you!


  110. Kirk says:

    Guys, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the support. I find myself having panic attacks when the thoughts pops in my head that it will be 1 whole year. Of course I feel bad for us but I continually find myself feeling for her friends and how much she is missed by them. We continue to see her friends and their parents which seems to be very healing to us. They have been very supportive and I hope it will remain that way. As this day approaches I have these visions of that terrible night, the cpr being done and the work being done on the er table. Makes me want to be sick. No parent should ever have to see that. It still seems surreal and although I know she won’t be coming back i sure as hell want her to, as any parent does. I even think crazy thoughts like if there were life on other planets and they were able to travel and manipulate time I would want to meet them and i would beg for them to take me back so I can change the circumstances. My wife truly believes that if it had to happen maybe this was the most gentle way it could to accept it. Her faith is much stronger than myself and I am glad there were no other injuries to other people. I think of the numerous ways she could have died and not that I ever wanted it to happen this was quick and Im assured that she felt no pain. This doesn’t make me feel any better. I look at her picture every day and wonder all the things each of us do. What would she look like right now, how tall would she be, what activities would she be doing. Back to the anniversary, I want to be strong for the people who come to remember her but I guess it will be what it is.

    • Steven Henry says:


      I don’t ever want to recommend drugs where they might not be needed. (You know a but is coming.) But, I started getting really bad panic attacks 11 months after Jake and Stephy were killed. I took Celexa (anti-depressant) and Xanax for a year and a half. For the time that I was on them, they helped. I am off the Celexa since this summer, and very rarely take a Xanax for panic attacks. I went a couple of months without any Xanax, and then late last week had to take one for Anxiety I was feeling at work. I know that the Xanax is there to help if I need it, and I don’t need to take it regularly. I suppose that beats other self-medication. I used to drink once in awhile. It was not until a year had passed that we learned that the kids were killed by a drunk driver. I took a personal vow to never drink again as a memorial to honor their memory. I quit smoking in 1999. Xanax is the next best thing.

      One other thing that has helped me imeasurably. In 2010, the year the kids were killed, I started running at age 49. The running has helped me in tons of ways to keep on a more solid mental track. I don’t know what it is about the running that does this, but I have seen comments from many people who talk about the benefits for them, as well. Walking does this too, but I get more out of running.

      Prayers for you during this challenging time!

      • Kelly says:

        Steven – I agree with you, antidepressants can certainly play a role in coping with this pain in smaller doses. I was overwhelmed by the thoughts that played through my head like the shuffling of cards, I needed a way to slow them down and take only a couple at a time to process. The meds helped me greatly with that. I have a tendency to process my thoughts over and over again until I can be at peace with them in some way. I used meds, counseling, group support, faith, physical activity to help me through. Running and biking is something I still do today to help me get outside and process my thoughts.

        Thanks for sharing your experience.


    • Grieving Dads says:


      Unfortunately, the panic attacks are all part of this horrific journey. The crazy thoughts and panic attacks go back to what I talk about in my book regarding trauma. You were there, you witnessed it, your nervous system was dealt a major blow as a result. You are correct, no parent should ever have to see what many of us see. But we have and we must be kind to ourselves and cut ourselves some slack. There is still probably elements of PTSD still lingering.

      As far as being strong for the others that come to remember her, you don’t have to do that nor should you expect yourself to do that. I will say 6 words that my counselor said to me, “let it be what it is”. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to step outside, step outside. Sometimes the anticipation of the day is worse because we put expectations on ourselves on how “we should” react. There are no “should” unless we place them there ourselves.

      Wishing you peace as the day arrives. Call me if you need to talk, you have my cell or you can find it on my webpage. I am here brother.


  111. Steven C says:

    Hi Kirk.
    So sorry for you loss. The 1st anniversary does bring back memories. At least it did for me. I didn’t remember much of the funeral for a long time but it comes back piece by piece over time. Even now I recall some memories. Don’t be afraid to show your emotions my friend. Everyone understands it is difficult. Also remember that some people feel the need to say something to you and some of it may not be what you want to hear. They don’t mean to be insensitive.

  112. Steven C says:

    Yeah is is very difficult as it gets closer to the Anniversary. The whole month of October is like a living hell for my wife and I. My Danielle passed away on Halloween night so of course everyone remembers the day of her passing. No one seems to remember her Birthday. As hard as it is trying to go out trick or treating with my children we still do and of course some people will mention her while out trick or treating with the kids. I don’t know. To me it is insenseitive.

    As a Father who has had 13 Anniversaries I can say, in my experience, some are harder then others. I am not sure why tho. I run a Wheel Loader in a pipe yard for a living. Last year I had to shut down my loader to break down. I don’t know what happened. This year was better. I got through the month without having a breakdown.

    The work place can be a challenge sometimes. Most everyone know me to the point where they are like family to me and they know why I am. I confronted my crew and told them I may look as if I am in a bad mood so just ignore it. one do them said we know why and it OK. That was nice for me. They’ll stop and ask me randomly if I’m doing ok. There was the day I was pulled in the office because it seemed my attitude was not what it was normally! how do you explain that to your boss? I didn’t. I told him I am under stress. I wasn’t a big deal but slightly stressful.
    As hard as this is for all of us I hope it makes it a little easier to know that there is always someone we can talk to or in this case type out our feelings to. I know it is comforting to me. I have never had an opportunity like this to talk to another fathers so I thank you all.

  113. Doug says:

    Tomorrow will be my first day back to work since our 5yr old son passed away in his sleep two weeks ago. I am really not looking forward to it and quite honestly I want to just quit and not work again. I am just not looking forward to all of the questions and having to start all over again with the answers. I do love where I work and they have been very supportive but I really don’t want to be around people.

    We went to church this morning and I was doing okay until I looked up. There, on the ceiling was the Elmo balloon that I accidentally let go of two weeks prior during his celebration of life service. We have a strong faith in God and that is really the only thing that has given me the strength to carry on. We all know how difficult it is for grieving dads and I am so thankful for this site.

    • Grieving Dads says:

      Doug – I am sorry for the late response to your posting. I hope you were able to survive your first day back to work yesterday. Its always tough to face people after the loss. Especially people that know the professional side of you. Part of that for me was the fact I didn’t want them to see the side of me that was hurting out of fear of being “vulnerable”. I know I would break down if someone asked me how I was doing or if they said “I’m sorry”.

      Hang on to your faith, I didn’t have that early on, but found it later on. It helped me get through the day. There were weeks where I would go to several services a week. I would find various churches in my area that would have a Monday night, Wednesday night or Sunday night and I would go. I found peace there although I would say I am not a “religious” person. I am a believer, but not a huge fan of organized religion for many reasons. But I did find solace spending time with others that were hurting in some way.

      Wishing you peace. Glad you found this website and please stop by to share/vent anytime. Someone is usually around.


  114. Kirk says:

    She’s not coming home! Although I know she will never walk through the door its still hard to believe. Its been nearly a year since the accident and as that anniversary quickly approaches I find it getting increasingly difficult. It feel like im going to hit the wall and there isnt a damn thing I can do to stop it. I know everyone says “do the best you can” and “theres no wrong way to grieve” but I’m just getting so tired of feeling this pain. Now don’t misunderstand that last statement because I plan to be here for my wife as long as I can. I also promised Ashlyn that I would never leave her mom. I really want to feel better but I feel like there is a thousand pounds on my chest.

    I have to plan a get together for the anniversary and I feel like Im planning her funeral all over again(not that I can remember the details all that well). I do want to have her remembered but I also dont want to be a puddle of tears either. She deserves to be remembered and I want to do everything I can to see that she is. I am running a gamut of emotions and all I can do is vent and tell you guys how I feel. I have increasingly been reliving that night and the details and that sucks. Well, thanks guys for listening.

    • Dave Contreras says:

      I have been through two Angelversaries for my son Nick with the third i
      coming in January. The second was easier than the first but I never expect it not to hurt. We would not be human if we did not care enough to hurt and cry. I am praying for you and your wife. As you said do it for your daughter so people will remember how she lived. God bless you.

    • Steven Henry says:

      Kirk, the anniversaries are always difficult. We just past #3 for our Jacob and his Stephanie. I tend to be extra worked up for several weeks leading up to the anniversary. For me, and I understand for many, the anticipation of the anniversary is worse than the anniversary itself. Then, once the anniversary is past, there is a re-settlement into the new normal. For me, the most important thing to do on the anniversary is to find a meaningful way to honor the memory of our loved ones. It does not have to be fancy. A contribution to a charity that they would have liked, a random act of kindness, etc. Be encouraged! Prayers for your peace.

      • Kelly says:

        Steve – I have found that making a contribution (time or money) to a charity has worked wonders for me. This project and book has been my therapy. General “random acts of kindness” in honor of our children is a powerful coping tool.

        I am coming up on 9th anniversary of my daughter Katie on Nov 12th. Cant believe its been 9 years. Although I mentally feel better, it never leaves you.



  115. as a bookseller and a small press publisher, i trust that your book has gone very well.

    as the dad of a stillborn girl, i take my hat off to your website and heartfelt book.

    i trust that you got on to a good number of radio and tv stations.

    all the best from Ireland

    • Grieving Dads says:

      Louis –

      Thanks for the note. The book has done better in helping others than it has in sales, but I didn’t do it for the money. I trust that the people that need it will find it. However, I know there are grieving dads around the world that could still use it as a resource. I have done a few radio stations, but I find that most don’t want to address such a difficult subject. Not exactly a subject that gets everyone excited to tune in unless you yourself works with grieving dads or are also one.

      Wishing you peace.


  116. Bruce Welsh says:

    Kirk and Steve,

    I too returned to work about 2 weeks after my Matt died. Like you I heard all the “encouragement” form my management like, “if you keep your self busy it will be easier”. I stayed at that job for a year after, not sure how though.

    I recently found another job and it has made a world of difference. Only a few people at the new job know that I lost a son.

    What I’m trying to say is that there is hope. You will always grieve and miss your child but little by little you can piece the other parts of your life back together. It will never be the same, but you can do it little by little. Cut yourself a little slack and take the time that you need. Only YOU know what that time frame will be.


  117. Joseph Wolters says:

    I feel you brother the last week has been very hard. Though someone told me yesterday that helped a bit they asked my would my daughter want me to live like this. Well my answer is no she wouldn’t. That’s all I have since I’m still hurting badly too hope it helps.

  118. Kirk says:

    Well its halloween and it was a tough day. Ive been training in a new job and couldn’t comprehend shit. My mind kept going back to all the time I spent with Ashlyn getting ready for halloween. Ash’s best friend borrowed her costume from last hear. She showed up at the house. I got a picture of her and i cried. then walking the dog seeing kids out and it rained down again from my eyes. Life isn’t fair that i know. I hurt every day and I just don’t know.

    • Steven Henry says:

      I understand, Kirk, and wish you the best with your training. I started at new job in February, and knew by March that I had made a mistake in taking it. I don’t know if I’ll ever be happy in a job again. I left the job I had been in, because the CEO kept telling me that I should be ‘over it”, and to “stop looking out the window”. I am 3 years out from when my Jacob, and his Stephanie were killed by a drunk driver. Jake was 2 weeks shy of his 22nd birthday. He had dated Stephy since 5th grade. She was very much like a daughter to us.

      I mostly remember Jake as a big kid, but he used to dress up in costume very early in the afternoon on Halloween, and couldn’t wait for me to get home from work. Some of my best “early” memories of him are of Halloweeen. It is a very difficult day. Some holidays are worse than others. Jake was born on Oct 24 (this year would have been 25), was killed on Oct 10, 2010, This has just been a rough month.

      Kirk, hang in there at work. Realize that focus comes and goes, if you are aware that you will have times where focus slips, have “tricks” up your sleeve, like going to the men’s room, getting coffee, etc. Just doing something else for a minute sometimes helps get the focus back. I still struggle with focus, and know exactly what you are talking about.

  119. Kirk says:

    Glad you found this site. I hate we are all here and have been living a life of sorrow. I hope to someday find some peace and hope you will to. My daughter was 8 when we lost her last year and not a day no moment goes by that I don’t think about her. Kelly is right about this loss taking you to the brink. I hope i can find my way back.

  120. Steven C says:

    Hey guys. I am glad I came across this support page for Dads. It is true what some say when they say showing grief is sometimes harder for us fathers.
    I find it difficult in a work environment sometimes when others ask why I am in a “bad mood”. Its not a bad mood. It is often just me thinking of my baby girl.
    My baby girl was only mine for 6 days but I miss her the same today, 13 years later, as I did back then. It don’t get any easier! There will always be a hold in my heart. I have a tattoo of her on my arm to keep her as close to me as possible. It comforts me sometimes to look at her face. Sometimes it just makes me sad. Either way I am glad I done it. It is my way of keeping her close to me.
    Thank you again for doing this.

  121. Joseph Wolters says:

    Thanks Bruce

    I reached out to them and have yet to get a reply it was a rant earlier sorry about that but I’m tired of not being able to get a response it is bad that I have to show anger to get any response.


    • Steven Henry says:


      I know that there is nothing more frustrating than feeling like you are not being heard. I’m just a grieving dad like so many others here. I am going to make an effort to come here more often and hang out. I offer nothing more than a shoulder to lean on, and often times, I need a shoulder myself. I am 3 years down this journey.

  122. Kirk says:

    Bruce is right. I go to the compassionate friends and its been a life saver. No one understands what this is like like the people who are going through this like we are. Im sorry no one got back to you. Some weeks are harder than others. Ive met quite a few guys here that have been very supportive. Im learning that there is no going over, below or around grief it has to be gone strait through. No shortcuts no quick ill feel better tomorrow but slothing through the most inhospitable mental quagmire in our minds, ‘these feelings the gut wrenching , pain in the back and chest up to your heart thats already broken aand battered and able to holf od. I too have gone through a couple of jobs. Ill try to be here for anyone who shows up here.

  123. Joseph Wolters says:

    I have had an extremely hard time in my recent life. Since the death of my daughter Shayla to a freak accident caused by my own hands I can no longer gain traction in my own life. I didn’t work for months after the incidint as I had resigned from my position I currently started work this month and requested sons bday of and was told no. I feel as if I should quit because why should I work with a company who doesn’t allow to spend time with my children I have learned there is nothing more important in life than family I can care less about what they think or what anyone thinks my kids are everything and it took the loss of my daughter to realize this am I wrong for felling this way? Am I demanding to much for them to see what I want? I have drug myself from what was a black hole filled with drugs and alcohol for what to work for people who don’t give a shit and are just worried about working someone else overtime this is bullshit and I feel I’m taking steps back in my progression.

    • Joseph Wolters says:

      Sorry for the bad grammar I’m on my phone

      • Joseph Wolters says:

        Wow I try to reach out for some kind of guidence for my situation and get no replies. Im glad there is a great place for support here and I reached out to a couple of support centers and am getting nothing back. Your book talks a lot about helping and allowing people to help you well I’m asking and needing guidence and I am not getting any thanks for solidifying my place at this so called rock bottom you so casually throw around in your book. Awesome support.

      • Bruce Welsh says:


        I’m sorry no one replied to your post. We are not trained professionals, but just grieving Fathers just like you.

        I’m sorry that you are grieving. We all grieve in different ways and like I said I’m not a trained professional to guide you. What I can say is that I can tell you some things that have worked for me, even if it was comforting a bit.

        When I lost my son, I was in a fog for the first several months. I was mad. I was mad at myself, mad at God, just mad. I rejected anything that was the least bit “happy” I thought since my son was no longer here to enjoy things that I wasn’t going to enjoy things.

        One thought that helped me was one day I thought, what if it was me that died. How wold I want my son to live his life? I’d want him to be happy.

        Of course I still miss him every hour of every day.

        The other thing I found comfort in was talking to other bereaved parents. I went to meeting run by The Compassionate Friends. They are a nation wide organization made up of other bereaved parents that have local chapters through out the country. I would strongly urge that you see if there is a chapter in your area. You can go there and talk, listen whatever you want.

        They have a local chapter lookup by zip code on their website.

        Again, I’m sorry that you are feeling so bad. Each one of us has gone through are own grief in our on way. You have to grieve the way you want to, don’t let anyone tell you how to or how long to grieve.

        Hope you find your peace.


      • Grieving Dads says:

        Joe – Here is my personal cell phone 630-561-5989. Call me if you would like to speak. Sorry I was not able to respond as quickly as you needed. I work a full time job, but I truly understand the panic and dire need to speak to someone who gets it. Peace.

        Kelly Farley

      • Matt L says:


        You have every right to every feeling you have. I understand some of the frustration you were feeling. I myself wish I could express anger, but I bottle it up and it rears its ugly head in other fashions. I have no one to blame for my daughters death, but God. I love God, but I dislike what He has allowed to happen. I am not an angry person by nature, so expressing that anger usually comes in the form of journal writing.

        As Kelly stated, reach out to him anytime. I have done so on a few occasions. He is a good guy and a great resource to relate with.
        Not sure if you have tried individual therapy, but don’t rule out counseling either, it has helped me tremendously. Your friends and family will notice the change before you do, so stick with it even when you don’t feel like it.

        Thank you for being open and sharing your thoughts and feelings.


  124. Kirk says:

    Ive been really having a very hard time. As I near the 1st anniversary of the loss of Ashlyn ive spiraled down and lost any ground that I thought I had made. Since her passing Ive changed jobs twice. The first just didnt work out with the new owners of the company and the newest job Im in my second week. Training is so difficult, difficult to concentrate, to retain information. Im supposed to be learning some technical program and all I can think about is how much I miss my daughter. Im not sure if I can do this or not. Then there is the anger i feel about the accident. Ive seen so many cars that were far worse where everyone walked away and I have to lose her in a freak accident that wasnt that bad.

    I know this anniversary is probably one that will impact me terribly and as for holidays ….I could give a shit!. Ive got family members who dont even acknowledge Ashlyns existance and one of them was her baptism sponsor. What Id like to do to him. Im not strong Im very emotional. Ive been trying to meet this grief head on and I think Im totaled by the collision. Feeling lost and alone right now. Ive thought of ..well you know but in the end I want to maximize the possibility of seeing her again so that option is off the table. I cant stand listening to science programs that speak of evolution cause I want to believe in God and Jesus and that Ashlyn is somehow someway with me. Im such a mess.

  125. Doug Morris says:

    Our son passed away in his sleep early on a Saturday morning. I noticed almost immediately the love and support my wife would get from her female friends but I kind of felt hung out to dry. Yeah I would get the proverbial head nod and an, “I’m sorry man!” But I wanted, no, needed more. I researched and discovered I was not a man alone in this endeavor. I posted this on FB about grief and I hope the link works for you to read.

    We men really do need to get over that macho thing and freaking give a brotha a hug!!

    • Kirk says:

      I know what you mean. I was in the beginning supported by my coworkers of 171/2 years and our neighbors and her friends. Their life goes on and ours is in a holding pattern. Ive found that the most support I have gotten is from here and compassionate friends. Nope your not a man alone, we are the walking wounded.

  126. Kent says:

    I don’t know if any of the special dates that we keep get easier. It’s been 5 years for me now and I’m coming to a point of being OK with not having my son in my life. But there are day and times when I sob from my core because I miss my son.

    In the same vain. In coming to piece my anger against God is coming to a end and I am starting to praise him again.


  127. Kirk says:


    That poem is great and sums up my feelings. Thank you for posting it.

  128. John Reed says:

    I lost my nineteen year old son to an accident three and a half years ago. I’ve never considered myself as a writer, but I wrote a poem recently that I want to share. It’s a poem from me to anyone who’s lost a child. I hope that it can bring comfort to someone, if nothing more than to let them know that there are others out there who share these feelings. My son’s name was Duncan.

    I would offer to do anything for you
    But I know that there’s nothing to do
    I could speak to you words of encouragement
    But I know that there are none for you

    I could sit quietly by in the distance
    Knowing that you feel only pain
    I could come wrap my arms tight around you
    But the hurt for us both will remain

    The teardrops will fall as expected
    With doubts that they’ll ever stop
    The knot in your throat will grow stronger
    Your heartache will rise to the top

    There are years left before us still ticking
    The pendulum of time will not cease
    The answer will surely allude us
    The question is ‘can we find peace?’

    There’s nothing like losing a child
    It’s a place gracefully few of us go
    And unless you’ve walked down that long mile
    It’s a feeling that you’ll never know

    Thoughts left unspoken are frozen
    Dreams disappear as does snow
    To wrap our arms once more around them
    Is a feeling no more that we’ll know

    Gone are the hopes for the future
    Time both flies by and stands still
    Memories of past are the comfort
    That we hold for our hearts to be filled

    I know that my child is in Heaven
    Without which I could not bear
    And as time drags on slowly without him
    My hope is that soon I’ll be there

    I don’t want to leave from this earth
    And not that I no longer care
    But should I hear the footsteps of God
    Death I no longer beware

  129. Kent says:

    Today was Chris’ birthday. My wife and spent the morning walking in the woods shooting squirrels at my brother-in-laws cabin, Chris’ favorite past time.

    • Damien says:

      It was my sons birthday last month and 4 years on it was the toughest yet. But just taking the time for a bit of reflection on the joy and love he brought into the lives of my family however brief it was made an otherwise heartbreaking day easier. I hope you were able to find a little solace in your Chris time today.

  130. Damien says:

    Today is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day and I would just like to send out my prayers and thoughts to all of you directly affected and all of you who have said goodbye to a child way to early. I hope you are able to find some moment of peace in rememembering your beautiful child.

  131. Bruce says:

    I don’t know how to manage my feelings anymore. Over the weekend, my wife told me that her friend’s 12 year old daughter’s been diagnosed with autism. The girl has been friends with my 12 year-old daughter for a number of years and although my wife says her mother is devastated, I can’t imagine how she can be surprised. What really gets me is that her daughter will live a full life with autism, this is more than my son was able to live with his disabilities as he would now be 19, but left this earth 2 years ago on November 18th. I used to have more compassion for those facing challenges with their children, but I now feel that other’s problems can be petty when their own personal expectations are not met. I understand the mother has to go through the acceptance process as we did when Josh was diagnosed with a rare disease almost eleven years ago, but we were faced with the real likelihood and eventual reality that his life would be a short one. Four years ago, before Josh became weak and we began to realize we did not have a lot of time, I would have felt differently, but now I’m finding it difficult to relate to others that have no concept of the magnitude of loss, hurt and emptiness that comes with losing a child. I’m not as patient as I used to be with others. I’m becoming cranky and short-tempered. I guess this is some of the anger stuff one goes through. All is intensified as we approach the 2-year anniversary of Josh’s passing. At times, I feel I’m getting a handle on things, and then the feelings of loss only get harder.

    • rj says:

      Bruce wrote “I used to have more compassion for those facing challenges with their children, but I now feel that other’s problems can be petty when their own personal expectations are not met. I understand the mother has to go through the acceptance process as we did when Josh was diagnosed with a rare disease almost eleven years ago, but we were faced with the real likelihood and eventual reality that his life would be a short one. Four years ago, before Josh became weak and we began to realize we did not have a lot of time, I would have felt differently, but now I’m finding it difficult to relate to others that have no concept of the magnitude of loss, hurt and emptiness that comes with losing a child. I’m not as patient as I used to be with others. I’m becoming cranky and short-tempered.”

      I’m there too friend. It has been only 5 months since my son Cooper died due to brain tumor. He should be going off to college now. All his classmates that are and whose parents are ‘crying ‘ they miss their kids so much.

      Hell I wish Cooper was having the experience of college. I wish I could talk to him again. I wish he was coming home for Christmas. Why can’t they be joyful that their child is getting to go to college and grow into adulthood.

      I have little tolerance for much anymore and I too am more irritable and less patient with others.

      peace brother

  132. Kirk says:

    Read the book its very helpful so is this website. I often wonder if my daughter knew her time was short. The night she died she told her mom that although she likes the presents and all its really all about Jesus. I can’t wait to meet Jesus and God. Crazy thinking for an 8 year old. Little did I know in an hour and a half later she would be gone. Holidays for us now are very difficult and we only do whats comfortable. Last year we spent Thanksgiving at the Cemetery and our Church. We tried to go to family for Christmas but ended up in the cemetery with our daughter. We all have these memories and have family that will never understand what we are going through. I understand friends not knowing what to say to us but they avoid us and thats sad. We are making new friends, friends who themselves have lost a child. Im glad your here.

  133. Dave Contreras says:

    I have had dreams of my son before. Usually after I have been deep in thought about him. Feeling guilt, hopeless, just missing him. And each time he seemed to be telling me what your daughter is telling you. So yes, she is telling you she is okay. She loves you. You are a wonderful daddy still trying to take care of her. She is okay. God will take care of her until she sees you again. She is okay. So are you.

    • Kirk says:

      Thanks Dave,
      It means a lot to me to have the support of fellow dads. I never dreamed in my wildest dreams that I would lose Ash at only 8. The 21st is her Birthday and I dont know how i am going to deal with that. Im starting a new job that day as well. I know deep down inside she is ok and is watching over me. I somehow feel i let her down and should have changed the circumstances the night she died. I guess she was saying that I couldn’t.

  134. Kirk says:

    Im not sure if this was a nightmare or a message. I was dreaming I pulled my daughter out of the car she had the accident in and was doing CPR. While I was doing CPR at the same time my daughter was next to me and said “dad it’s not my heart. There was nothing you could do” . I was sobbing uncontrollably then I woke up. In reality I was there right after they got her out of the car and CPR was already being performed. It’s had me emotional all day. Was she saying i couldnt fix this? was she telling me she is ok?

  135. Kent says:

    July 15 2008 is the day that my life changed, my heart broke and I thought life was over. The day my son died while we (as a family) were traveling home from vacation.

    I have only taken quick looks at the “Grieving Dads” site over the years. Every time that I have started to read the stories they hit too close to home and the heart. Leaving me in tears. I even have Kelly’s book that I have yet to read.

    My son was my best friend. He was growing into a young man and the dynamics between us was changing from being a the one to set the rules to sitting together and just eating ice cream and him telling me of his day. We had dreams together, building a business together when he was done school. In my head I was already seeing us out hunting with him and his son. Now all that is just not going to happen.

    I miss the times that we worked together, the walks and times we spent talking while hunting or going to archery shoots. The time that we spent in the car traveling for lacrosse gave us uninterrupted time. Moments that I wish I still had.

    Losing Chris has been an event that all the family (grandparents, uncles,aunts, cousins) feels. Holidays were a time that every one came together and fun was had by all. Now, the holidays are some thing where most of the family tries to be somewhere else. We as a unit are broken.

    Growing my childhood was not great (not as bad as others I know). Raising my family to break the cycle, to be close to each other, to have trust and love in each other. Those were goals that I had and they were coming. Being the Father to Chris that I never had was a sort of therapy for me. Now my wife and I have one daughter and until just last month when she worked a shut down at the mill where I am a supervisor there was conflict for the last couple of years. She had the pleasure of working 19, 12hrs night shifts in a row. Even though she is a good kid and she grew up quickly from the accident, working in a industrial setting has grown her up more and has given her a new appreciation for what has been given her. She is university bound and our home is going to become quieter then it is now.

    This October our son would have been 20 years old. I have no new stories to tell of my son with other fathers. His goals and loves died 5 yrs ago on the side of a road and our lives to change to a new state of “normal”. We wear our masks when out with others and try to cope with each day. My wife has it doubly hard as she has to deal injuries from the accident which limit her even more.

    After losing our first child the day after she was born in 1991. We had wrongly thought that we had “paid our dues” and never thought that we would lose another child. This was what had brought us to take all the time we could with our kids. To cherish the little thing in raising our kids(instead of being mad that they weren’t sleeping, we’d go for a truck drive in the middle of the night). In short we were starting to living a fairy tale life. I say starting because my wife was at the point were life was looking good from losing Sarah. But then our world was taken out from under our feet with the death of Chris. Five years it has been, looking at pictures still breaks my heart, thinking about him still brings tears to my eyes.

    We had always been complimented on our kids, behaved, polite, looked after smaller kids, ect. But in the last few month a lot of the parents that were around us in lacrosse hit it home for us on how good Chris was. It wasn’t until a couple of months after Chris’ death that his Sunday school teacher shared with a question he put to the class and the response he got. The question put forward was “which of you would die to shave another”. While the others in the class were joking that they would let “Jimmy” die for them, Chris sat there and then quietly said “I would”. The rest of the class went still. When you start hearing stories like that about your child, you wonder why this would happen even more. There is a trophy given out at the archery shoot in his name. It doesn’t go to the best score. It goes to a teen who has shown integrity that is voted on by the directors. Also the lacrosse tournament held in our city has been named after him.

    I have always said never make some bigger in death then they were in life. My son was already better then me as a teen and I was looking forward to seeing the man he would become. Now I get to live in memories.


    • Grieving Dads says:

      Hey Kent, glad your here. Not surprised you haven’t read the book yet, its hard to read those stories. However, I know your involvement in the book has had great impact on others. Thank you for allowing you story to be told so others can not feel so alone.

      Wishing you peace brother.


  136. Joe Slifka says:

    Our rainbow baby was born yesterday. After 37 weeks and 1 day, doc says there might be some health issues coming up, let’s deliver now and all will be well. Tonight, she sleeps peacefully as my wife recuperates, both in perfect health. God is good.

    Across the hall from us during check in was a door with the same sign on it that we had last May. The father across the hall lost his son in almost the identical way my Sophia was stillborn; in perfect condition and no obvious signs of a problem.

    I am overjoyed for the birth of my daughter, yet I find myself literally crying, knowing the journey this father must now embark upon.

    I’ve reached out, spoke with him briefly, and just sent over a four page card I wrote with a small guardian angel token I bought shortly after Sophie died. I told him I used it not as a reminder of my daughter, but as a token to remind me to honor my child, protect her, and live each day to bring glory to her legacy. I hoped he would use it to find some inner peace along his journey. I fear my words may not have been the best, but in the rawness of grief, are there any that are?

  137. susan m tangaro says:

    I wish someone could help my husband to move forward he can’t seem to get past the loss of our daughter Susan..At one ponit i thought I thought i was going to loose him he truely thought he had the answer to bring her back to life..The other day her told me the only time he can find peace is when he is in the arms of the angels..Any help you can give me to be able to help him would be greatly appreciated..Thank you God Bless

    • Grieving Dads says:


      I know you mentioned you were going to read my book to him. It could be a good start, knowing he is not alone. This journey makes one see and do things differently than we normally would have. It breaks my heart to read this because I can hear/feel his pain through your words. To the average person, to read “he truly thought he had the answer to bring her back to life” they would think he was nuts, but a bereaved parent reads it and understands the depth of this pain.



    • Bill says:

      Hi Susan,

      I see Kelly replied to you and Kelly has replied also with me and many others to try and help and I am if he does not mind would like to call him my friend and one of the good people in my life. I have been watching my 33 year old only daughter dying with a brain tumor for nine months now and I cry every day and when Carrie leaves me I will cry everyday after for the rest of my life.I have a wonderful wife and two sons aged 21 and 25 and I know they need me but my life Susan has been over in truth when Carrie was first diagnosed nine months ago and how I am still here God only knows. Life has no meaning anymore and like yourself Susan my wife has and is trying to help me but my grief is just too much to bear some times and I have to fight my demons everyday and that is what your husband is having to do also I believe. Carrie has always been my angel and we are/was like two peas in a pod and she is definitely a chip off her Dad’s shoulders.

      Kind Regards.

  138. susan m tangaro says:

    Hello a friend told me about your book and thought I might like to read my husband. He has never been the same since our daughter Susan was killed on July 12, 2008 (motor cycle accident) it still seems so unbelieveable to us both and her siblings. Susan left a 10 year old son Stefano Our hearts were broken to say the least , especially since we were not there when she passed. She lived 5 hours away..Ever since that day very strange things have been happening around our house..That helps us to know she is still around us.

    • Grieving Dads says:


      I am so very sorry for the loss of your daughter Susan. It is hard to keep living after such a loss, but to know she is still around you and doing “strange” things is comforting. Hang on to those moments.

      Wishing you and your husband peace.


  139. This Path
    These shoes I would gladly give up
    Let this path go unexplored
    Let other pilgrims joined in grief, pass me by
    Let me walk back to the earthly light where you still took in life’s breath
    But I can not, it is not allowed by Chronos or Death
    ~ Martin Connors

  140. Stephanie says:

    I am not a father, but I want to thank each and every one of you for helping me to understand my own father’s struggles over the last 32 years since the lost of his first and only son. I would also like to share a bit of our story.

    My brother, Dustin, was born very early and very small in 1981. He lived for nearly a full 24 hours before my father was faced with the decision to let him go. He had to make the decision alone, because my mother completely disconnected with everything at first.

    My parents went on to have my sister 4 years later and then me another 4 years after that. My father always felt he had to be strong for us and I suppose he did. My mother never dealt with the grief of losing her first child and in the end it cost her the chance at happiness with the two she had with her. I understand that now.

    My father was once again forced to be the strong one when I lost my daughter, Audrey. I was 17 years old and my ex-boyfriend dropped out of the picture mid pregnancy. Fortunately for me, my father was there for me through it all, though I don’t know where he found the strength.

    Audrey was born 8 years ago today. She had several medical issues, but brain damage from a lack of oxygen shortly before birth was the primary concern. She was 15 days old when the doctors determined that the damage was too severe to be “compatible with life.” I was faced with the same decision my father had been forced to make alone so many years before.

    My father helped me pick up the pieces that were left of my life and gave me the strength to finish high school and college. I now understand that he did this while having to relive the horror of losing his son, grieve the loss of his granddaughter, and watch his youngest child struggle with the same deep depression that had destroyed his wife.

    My father is the strongest person I know. He has survived more heartbreaking loss than I could ever endure. I’ve been lost in my own grief and come to feel as though he has somehow moved on, as though that were possible. I thought maybe I just wasn’t as strong as him and that’s why I can’t keep going with the ease he appears to. Only after reading some of the stories on this site did I realize that it isn’t easy. He’s still being strong for me.

    Sorry to be so winded, but it was time for someone to tell our story and I couldn’t hold it back any longer. Thank you all so very much for your words. They have given me the courage to finally talk about our loss with my father again and maybe I can help him as much as he’s helped me.

  141. Jody Vaughn says:

    I am 27 and my son died August 12 2013 and it was a day i never thought me and my wife would go through….My worst nightmare…my sons cord gotvwrapped around his neck and he didnt make it. I was planning the funeral before my precious son was even born…..i miss him everyday…… Every little things i see remind me of him…..i miss my son! Brayden Michael Vaughn angel….

  142. Damien says:

    I am sitting at my desk at lunchtime on my son’s 4th birthday. It is 4 years since I held held his little body in my arms and looked at the tiny little hands that would never squeeze my finger, the little arms that would never wrap around my neck, realising that the only tears that would roll down his cheeks were the tears falling from my eyes at that exact point in time.
    It is strange it has been 4 years and every year we have done something special for our little man, made cakes, visited his memorial, had prayers, talked, cried, mourned and yet this year for whatever reason it has hit me like a truck. Yesterday I went to a toy store and wandered around and yes shed some tears seeing the kites, and the model planes all those things that he and I will never get to share. I even bought him a little wooden train which I gave him this morning.
    Today the hole he has left in my heart seems deeper and bigger than ever.
    I have grieved, seen counsellors talked and shared with my beautiful wife, been blessed with the arrival of wonderful twin boys, and yet this year everyone of those feelings from that tragic day 4 years ago has joined me again this week. So after sitting here at my desk at work wiping away the tears for the 3rd time today I googled 4th anniversary of a child’s death which brought me here. And I read the Dear Hallmark Man poem cried again and thought I need to get this out.
    So thankyou for this avenue to put my thoughts down.
    Kind regards,

    • Grieving Dads says:


      I too have those days and sometimes they come out of no where. I often think about the stuff I would do with my daughter and son. Walks in the park when they were young, teaching them how to ride a bike, teaching them kindness and outreach to others. So many things I wish I could have shared with them. It’s tough stuff my friend, I am glad you found us. Feel free to share here anytime.



      • Damien says:

        Thanks Kelly, stumbling across your project yesterday and just being able to get a little of the hurt on paper (so to speak) really helped. Also helped me realise that a lot of what I was going through yesterday was stemming from the fact my twins birthday is only 2 weeks after Alexander’s and everyone is so focussed on their birthday I felt he was being lost a little.

    • Joe Slifka says:

      My wife and I celebrated out daughter’s birthday on May 29th. She was stillborn at 39 weeks. It was a rough day, but also somewhat therapeutic. We spent time in prayer, celebrating the difference she has made in our lives, and had a balloon release in her honor. Not a day goes by that I don’t look up at the heavens and long to hold her again.

      Last night was a tough one, too. A friend we know had a baby boy a few days after our daughter was stillborn and I saw him for the first time since. He was slobbery, clumsy when he walked, happy when he talked, and just absolutely beautiful. I cried my eyes out later that night knowing that’s how big she’d be and the things she’d be doing.

      I’ve found reading and talking with other dads on this site has helped me cope with this grief, but it is still a day to day process…some days all I want to do is die while others aren’t as bad.

      I look to you and to others who’ve suffered longer than I have for inspiration that we can survive losing a child.

      God Bless,

      • Damien says:

        Thanks Joe, as you will no doubt hear a lot, it is not an easy road nor is it fair that we have to tread it, but you can make it and you don’t have to do it alone.

  143. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    Thank you for the comment Kelly. I’m sorry that you lost your child the same way I lost mine. I feel the same way. I too was born with multiple holes in my heart and just like my daughter, I was born pretermed. I feel responsible for not being able to give my daughter a healthy heart. Sorry again for your lost and thanks to everyone in this site for all of the support. Only you guys understand what I am going through, what we are going through.

  144. Kirk says:

    Wow Bruce!
    I couldn’t agree more. The Work that Kelly has done has been more valuable than ever imagined. None of us ever asked to be in this position and Kelly stepped forward to help all of us in our journey. Im often frustrated by the lack of support for us dads but Ive found support here and met lots of great dads here. Dads who if they hadn’t been here I really do not know where I would be in this process. Thanks

    • Kelly says:

      Kirk – Thank you for the kind words. Its a reminder on why I do what I do. Sometimes I feel like I have said everything I have to say and struggle to write new content. This book/blog has also been part of my healing process.



  145. Bruce Welsh says:

    Your website, your book and your advice has been extremely helpful to me and many bereaved fathers.

    I’m writing today to highlight just how important the work that you’ve done is to all of us.

    Not sure why, but today I Goggled “Mothers that have lost a child”

    I got numerous hits and web sites and blogs come up.

    I then Goggled “Fathers that have lost a child”.

    I got a hit on of course, one on a story written by a bereaved father that had lost his infant child. One hit on a site called Openhope, but it was an article written by you.

    The rest of the hits were things like “Men and abortion”, “divorced fathers”.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that there are resources for bereaved mothers. But I wanted to highlight, what you already know as an absence of resources designed for grieving fathers.

    So again, thank you for making this available to all of us who needed and still need this resource.


    Bruce Welsh

    • Kelly says:


      You are welcome! It is my pleasure to help where I can and to bring awareness to what grieving dads face. My goal is to also let grieving dads know that what they are dealing with is normal and others are feeling the same things.

      Sorry my posts have been few and far between over the last several months, I feel like I repeat myself a lot. If there is a topic you would like me to write about or you would like to send an article on, please let me know. Its not just my blog, its our blog.



  146. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    Found out yesterday that the reason my daughter passed away six weeks after she was born was because her lungs and her heart were not fully developed. It’s four in the morning pacific standard time and I am still unable to fall asleep. It’s been five months since my daughter passed away and I miss her so much.

    • Kelly says:

      Gilberto – I know that feeling all to well. I too found out my son was no developed properly. A heart that holes in all four chambers, arteries coming into the wrong chambers, multiple fingers and toes. A genetic disorder giving to him by me and my wife. Hearing all of these things breaks your heart because you just want to protect them, but you can’t.

      I too miss my two children. In the early days I could physically feel the love and heartbreak. Wishing you peace brother.


  147. Bruce Welsh says:


    The one year anniversary of my son Matt’s death was a few weeks ago.

    We wondered if we were going to do anything on that day.

    Matt’s friends contacted us and asked the same question. So we decided to have a last minute get together. With one day notice, our house was filled with Matt’s friends.

    We of course will never forget Matt. But for these young kids to always remember him is a great tribute to him.

    That the school is doing this in Ashlyns honor I think is a great tribute to her.

  148. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    That’s how I make decisions now. I asked my self what kind of example I would set for Sophia if I took an action that was not morally correct. I wanted her to be a good person, a person that helped others in need.

  149. Kirk says:

    Tomorrow night will be extremely hard. Ashlyns school is dedicating a bench in her honor. Her best friends will be there, her former teachers and countless friends. I am pretty sure I will be asked to share a few words and ill do my best to keep it together but what do you say to all these people who still get to go back to school shopping and get to meet their next years teacher. I want to say “you lucky bastards” and how much I envy them but I won’t. What I will try to say is how honored we are that Ashlyn was thought of so fondly that she was given this tribute that will last for generations to come and how she changed so many lives with her kind spirit and compassion. So I will go with as much courage that I can muster and do my best to remember and make Ashlyn proud of “her daddy”. Just feeling a little scared.

  150. Kirk says:


    So sorry for your loss, but know your not alone. It may seem at times that this only happened to you and you are all alone but we all feel your pain. Im glad you found this website.

  151. Erik says:

    Last year, my wife Becky and I were expecting our first daughter, Doria. She was an amazing surprise to us, since we understood for 10+ years of marriage that having children wasn’t an option.
    We loved the spring and summer getting ready for Doria, until it all changed at our 36 week appointment on August 17, 2012.
    Right after having the “welcome to full term” talk with the doctor, he went to check the heartbeat quickly, and there was none.
    It’s been a year that we’ll never forget!

  152. David says:

    23 months since you left on another sad Saturday night long ago.

    We miss you, Bernie.

    Lady, Lucky and Papa Dave.

  153. Bill says:

    On Monday Bruce my 21 year old son phoned his Mum from his girlfriends and told her he had found a lump on his back near his spine I was absolutely petrified and booked a emergency appointment for the next day at the doctors.His Mum went with him to the appointment and it had more or less disappeared and the doctor thought it could have been associated with the heat of the weather we have been having. I always thought I was a strong willed person Bruce but I am very fearful and constantly worry now over most matters in my life.

  154. BILL says:

    It is so sad Bruce that our life has become so entrenched in fear for our remaining family members.

    • Bruce Welsh says:


      It’s sad, but it is a very natural reaction. The unthinkable has happened to one of our children. So we naturally think it can happen again. And it can, as we have seen on this site that some have lost more than one child. It’s like the most horrendous thing that could happen somehow got worse.

      It’s somewhat comforting to me to think of this as a natural reaction. It gives me a sense of “normal” that I am reacting to something in a natural way.

      As parents I think we always felt that protectiveness, but now that feeling has been magnified.

  155. BILL says:

    Thanks Kelly for your kind words and wisdom as always. Kelly can I purchase your book through Amazon UK


  156. BILL says:

    I have come to the conclusion that my life is over as such and agree with everything concerning feelings of our children of my brothers and sisters on this site. The grief I have has I believe manifested into my mental state that’s not to say I am going mad but can think of nothing else in my life except my daughter even though I have a wife and two sons aged 21 and 25.I now find myself worrying about my wife and sons with what ifs and I am frightened of life itself.

    • Grieving Dads says:

      Bill – Everything you say, I experienced. Fear I was losing my mind, which I think I was before I back away from the brink. I did that by surrendering to this process. Words can’t explain the pain and mental state, you have to live it to fully understand it. You are not alone, many many grieving dads experience the same thing. Not sure if you read my book yet, but may be some insight in there for you to connect with. Please come here anytime.


    • Bruce Welsh says:


      The “What-if” scenarios are very normal. Every time I hear a siren, I text my wife and daughter to see if they are OK.

      This is one of the “things” that have become a part of our new normal.


    • Gary says:

      I’m sorry for your loss and I lost my only son last year in September….I will tell you to simply start out, there is hope….first I would say..get on a antidepressant and stay on it for as long as you need to, try different ones as some will make you tired, some will give you energy, but the goal is to get you body chemistry back in balance from your loss…..from there talk to your family, friends, your best friend, someone that will listen and help you through this process. Faith helps and talk to your daughter or start a journal and write to her, express yourself, but remember there will be many times in this process you will backslide, but also see the simplest things like a laughing….and when you do…it’s the beginning of healing….I also am going to tell you to get into the outdoors, walk, and walk, or workout..even when you don’t want to….push yourself….don’t give up on yourself and the family you still have……you still have your future and your family’s future in front of you….your wife needs you and your sons still need you…..I’ll be thinking of you and praying for you and your family…….

  157. Kirk says:

    First let me say Im sorry for your loss. Im sorry you have to be here but if your here you are now connected with alot of dads who have lost kids. Your so new to this it’s hard to think clearly. I look back on my journey and felt I want to die and that id trade places with my little girl. We have all felt the way you have felt when it comes to losing a child. What you need to know is that your normal. Your thoughts are normal. I (we) got into counseling right away and also got involved with our local Compassionate Friends support group. I cant begin to tell you how that has helped. Then there is this website. Ive made some lifelong friends I can call my brothers in grief on this site. Come back here as often as you need to. One of us will be here.

  158. Joseph Wolters says:

    This my story I have yet to hear one that is similar to mine yet I keep trying to find someone who has had the same thing or anything similar to what happened to me.

    On April 14, 2013 my beautiful daughter Shayla was killed. She was killed by my hand. I had gotten a job as a armored car driver and I had to go to a rang that night to qualify. All of my children were inside so I went to the bedroom to practice holstering and upholstering my weapon. I unloaded the weapon and began to practice I did so for about ten minuets.

    This was a new weapon and it came with holster. I thought to myself since both my handguns are similar in size but not the same maker if it would fit into my holster. So I grabbed the other weapon out of the safe and placed it in the holster. As I drew it out it went off. I knew this one was loaded but I did not plan to practice with it or anything just wanted to see if it fit. I immediately unloaded the weapon and my wife came into the room and said the kids were in the back yard. My heart sank. I ran to the back yard and began calling for my children. I heard the boys upstairs playing. And then I heard it faint breathing from the very back corner of our yard. I ran as fast as I could to her. I yelled back for my wife to call 911 I scrambled to find out if she had a heart beat and if I could find where she was it. I found a heartbeat but not where the bullet had struck her. My military training kicked in and began CPR and continued CPR till the police arrived. The drug me off of her and kept me off to the side. I kept yelling for her to breath and hold on knowing full well with all the blood that she was not going to make it. I didnt even get to go to the hospital to see her. The police immediately took me to the station to and began interrogating me. I was there for a long time before they told me that she was dead. I didnt believe it I began yelling at the Chaplin and calling him a liar. I couldnt stand walk or anything. The police sent me to the hospital for overnight observation. I was released the next day to my parents.

    It has been three months since the incident and I am still stuck in what Kelly calls the Trauma stage. I cant get passed it. I cry when I am alone and people keep telling me I should go to work as it will help with the grief. I cannot at the moment I have days were I feel I can then there are days like today I have not left my room.

    I have spiraled completely out of control. I started drinking really heavily. I seek comfort in anyone who would pay attention to me. And I have begun using not all the time but I have been using. Nothing anyone says can help me manage the pain I feel. I am the cause of my daughters death whether or not it was an accident I still caused it.

    Me and my wife have split up and I am not around my children anymore. I have lost everything and I mean EVERYTHING. I dont care if I live or die and like everyone else I would trade places with her in heartbeat. Ironic I say heartbeat because that is exactly what I took from her and it is what I dont feel inside me anymore. Not only am I not with my wife anymore but she has had to move in with her mother. She cant afford to live anymore on her own. So not only did I take the life of my daughter I have taken everything from her and my other children.

    If anyone knows of anything that I can do help me please I am begging for some guidance.

  159. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    People are selfish. I am selfish. I always put myself first before anyone else. One thing I know for sure and that I learned in my life is that all of us here have someone we would actually put more importance to than ourselves. I found out that I would do anything for my daughter, even letting God take my life instead of hers. I know everyone in here feels the same way I do. I spent the first three months, after my daughter past away, asking God to take my life in exchange for my daughter’s. I still feel the same way. I say who cares what others say or do, just worry about yourself.

  160. nancy says:

    what do you say to your sister when her cat dies and she gets upset when it takes you a couple of days to say i am sorry about you cat? this is the very sister who didn’t come to my side when i lost my 8 yr. old i a car accident. in fact she didn’t come over for 3 yr.s so she was upset that i didn’t email her or call her when her cat died .. i told her where where were you when my daughter died .. she said i was being cruel and i needed to move forward not go back. this is the sister also who never calls a the whole month of the anniversary of my daughters death. she told me that i should “pull out my grief card when people talk about how terrible their life is. she doesn’t want be to look at the owl differently and thinks that my “grief card” should be pulled out…………….it ruined my whole day….how can you be close to family or a friend like this??

    • Matt L says:

      You love them right where they are at. Unfortunately, you can’t expect everyone to understand what it’s like to lose a child. You have to know in your heart, that you can’t even try to explain the loss or hurt you have felt to someone who has chosen or may be in denial that a human loss has occurred.
      I have found that even my own family members don’t bring up or discuss the death of my daughter. It’s not a part of their everyday life. Humans are innately selfish… we look after “me” first, then others secondly. Your sister may not even know how to begin discussing your loss…. losing her cat is as close as it comes for her, but there is NO comparison to losing a pet v. losing a child.

      Like I said, Love people where they are at, not where you expect them to be. It’s not worth fighting over each others loss and the impact of that loss. You know in your heart, what is the truth.

      God Bless,

  161. John McCaffrey says:

    Matt, I’ve always felt the second year was worse then the first. The first year I didn’t know how I would feel on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, birthdays, Fathers Day and Mothers Day, the day my son Kieran died and the day they found his body. The second year I knew and I dreaded those days even more. Sometimes I still dread every day. I think what you’re feeling is quite normal for a grieving parent. I can’t make it better but I can tell you I understand and you are not alone.

  162. Matt L says:

    A lot of anniversaries in a short amount of time… My daughter’s birthday, the day she died, father’s day, and the day of her memorial service…. I have been on quite the roller coaster of emotions with the weekends being better than the weekdays. This year marks 2 years since Riley passed away… i was very aware of each date as it approached, but I completely forgot about the memorial service until my wife reminded me about it. I made it through the 4th of July and felt “normal” until Monday came around….

    I’ve been unemployed since February, so I am sure that is not helping my journey through grief.

    it seems like the 2nd year has been more difficult than the first…. more like I’m actually feeling the loss and the emotions surrounding it..

    Anyone else ever felt like this?

  163. Joe Slifka says:

    I need your prayers…

    My wife is 23 weeks along with our rainbow baby. We’re having another girl. For the last two or three days, she’s been having some lower abdominal pain accompanied by fatigue. She called the doctor today, he’s the on call, not her regular OB, doc says there’s nothing the hospital can do, but if we feel like we need to, we can go to the hospital for them to check. He told her to rest, elevate her feet, and relax. We monitor her blood pressure daily, and there have been no recent spikes. We spent 10 days in the hospital after our Sophia died last year, my wife developed postpartum preeclampsia.

    She’s been sleeping for the last two hours, my inlaws have our two year old. I am going crazy with the same thoughts I had a year ago…this overwhelming sense of helplessness and disbelief and not knowing what is happening. Please pray for health and peace.

  164. Kirk says:

    Last night I had a dream that Ash was back home. I held her and she smiled so beautiful. She was taller than she was but she was still my little girl. My wife said to me “you know in the morning she has to go back” I said Im not going to let her go! I woke up and she was gone and I cried. A week ago we were at a car show. There was a car there like she had liked to have. I went up to the car and looked at the back. There was a Christ fish and the phrase ” the best is yet to come” The next day Michelle was reading a a daily devotional and it said “the best is yet to come”. Message?

  165. David says:

    This the kid who says, ‘Heaven is For Real’:

    Some people don’t agree I know, but I prefer to live in hope.

    Again, a stranger approached me last night in my local and asked if I was Bernie’s dad. He had camped near Bernie in the huge park across the street (and that would have been before I came out west, some three years ago) and had asked about him in the village store. He described Bernie as ‘dedicated’, and also said, ‘he would have given you the shirt off his back’. Good to hear from another stranger.

  166. William. says:

    Gilberto everything you say is true and I also am Catholic and I carry my Mothers rosary beads in whatever jeans or trousers that I wear,and yes I also have to face this existence. I have tried to keep busy with the usual jobs round the house but still find myself continually breaking down but I am going to take your advice and try therapy but in truth I always thought that my wife is as good a councilor as their is but I will try.I am sorry for your loss Gilberto and truly wish we did not have to meet under these circumstances.Thank you.

  167. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    William I know how you feel. I feel like dying everyday and the only reason I haven’t taken my life is because I’m Catholic and I don’t want to be stuck in limbo not being able to see my daughter in heaven. All I can tell you is try to stay busy, I know it is not much advice but it helps me get through the day. The pain will never go away. I’m attending group therapy for bereavement parents and some of the parents in the group have been attending for more than twenty years. They still feel the same horrible way they did when their child passed away. Life is not worse living, but sadly I have no other choice but to live it. Just stay busy.

  168. Martin Connors says:

    You’re welcome. I hope I didn’t sound out of turn on the message I left. Despite our grief we need to know that we can smile again and deserve to tell our pain to take the backseat. Our kids mean the world to us and we face changes every day, some with trepidation – but as Mickey Hirsch said to me in the darkest of my grief “you will learn to smile again one day.” I hope your trip was the beginning of that lesson. Ash was with you for sure!

  169. Kirk says:

    We went on our first vacation since Ashlyn passed away. It was bittersweet but I have to tell this story. We always went to a car show in StPaul MN. in 2010 & 2011 Ash wanted us to build a new Hotrod. I told her to pick out a style she had liked. She picked a 37 Ford for our next project. We bought a project car but didn’t get to far on it before she passed. So I’m walking around at about 7:20 AM and Im drawn to a 37 Ford. As I got to the back of the car there was a message that had a Jesus fish and the the following message “The best is yet to come” I took this as a sign that Ash was with me and sending a message. Then on the way home Michelle pulled out her daily devotional and was reading it and it ended “Then Best is yet to come”. I dont think there is a coincidence . I wasn’t searching for some kind of sign but there it was. I guess I have to finish her car in her honor. I dont know if any of you believe in these things but I find it interesting getting little signs. Id love to post a pic of the message but not sure how on here. Thanks fellow broghery Kelly & Martin for checking in on me, great support.

  170. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    Sorry William for your lost. I know how it feels to want to die everyday. Not wanting to wake up alive so I can be with my daughter in the after life. It’s painful and nothing can describe the pain. I love my daughter very much and I know now that I will never be happy again as long as I live, unless they bring my daughter back to life.

    • William. says:

      Their is not a day goes by that I want to be stronger especially for my family but I cant and I cry every day and when I go to bed I get panic attacks and cant breathe. This is no life but how can I even think of leaving my wife and two sons it is incomprehensible for my thoughts to be even thinking this way. I just feel lifeless and their is no meaning at all to my existence.

  171. David says:

    Miss you, Berns.

    Miss you coming into my room today saying, ‘Bonne Fête des Pères, dad!’

    You have a heart of gold, my Berns.

    ……. and you told your story quietly, and with dignity, to the end.

    God love you always, as we do.

    Going back home on Tuesday night, to our dogs and our gardens.

  172. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    I know how you feel Kirk. Sometimes I feel alone when I drive home and all I can think about is my daughter. I still can’t believe she was taken from me. I also miss her with every fiber of my being. Sometimes I think life is meaning less without our children and I think I’m right. I just finished talking to my dad over the phone and I feel bad because I can’t wish him a happy Father’s Day because I hate Father’s Day. Not because I hate my father, but because I hate not being a father anymore. I never knew I could love someone so much as much as I love my daughter.

  173. Kirk says:

    Short and Sweet,
    Ok Im having a big problem. Im scared and angry for fathers day. I too feel my Ash should be with me and nowhere else. We all feel cheated. I know its normal and I know this is survivable and I know its ok to feel this way I just need to vent. I miss her with every fiber of my being.

  174. Kirk says:

    Ill bet 99% of the guys here totally understand how you feel and have or do feel that way. 5 weeks is a scary sad time. I looked at what I wrote in my journal at five weeks and what ive written here and can say that things will get different in time. Not necessarily better just different, a little more…..tolerable. We your new band of brothers are here for you anytime

  175. Martin Connors says:

    Five weeks is very raw for you. I’ve been there like all of the dads here. This is your journey, you are welcome to walk with us. You have changed. You know this. We understand because each of us is not the man we were. You are entitled to your pain! No one can tell you different! As for insulting, any one – as Kelly wrote they are at the wrong site.

    If someone says I insult their belief they are insulting mine! My belief is as yours and the majority of the dads here Your Child Being With You is your belief . If some outside cant understand, smile and know you are part of a brotherhood of those that do!

    Glad you responded! I refuse to let a grieving dad fall into an abyss of grief.

  176. Kirk says:

    No one here should be offended. We are all living in this hell. I feel too that Ashlyn belongs here with us not in heaven. Bed things happen to good people and good peoples kids. Glad in a sad way we have each other and this site.

  177. Martin Connors says:

    God I miss Timmy. Had a dream he was home, returned in a new body that was the same before the accident. He was worried about being left back a grade. All I could say was it didn’t matter because he was home. I hope he understands I care about his fears and it was love not selfishness when I told him not to worry about school.

  178. Kirk says:

    Been awhile since I have been here. ‘lots of catch up reading. Today I watched a girl who is Ashlyns age being held by her grandmother. I felt so cheated, angry and I haven’t felt that much anger in a long time. She has been in my thoughts so much today. I even have watched Long Island Medium today and wondered “what if”? Life seems so unimportant without my daughter but I get up every day and go on.

    • rj says:

      Thank you – felling cheated is good way t put it and that causes anger. Right now I am feeling all this but finding it hard to label because so much is going on inside me emotionally and still feeling physically ill from it. I appreciate your helping me get a handle on it – I ve never thought of my self as an angry person but I am now and that makes me feel guilty because I don’t think it is what Cooper would want, but I can’t help feeling cheated, feeling he was cheated big time and being angry about it all. Does that make any sense to anyone.

  179. John McCaffrey says:

    You should not feel like you offended anyone. I agree with everything you have said and more. No one has the right to judge you or how you feel. I think you can meet people on this website that share your feelings and maybe help you with your grief. I’m not going to tell it will get better, but it will be different as time goes by.
    Kieran’s dad, John

    • rj says:

      Thank you John. As you know this is difficult time. It was five weeks ago my son died. It sort of seems like yesterday and yet it seems like forever since I heard his voice or felt his hug. I have hope that the pain will lessen someday – maybe.

  180. Martin Connors says:


    It would be foolish to think your feelings are not as valid as another grieving dad.. Each of us is entitled to his opinion. I do not agree when someone says my Tim is in a better place or it was God’s plan.

    Please stay, share, learn, and help your self heal.


    • rj says:

      Thank you Martin. I really didn’t mean to disrespect anyone’s beliefs – but I also cannot hide what I believe, especially now.

  181. Rj says:

    I am sorry if I have offended anyone here.
    I do not feel that my son is in a “better place”. His body is in the ground. I cannot see hear or touch him. I do believe his soul is with god.
    But god as I understand him does not “need” him. God I hope has brought Cooper to him after his suffering from a brain tumor on this earth.
    And no it isn’t a “better place” a Child belongs with his/her family. God did not cause my son to be sick or die but he has been at our side through this.
    Yes maybe I disagree with how you see things, but this is how I see them. I was only expressing that and not attempting to correct anyone.
    I said in my first post I am not much of a talker so I if I have offended anyone as I tried to share my grief and work through it by sharing honestly I apologize.

    Obliviously from the lack of responses to my post and David’s post this is not a safe place for me to seek comfort.

    I wish you each peace, comfort, and healing.


    • Martin Connors says:

      Please read. This is from my blog

      Is There Really Overcoming Grief?

      To be honest when it comes to the grief of losing a child there is no getting over it. It’s a misperception in reality. It is moving through it. Imagine being immersed in a giant bubble. The more you push against it, the more resistant it is to breaking through. The bubble is a part of you – a manifestation of sadness, loss, anger, and questioning faith – at least in my case. Every one grieves differently. Still, getting over the grief? No, I’m sorry and other grieving parents can agree. I learned, as a human being, to assess, adapt, and overcome. I may still be a prisoner to my grief, but I have learned to move forward, walk, talk, and BREATHE. It’s still a barrier from some human comforts. It distances me from others…some by their choice because they are uncomfortable around me. Their loss, not mine – I know I have changed.

      My son Tim was killed nearly a year ago, I can still see his body on the hospital gurney. Lifeless, warm and cooling, the blood pooling on the floor as it dripped from the gurney; the nurse tried her best to block it from my view. I do love her for that. She held me up, she cried with me…she cried for me; she cried for Tim.

      I go to counseling to learn how to deal with the emotional skein that has been woven over the past eleven months. I occasionally visit my parish priest for a little spiritual guidance. I write to express my love of my son. Still there is no overcoming grief. I have learned that I need to master my grief and not allow it to master me. It took time to be aware of how it was attempting to take over and replace me like a hellish version of The Body Snatchers.

      I fell into this Wonderland…no a new unknown circle of Hell that Dante never considered. It’s a Hell that I as a parent question everything I have done up to the very moment I told my son was dead. I question did I piss off God? Did I offend God so much that he took my son? But that opens up the subject of the well meaning condolences that do nothing except make me want to scream “What a stupid remark! Hey God, are you listening? Take this person before they pollute the gene pool further!”

      “It was God’s plan.” Really, I don’t recall anything in the scriptures saying God works on a plan for children to die and rejoice with the choirs of cherubs and hierarchy of angels. I am pretty sure He doesn’t call down to Saint Peter saying “Hey Pete, I got another one coming!”

      “It was Tim’s time.” Really? Was my son born with an expiration date? No.

      “You have other children.” I know this. But you see my best one was killed, so I am giving up on the others because I just don’t see the point. I am right now in Zombie mode – and I have totally forgotten that I have other children.

      “I don’t think he suffered.” My son’s death certificate reads Cause of Death: Blunt Force Trauma. He may have been unconscious and dying when he was laying on the asphalt while two teachers administered CPR and a priest administered Last Rites; but I am pretty sure he still felt pain. I am very sure he fought to stay alive.

      Still some time has passed. Some healing has begun. What gives me the strength to carry on is knowing that I must. Where did that strength came from? Was it some hidden reserve buried deep in my psyche? To be honest it came from the kids that Tim went to school with at Archbishop Ryan. It came from strangers wanting nothing in return offering their friendship…yes they are rare, but they do exist. It came from my brother and sister cops that stood by me and supported me as I buried my son. It came from people that have been my family, not just blood relations but those that share going through other losses and life changes.

      Still there is no overcoming loss. There is no happy ending. There is no real peace. Its nights spent curled up on the sofa in the late hours feeling the hot sting of tears because the house is too quiet. It’s the time when the memories put to the back of the mind for the day scream to be released like the demons in Pandora’s Box. It’s going to the toy store and seeing something my Tim would like and having to put it down because I realize it’s a reflex of love wanting to bring him a present. It’s driving down the highway listening to the radio and the DJ spins Tim’s favorite song and I choke on the phlegm trying to sing the words to American Pie.

      All I can honestly say is there are moments of solace. Recently the kids at the school organized a wiffle ball tournament to raise money for the scholarship in Tim’s name. The school will be helping us memorialize Tim by planting a tree on the campus. A few months ago the school added Tim’s name to a wall of those alumni lost to the Grim Reaper. To these kids, I say find your own second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning. Don’t lose sight of how you are inside, and never let anyone deter you from your dreams.

      I may show a strong face when necessary. I may show a happy face during events. However, in all honesty, my heart is shattered. The repair is slow and will not be complete ever. All I have done is compensate, not overcome. I am still enveloped in this bubble of grief. I have only learned to not let it hold me back from needing to live.

      I hold Jared Leto’s words to my heart:

      I will live my life, I will never regret.
      I will live my life, I will never forget.

    • Grieving Dads says:

      RJ – You have not offended ANYONE here and if you did, this is not the place for them. I pride myself on making this platform open to all and their opinions unless it becomes abusive to others. You are good my friend.

      Like others have responded, please stick around and share, learn and heal.



      • rj says:

        Thank you Kelly.
        I ordered and received your book. What I’ve learned so far: This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me – but I am not alone in that. Nothing can fix this or me. It might get better/ easier/ less painful.

  182. David says:

    Matt, with 21 months gone by, Bernie’s passing is a little less raw, but the hole in my heart is just as deep. Dates engraved in stone, small videos of days in the hospital and Hospice, little gestures that I can still feel … these will never go away. I agree that he is in a better place, hope so anyway, and pray for that each and every night.

    If we do not agree with each other’s little fantasies rj, let us respect that we each find comfort in a different way, and respect each other’s opinions. There is little served in disagreeing with and correcting each other. It hurts like hell anyway. So many little things still bring me to tears.

    I wish you all strength, courage and peace, whatever you believe.

  183. Hi Matt,

    I just survived the second anniversary of my Timmy’s death. I have to agree with you about it being harder. I think it is, at least in my case, that reality is entering whatever deflection or safeguards our psyche puts up. The grief is still beyond my comprehension. My son’s absence is equally beyond my grasp of what is what. I see pictures of his class mates preparing for Junior Prom…tux and gown to the 9’s.

    I have been quiet these past several weeks because I couldn’t write much. It was too painful. I lament verbally. I realize I have been moving through it. And to be honest (pardon my French) f’ing sucks.

    On the second anniversary, May 17, I debated going to the see Star Trek. Should I or Shouldn’t I? I went. I know Tim would want me to go see it, because if he was with me he would be urging me to go and to take him. It was our custom with Sci-Fi, Super Hero, and Action movies…I went…but I went to a different theater. I pretty much had the auditorium to myself. The seats…actually the whole row…was empty. I could feel him there with me. I enjoyed the movie without guilt…the first time in two years.

    I still cry…almost every night in the dark quiet of the house when the wife and daughters are slumbering. I talk to Timmy. I tell him to watch after his mother and sisters and not to worry about me. I tell him that either God or Devil are not done with me yet. I know he laughs and says more likely the Devil because Heaven wouldn’t want me and Hell will hope I am too tired to take over when I get there.

    I hope you have peace Brother, as I seek out my own.

  184. Matt L says:

    First, pardon me if this post appears more journalistic than proper…

    It will be two years on 6.15 since we lost one of our twin daughters unexpectedly after she came home from CHD surgery. Her name is Riley and she was only 20 days old. We celebrated the girls’ birthdays this year and it went well. However, it only reminds me that the days following are when the nightmares began.

    Since Riley passed away, I have sought professional help for depression and anxiety, thought I was cured and finished the tapering process Labor Day weekend 2012. Christmas 2012 brought on a whole new bout with anxiety and depression. I have gone back to seek professional help and it appears to be helping, although not where I was when I quit last time.

    Point I am trying to make is, the two year anniversary seems to be rougher than the first year. I have very vivid memories of the daily trips to the hospital including what Riley looked like when she was “hooked” up to all the machines. I remember how happy I was, the last time I held her alive and then almost 8 hours later, in complete shock, holding her lifeless body after the doctors called T.O.D. It brings me to tears just thinking about it.

    I remember: exact dates of when Riley was admitted, her surgery, how long the surgery took, my dad standing by with us during that time, what she looked like with her chest open to let the swelling go down, how swollen her body was from all the meds, when she regained consciousness, and so on…

    Today… Yes she is in a better place in Heaven… I do often forget that and I get caught up in my own struggle with A&D… My faith has grown painfully… Selfishly, I wish I could see Riley again only to say “I love you and see you later.” Unexpected death of a child has got to be the worst feeling, even after doctors gave her the best prognosis for recovery… By all medical statistics, Riley should be here today…

    I miss her so much and am so thankful I have Reagan (Riley’s twin) to love and hold. It is a challenge as I have living daily reminder that I should have two girls here with me…. I don’t love Reagan any less, I am actually more in love with my daughters because of this.

    It seems that the 2nd anniversaries have been more challenging than the first… I’m curious to know what your thoughts are.

    Thanks for reading,


  185. rj says:

    It is now 1 month and 1 hour since Cooper died.

    I am thankful that he is relieved of his agony from this damn disease as his quality of life had declined so much the previous six months. I am thankful that he was able to go to a concert the week before he died and he did not suffer for days, weeks or months.

    I do not think he is in a “better place” or that “god needed him” or “another angel”.
    I do believe his soul has returned to the creator and hope we will in some way be reunited one day.

    I miss him so much.

  186. rj says:

    Picked up copies of death certificate yesterday.
    Cause of death asystole due to respriartiry failure due to refractory ependymoma. That is to say his heart stopped because he stopped breathing because of a brain tumor that had progressed beyond treatment.

    Today I took one copy to the company payroll dept to fill out death benefit papers. I hadn’t even remembered taking out life insurance on him when he was about a year old. The professionals say life insurance on children is a waste of money. It will pay for the funeral and some medical bills.

    I hate these forms. They all have boxes marked deceased or decedent and those boxes have my son’s name listed. Then my name is listed as next of kin, beneficiary, informant (of death). Totally backwards form how it should be.

    Next is to purchase a grave marker. It will be simple. His name, dates of birth & death, a scripture verse and hopefully his picture etched into the stone. Between the dates will not be a dash, for as the story goes that is the most important part; that dash represents the life lived. So between the dates will be a short epitaph along the lines of “A life well lived and much loved.”

    That says more than a dash and yet still is too short to tell what a wonderful life it was (except for the whole brain tumor thing), it cannot convey how much Cooper really, truly loved life and worked to experience all he could of it and share that love with others. And it will never, ever tell how very much he was truly loved.

    Nor can it tell much we hurt missing him.

  187. Tony says:


    You’re in my thoughts and prayers. My daughter, Sophia, would have celebrated her first birthday on May 27th, so I am right there with you. I found the song you posted a few months ago and have listened to it countless number of times. Such a powerful song. “You’re always gonna be Daddy’s little girl.” gets me every single time.

    Today I am struggling because one year ago today, almost at the time of this post, my daughter was being life flighted to the Cleveland Clinic. It began a tortuous and heart wrenching 2 weeks where we fought with everything in us to save her life. I know the next two weeks are going to be incredibly hard as the memories come pouring back. I find it hard to concentrate and to care about work, remembering where I was this time last year. It all seems so trivial compared to the life and death decisions I was facing a year ago.

    Joe, congrats on your third child!


  188. Joe Slifka says:

    My daughter would be one today. This pain is too much to bear…Please pray for our family.

  189. rj says:

    I just looked back up through the posts and see your son also died from cancer.

    Would it be Ok if I emailed you privately.
    My email is


  190. rj says:

    I will look back through the posts – I am sorry I do not know your story/situation.

    I agree the place a child should be is with his parents. While I’m thankful my son is no longer suffering the effects of a brain tumor, I miss him and want him back and healthy; and I feel that people who tell us our children are in a better place don’t know what they are saying and I find no comfort in it.

    We have only lost our son 3 weeks ago so I don’t have handle on much of this and so can’t help with the spouse issue.

    For us though we have been grieving since we were told last year they could offer no further treatment options. I think this made it a little easier for us than for the parents who lose children unexpectedly.

    I don’t think any of this is part of any great plan and I don’t think god needs another angel or any of that shtuff. In fact I do not think god had any more control over whether or not my son died than I did. God does , I believe, mourn with us and hopefully we can somehow tap in to god’s love to help us heal.

    I do not recall how i came across it a few days ago and I am not one to quote scripture, but this one struck me and I think we will have it put on Cooper’s grave marker.

    God has given a spirit not of fear, but of power and love… 2 Timothy 1:7

    All this rambling I am sure has not helped you in anyway, but writing and talking is helping me.
    Thanks all for listening.

  191. David says:

    Strength and courage and peace to you, Martin.

    I grieve with you for Tim. God only takes the best.

    In 3 months time it will be Bernie’s second.

  192. I don’t know how I got through, but Tim’s second Angelversary has passed.

  193. David says:

    Bruce, can’t help with the spouse reaction as I am divorced. Bernie was adopted, and I am in touch with his mother, and her brother who lives not far away. His Ma could not come as she is in an old folks’ home 3,000 miles away. I spoke with her frequently, even up to two hours before he died she called me.

    Fortunately I do believe God has a plan that we do not understand, and I do believe that Bernie is in a better place, however sad it makes me. Anything else would be selfish. I do believe that the very, very ‘good die young’, including my own Dad at 39. God needs them for something!

    Of course you can’t turn a switch and make it better. No one should say that you are not trying hard enough! Better to say nothing. We should all respect the fact that we each grieve at our own pace.

    My only night out is to a Karaoke pub across the street, and I know there are certain songs I cannot sing. Frequently and fortunately, when I am alone I cry. But I think I am crying for me and my sorrow.

    I too have good days and bad days. I am 74. I believe that it makes Bernie sad when I am sad, so I try to keep it down. I devote myself to looking after his dogs and a small memorial garden that I have done on a corner of our village, close to the house. It all helps.

    Try to keep good memories and pictures handy, anything that makes you smile. And pray for your son every night. Remember, God loves him more than you do. I wish you strength, courage and peace.


  194. Bruce Welsh says:

    I was just wondering if anyone wanted to supply some feedback on how their spouses dealt with this.

    When my son died 10 months ago my wife went closer to God. I went the other way. I was mad at God. I guess I’m not mad anymore, but I’m still totally confused.

    When people say “he’s in a better place” my first thoughts are “No he isn’t ……a better place would be right here next to me.”

    Every now and then my wife tells me that “I’m not trying hard enough to get better.” She seems to have found some type of closure, at least partially. I can’t just turn a switch and make it better.

    I try to explain to her that I don’t get out of bed in the morning and say “I think I’ll be miserable today” it just happens some times.

  195. David says:

    Thanks for asking. That is the big question, to which I shall never get a straight answer. The second hospital had it within a week, but by then it was too late. They gave him six months; he lasted just over two-and-a-half.
    One of his favourite songs, September Morn, is pretty innocuous in English. But in French, the last two lines say, ‘It’s in September that I shall sleep beneath the olive tree.’ He hung on ’til the 3rd. He always called me to listen to it, but I only knew the English version. Did he know?
    God love him like we do.

  196. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    I just want to tell you Joe that your daughter Sophia had a beautiful name, because that was my daughter’s name. I know Mother’s Day was a hard day and I’m so afraid of when Father’s Day rolls around. Sorry for your loss.

  197. Joe Slifka says:

    The month of May has been nothing but ups and downs for us. Mother’s day was a tough one, it was my wife’s first. As terrible as I felt, I can’t imagine what she was feeling.

    My daughter Sophia would be turning one on the 29th. She wasn’t born on the 28th last year because that was Memorial Day. We celebrated my wife’s birthday (the 26th) on this day with a big family cookout.

    Instead of a smash cake and gifts from family and friends, we are taking doughnuts to the hospital to celebrate her life with our nurses. Instead of pink ribbons and opening presents, we are going to share cake with the staff members at Lifebanc (NE Ohio’s Organ, Eye, and Tissue donation organization). We made the decision to donate Sophia’s heart valves after she passed away. Instead of birthday pictures and smiles, we will have tears and sending messages on balloons up to Heaven.

    Amid all of this pain and sorrow, God’s grace and love shines through; we are expecting our third child. We are due on Halloween, but will be testing my wife and the baby starting at 37 weeks. As soon as the lungs are developed, they will deliver. On May 30th, we have an ultrasound scheduled to determine the sex of our rainbow baby. We are scared to death…

  198. David says:

    I came home by accident in March 2011, Bernie throwing up too, and by September 3rd he was gone.

    I too realise now how much he aged in the last few months, and I was still sure he would get better and come home. I too see it in the pictures now.

    Denial is hell. Loss is hell. But I must look after his dogs, one 17 years old, with her son. They are so affectionate, never disturb me when I nap.

    I pray for him and his friends in Heaven every night.
    At 74, I suppose it won’t be long for me too. Hope old Lady goes before me though!

    • rj says:

      Did they ever make a correct diagnosis for Bernie? It must be hard knowing he wasn’t getting the right treatments when he needed them. I know I play the what if game – what if they had found the tumor 3 months earlier when the symptoms started, would it have made a difference?

  199. rj says:

    In 2008 Cooper began throwing up. We went through 3 months of misdiagnosed also, until my wife demanded a scan of his head, which was DEC 6, 2008. I’ll never forget the doctor telling us there is something there, you need to take him to Children’s right now.

    Yes the pictures show what a fit young man he was until the last recurrence and the steroids. The decline was slow and only looking at pictures do I realize how far he did decline. I feel guilt over not always realizing this and sometime pushing him too hard, hoping he would get better.

    OK maybe I do talk. Thanks for listening, this is helpful.

  200. David says:

    Sympathy, empathy and prayers for Cooper.
    My Bernie had three months of mis-diagnosis, two more months of another, better hospital, and finally 26 days of Hospice. So sad to watch a strong young guy getting weaker, blind and semi-paralysed. It was a blood infection that we did not know about, which led to a brain swelling and the end.
    I wish you strength, courage and peace, with only good memories of the healthy Cooper.

  201. rj says:

    Thank you for the welcome.
    Here is link to video played at Cooper’s funeral.

    He is our only child. Diagnosed in dec 08 with anaplastic ependymoma, a malignant brain tumor he had surgery, chemo radiation and did well for over two years. In 2011 he had recurrence follwed by two additional surgeries more radiation and chemo clinical trials. Oct 12 the tumor was again growing in area that was inoperable, no treatment options were left. He went on hospice care in November with hopes to make it through holidays. He did and then some. The school allowed him to graduate mid-term and had a special ceremony just for him. He still wanted to walk with his class but didn’t make it.

  202. Bruce Welsh says:


    So sorry about your loss of Cooper. As Kelly stated above there are many of us here that understand first hand the pain you are feeling and we all know that other than listening to you there is not much we can offer to comfort you.

    Your feelings are very natural and you have every right to feel that way.


  203. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    Sorry for your lost.

  204. RJ says:

    I am not much of a talker. Right now I just want to introduce myself. My son Cooper died May 5. Today, may 20, was his 18 th birthday. I am so heartbroken, have feelings of anger, guilt and grief so bad I physically hurt.


    • Grieving Dads says:


      You don’t have to be much of a talker to be here on this site. I am so very sorry for the loss of your son Cooper. I know you are heartbroken because I too know the real meeting of that word. I also understand the anger, guilt and grief that you carry. You will find many other dads here that also feel those same emotions and understand pain in ways most people will be fortunate enough to never have to feel.

      Please continue to spend time here with others that are dealing with the same pain. You do not have to walk this path alone, although at times you will feel that way. There are many of us here that will do what it takes to help you along this new path.

      Wishing you peace.


  205. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    I am sure Matthew would have grown up to be big and strong just like his father. My daughter was also born early; she was born five weeks early. I thought that she would beat this pre-term stigma, but forty five days after she was born she was taken from me. The coroner said that she was born with an enlarged heart. The reason I know that Matthew would have grown to be big and strong is because most people underestimate what a premature baby is capable of. I was born premature. I also weight less than two pounds. The doctors gave me a slim chance to live and my parents decided to baptize me only a few days after I was born. I was in an incubator for a year and I still have the scars on my chest from all of the feeding tubes that were connected to me. I went from being born weighing less than two pounds and measuring only a few inches to being six feet tall 180 pounds. I just wonder why my daughter couldn’t beat this preterm stigma like her father did. You’re right James, it doesn’t get any easier. People still tell me that I’m young and I can still have more kids, but it’s not the same. I want my Sophia just like you want your Matthew. I’m sure you still feel as bad as the day your beautiful son passed away, I know this because I still feel as bad as when Sophia passed away. All I can tell you is that you were a great father just like the rest of us on this site and no one can take that away from us.

  206. David says:

    James, you struck a cord.

    I met my Bernie when he was 22 and looking for a life. Many times I described him as a bird with a broken wing. He adopted me, and stayed for another twenty years, got sick and died in September 2011, after 5 1/2 terrible months of hospital waiting rooms & beds.

    The orange is still stuck there, in my throat. Sadness. Empathy is all I can offer you, but it is from the heart.

  207. James Vinson says:

    Hi my name is James Vinson
    I am a Father, Poet, Amateur Photographer, Clergymen and also unfortunately a Bereaved Parent…
    I’ve been through trials and good fortune through my life like anybody, But losing my Son Matthew Hunter, changed my life forever! In 2003, I lost my son to a terrible accident at home.. My life, my world, the lil light of my life stopped shining. I struggled with my faith, yelling and being so angry and taking it out on God one minute and praying for his comfort, peace and guidance the next. Through it all God was my rock! Even when I was at my lowest and sitting at a bar with a drink in my hand.. I believe God saved me from drinking it, which was a true blessing, cause Id never touched alcohol in my 34 years of life.. Let me tell you Matthews Story, you you might have a better understanding…

    Lets see Matthews story…
    Matthew was born at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio in the Berry Wing. He was born premature at 25 weeks at 1lb. 10 1/2 ounces. 13 1/4 inches long. His Moms water broke at 23 weeks and we rushed her to the hospital where her doctor was, but they weren’t prepared for such an early delivery, so they transferred her to MVH…. She spent two weeks in there on meds to stop contractions and constant Saline solution and vitamins to help replenish their water, along with steroids to help him develop quickly, cause they weren’t sure how long they could keep him form coming.. Well 2 weeks later nothing was stopping him and through emergency C-section he came into this world…. He spent his first 3 months in the hospital, struggling and growing to survive… He spent most of his time in the NICU unit, where he got NEC and had to have antibiotics, luckily they caught it in early stages and the Medicine worked without him having to have surgery… he eventually moved to the secondary nursery and did well, he finally got to come home.. we were excited yet scared cause we still worried about him, because he was on oxygen and a heart monitor.. it sure wasn’t like when I saw my friends bring their kids home the first time, but we did what we had to do for our little boy! After a few months he came off the oxygen then eventually the heart monitor… and for 2 years, we worked with MRDD and Help Me Grow, private therapy, group therapy, and home therapy just to give him a fighting chance to get through the delays he did and could have from being a preemie.. He grew and was amazing, we thought things were going good, who would have known that just 2 weeks after his second Birthday, that smile that would light up the world and big blue eyes, would become a memory in our hearts.. His mom went in to wake up the morning of Sept. 15 and found him, he was laying on the floor by his crib that morning, we weren’t sure what had happened, what was going on, we called 911, both of us did infant CPR until the life squad got there, she rode in the ambulance, I followed behind, they put us in a room across form the room he was in, there were so many doctors and nurses going in and out of his room it was hard to tell how many were there trying to help him… but after what felt like forever, the dreaded CALL came from the room and silence flooded the air….Time Of Death…………………

    Matthew lost his light after trying to climb out of his crib, coroners and police said his little neck was broke, that he must have slipped and fell while getting out… a “One in a Million accidents” they said, all I know was, my heart was shattered, my little light, my smile was gone….. Miss you My lil Angel!!
    If its one thing I have learned after 9 yrs, losing a child is one thing you will never get over, or get completely healed from.. the old saying Time Heals All Wounds, whoever wrote that, obviously never lost a child… Time in this case does allow us to learn how to endure the pain and I’ve found in each passing year, that even though the pain and hurt is the same, the grief is the same. Im able to handle it a lil better than before.. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my breakdowns and the floodgates pour open. But I feel a lil more prepared to handle each day, each holiday, just a bit more.. One of the support groups Ive been involved with HEAL (Help Endure A Loss) the lady that runs it, I am good friends with, said grief is like a grapefruit stuck in your throat.. your scared, your not sure how to handle it being there, you cant swallow or breath cause the grapefruit(grief) is so big.. But she said over time, the grapefruit shrinks and it gets easier to breath, easier to swallow, the grief doesn’t feel as huge after a while, but its still there… I guess Id say after 9 yrs for me, that my grapefruit is about the size of an orange, hope that makes sense to ya… its still there and isn’t going anywhere, but I am able to move forward and live a new life even with it still stuck in my throat…

  208. David says:

    Deep thoughts and prayers for Martin, Tim and family.

    Two years tomorrow. Strength and courage for you all.

    And thanks, Martin, for the strength you give to others.

  209. Bruce Welsh says:

    I’m glad I found your site. I recently purchased your book and have started to read. The all too familiar feelings expressed by you and the other fathers hit home with me right away.

    I think this and your other actions will be the start of more and more support for the bereaved fathers like us. A much needed resource.

    I lost my 22 year old son Matt in July of 2012 to testicular cancer. I think that you and the others on this site know the hell I’m going through.

    I thought many times about writing down my feelings and thoughts, but never thought my writing would be any good. At first I wrote down a few thoughts and questions that I had.

    A few months ago I got this feeling and opened up Word on my PC and started typing. I ended up writing a poem that took just 10 minutes. It just came out. Never had I written a poem before.

    Then last week again a feeling came on me and I started to write about my son’s story. Several paragraphs came out with ease.

    Not sure what I’ll do with these writings and I’m not sure I have enough in me for a book. Not sure if they are good enough to publish but it just seemed right for me to do them.

    Again thanks for all you have done for grieving fathers.


    Bruce Welsh

  210. Kirk says:

    thanks Brother, wish the same to you.

  211. Martin Connors says:

    I hope you have peace as the 6 month mark arrives on this journey you are on with the loss of your daughter. This Friday May 17 is two years without my Tim .

    One day at a time
    One step at a time
    One breath at a time

  212. Kirk says:


    I meant to get back with you Monday so I apologize. Its crazy how the emotions can run the gamut from OK to Angry in 4.6 seconds. Life is different for sure without our girls. I find in my case a great comfort in going to Ashlyn’s friends soccer games and spend time with their parents. I know this sounds crazy and impossible but things will get different from the point your at now. Im not saying happy but different. Its been 6 months tomorrow for me / us and it still feels like yesterday she was here. One night I even heard her call daddy. Best I can do is wake up every morning tell her I love her and do my best to make her proud of her daddy. Mothers day was tougher on me than my wife for some reason, her tough day was Monday night. Remember were here for you if you need us.

  213. Kirk says:


    So sorry for the loss of your friends son. Everyone here knows the pain of losing a child. I know he may have already heard these things but he need to take as much time as he needs to learn to relive life. Dont let anyone tell him when its time to do this or that (example returning to work). I myself went to counseling right away after my daughters death. I also began to attend the local Compassionate Friends chapter meeting. No one understands the loss more than those of us who are living it every day. Then the fellow dads on this site have been a great support and I dont think Id be where I am without the people Ive met here. I hope this information will be of some help in some way to your friend. We all have different stories here but all know the pain of the loss of our kids.

  214. Bernadette W says:

    First, I want to say I am not a grieving Dad. I am however a good friend to father that is grieving. I am nurse so I am familiar grieving process. I feel the need to tell my friends story because I want to give him guidance during this tragedy. You probably have heard my friend story it has gone national. Here is my friends story: My friend’s son was a sixth grade student who was the typical 11 year old. He went to school on January 10th 2013. On that day my friend child would end up in fight in the schoolyard. It has been great controversy whether it was a schoolyard fight that was started because of Bullying or boys being boys. What led up to this conflict doesn’t really matter to me. It’s the fact that I had to know that one of my childhood friends who I met at the same age of his son. Was picking out his son’s clothes to be buried in and a casket. I don’t care who you are you when your a parent you always believe that you will go first. So, the school nurse sends the child after the fight were head trauma occurs back to class with ice pack. Why wasn’t the child re access for concussion at some point. Number one nursing point always reacess.Why weren’t parents called to be informed of the conflict that had occurred that day. Within the next couple of days my friend’s son mental status was not right. Eventually, His son is transported to a children’s hospital where he is placed in a medically induced coma to control uncontrollable seizures. After being transported to another top children’s hospital and weeks of watching and waiting to see if other treatments would work to control these violent seizures.My friend and the mother of his only son would make the heart wrenching decision to stop life support. The day after Baileys 12th birthday my friend has to watch as a precious gift that had changed his life in so many ways. Would leave this world on March 2, 2013. After this it was decided that an autopsy would be determined. I have watch my friend struggle and all I can do is be nonjudgmental and listen to him. I cant say I how I know how he feels because I myself have never lost a child. I have given him some help and info on the the grieving process. But today the autopsy results came back as cause of death “undetermined.” This is so hard for me to even understand what he must be going through. It’s almost as if he lost his son all over again. I think he was prepared to get some closure from this and now there isn’t an answer in his mind. I told him in his heart he knows the truth. But, I don’t even know where to begin to tell him where to start to cope with this. I thought maybe people that grieve the missing and never knowing what happen might be a comparison but where do I even begin to help my friend. I given support for so many aspects of this for my friend. But, I don’t even know where to start with part of what my friend is going through.

  215. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    That’s one thing I have learned since Sophia past away two months ago, that I will never be happy in life again. I know the anger you also feel, my wife cried all night last night and today in the morning. In Mexico, they celebrate Mother’s Day on the 10th.

  216. Kirk says:

    On this Mothers Day eve, I feel helpless. Today my wife received a bouquet of flowers from Ashlyns best friend Abby. I was texted by her that she cried for an hour straight. I was at work and couldnt get away. My new job has me working tues-sat, I’ve noticed Im better at work than I was at the old job but I seem to pay for it when i get home. I feel so angry sometimes that my baby was sent to heaven after 8 short years. I know the ebb and flow is common. I want to go back to Nov 15th and change the decisions made that night but its futile to think that way. I just cant envision a life without my daughter. Ill go on but I’m not happy about it and I still will try to make her proud.

  217. May 17 is getting close.
    I can feel it in my chest…anxiety!

    I went to see Iron-Man 3. I promised myself I would, as I promised Tim. He loved super-hero movies. I went alone…physically. Strangely as with Spider-Man and The Avengers last year, the seat next to me was not taken. As with our tradition, I then went to the bookstore and browsed; I picked up a book for his mom.

    I wrote to the president of his high school to let him know we will have a little memorial at his tree. Right now I need distraction…it will come in due time.


  218. David says:

    My son Bernie had a birthday on March 20th.
    Today, May 3rd, is twenty months since he left us.
    May God love you more than we do, Berns.

    Papa Dave, Lady and Lucky.

  219. David says:


    Maybe God needed another angel?

    ……. an angel in the book of life
    wrote down our baby’s birth,
    and whispered as she closed the book …….
    ……. ‘Too beautiful for Earth’.


  220. Matt L says:

    June 15th will mark the two year anniversary of one of my twins’ death. Her name was Riley and she was just 20 days old.

    I don’t even know where to start… I’m taking care of every aspect of my life: body, mind, and spirit. But some days are better than others. I was laid off of work February 2013 and I have tried to fill my days with house chores, seeking employment, exercise, fellowship with friends, and side jobs. So I am experiencing a compounded type of grief.

    The lack of work gets to me sometimes, but it is nothing compared to losing my daughter. I will get another job, but I will never get to see Riley again on this side of Heaven. All I have left are her cremated remains and 20 days of memories and pics. Some great…. others not so much.

    Most fathers would be excited for their child’s birthday. Every year I get to share that Joy with a little pain of knowing it’s Riley’s birthday too and she is not here to celebrate it with us.

    Does is get easier?
    What gets you through the grief?


  221. David says:


    My Bernie will have been dead twenty months this week Friday, would now be 47, and tears are streaming down my face too.
    I am just able now to order a small plaque for his memorial garden.
    We all hurt together, but we shall meet again one day.
    Be strong.


  222. Joe Slifka says:

    Today, my Sophia would be 11 months old…probably walking, babbling, and drooling. I miss her so badly…tears are streaming down my face, I hurt so much…

  223. Joe Slifka says:

    I used to teach at a high school that was literally three minutes from my house. I now have a 25-30 minute drive to school each way. I accepted a position as a STEM teacher in another district in our county.

    I remember before walking in for my second interview, I prayed. I asked God, “If this is where I need to be, help me find the right words and showcase my talents.” I was told that I was not a good fit for the position I applied for; instantly, I was crushed. The next statement blew my mind, though. “But, we have this position that we haven’t really advertised yet.” Lego robotics. Computer applications. STEM and robotic team plans. “Is that something that might be of interest to you?” I walked out, knowing I nailed the interview and gave thanks to God. One week later, Sophia was stillborn.

    What should have been a summer filled with planning and learning new ways to teach was spent crying and in this foggy, warped reality. I believe the extra driving time is a gift from God. Now, I use that time to pray, talk (and sometimes yell) at Him, cry, and talk with my daughter. Had I still been teaching close to home, I would not have this coping time.

    Today, like every other day of school, I prayed during my drive to work. I asked God to watch over our family and I prayed that He would lead me to be a better man and teacher today. And just like any other day, once I put my car in park, I pulled out my little Guardian Angel coin, rubbed it between my fingers, and talked to my little girl. I told her how much I loved and missed her, and asked her to shine down on me; to share God’s love with me. I silently prayed for just a little sign that she was there with me and that she was ok and went about my morning.

    Halfway through the day, I ran into an old college friend who was visiting promoting his educational software to our administration team. We talked for a few minutes and I showed him some pictures of our family. He took out his phone and showed me a picture of his family, a boy and a girl. Evan, I believe was his name, and his little girl Sophia.

    My heart nearly jumped out of my chest and my eyes welled up…there was my sign.

    Thanks, Sweetheart. Daddy loves you and misses you so much.

  224. mark grove says:

    it was 430 in the morning when the phone rang…..we were sleeping peacfully with no idea that our life was about to change forever. my step daughter brenna had lost her life in a car accidet. and so our nightmare began. life wasnt all wine at roses before that call, my wife terry was just 6 weeks out of chemo treatment and resting up for cancer surgery. anybody that has been through it knows the moutain of work that follows that call. with the help of God friends and family we have survived almost 2 and a half years now. but we are not okay. we are not doing fine. being busy is not the same as being happy. and thank you for asking about my wife but i lost someone i loved too. i have tried to by that guy for my wife but now and again it would be nice to have a lil meltdown of my own. im hurt i cry im afraid and i feel like no one can see that. and that makes me feel VERY alone

  225. Dave C says:


    I am sorry. My prayers are with you and your wife.

    Just remember that you both grieve differently. Just be there for her. Allow her to grieve and allow yourself to greive as well. God will do the rest. He really will. That is the only way my wife and I have been able to do so so far.

  226. David says:

    Luke, I read your email early today and have been thinking about it ever since. I can see and feel that Oliver’s death has torn a hole in your heart as big as the one in mine. My son was 45, and just got sick and was gone in 5 1/2 months in the Summer of 2011.

    May I mention something I have never written before on any site: my dear mother had FIVE miscarriages (fortitude!!!) before my father, a good man, went off on his own and produced me elsewhere. One day my mother ‘found’ a telegram in his jacket pocket saying, ‘Your son has arrived. What do I do?’ That evening she asked him to bring me home. He died five months later at the age of 39, and I can say she was my mother in every sense of the word, and my best friend.

    Not much else I can say, except to wish you courage, strength and peace. Maybe God needed another angel.

    “An angel in the book of life wrote down my baby’s birth. Then whispered as she closed the book ‘too beautiful for earth!’ “. Author unknown.

  227. Luke says:

    My Son, Oliver Alvin Crane, was still born on 11/23/11.

    I was in a meeting at work when my wife had called me three times. I thought something must be wrong. I went out into the hallway and called her back. She was crying and told me that Oliver had passed away.

    My mind went numb…. I thought how could this be. God wouldn’t allow this to happen to us.

    Previously my wife and I struggled with infertility for four years and finally got pregnant. This was a miracle baby and there was much excitement and happiness in our life.

    Now God has taken Oliver back to him. WHY? I thought, Don’t we deserve happiness in this life?

    To what seem as an eternity I made it home. I gave my wife a big hug and started weeping. I asked her if there was any hope that he was still alive, but she said she saw the ultrasound and his heart wasn’t beating.

    My heart was in such pain and anguish. We had to wait until 9 that evening before they would start my wife to deliver the baby. Nothing had prepared me for this. I was like a zombie trying to comfort my wife but feeling helpless at the same time.

    At the hospital we had the sweetest nurse. Bridget and I were clueless as what we should expect and the nurse helped us along the way. I count her as a tender mercy among a devastating experience.

    It was hard for me to see what Bridget had to go through and there was very little that I could do. I held her hand and gave her encouragement but I still felt so helpless.

    Then Oliver was born and there was only silence. The reality that he wasn’t alive came down upon me at this moment. I saw his little body and wanted so much for him to be alive.

    My wife was very strong and treated Oliver with such tenderness. At first it was hard for me to hold his little body because I was so scared. Finally I held his body and some peace entered my heart.

    At moments I felt his sweet spirit touch mine and I felt at peace and loved.

    We buried him in the closest cemetery so we could visit him often. Visiting his grave had been very healing for me and I visit often with my wife.

    After Oliver passed away days turned into weeks and weeks into months. My wife asked me to be open about the grief I was feeling but I didn’t really know how to talk about the event or what I was going through. I felt so alone and didn’t know where to turn to.

    Eventually after entering in some dark paths to dull the pain I entered into counseling with my wife. I was very apprehensive to visit with a therapist but it was the greatest turn around for me with dealing with my grief. Some of the greatest returns has been learning how to express my emotions and to let them be expressed without feeling shame or embarrassment.

    Even though we are not perfect in communicating we are growing closer together in dealing with the loss of Oliver.

    This site is amazing and I hope that I will learn more from the experiences of grieving dads.

  228. Kirk says:


    This move was in the making for several years. Ash was always on my case to move on but I stayed because the insurance was fantastic. I had been looking for about 3 years and didnt have much luck. I feel Ash was who made this all possible and was really saying “dad you need to be happy going at work”. It is an opportunity and one that I can say takes me back to my roots for career. I was in the other job for 17 years trapped for the money at first then the benefits (after corporate pay cuts. Life is way too short not to try to be happy. I say try because Im here with you guys when Id rather be with Ashlyn. I feel I owe her to give this a shot since she knew how miserable I had been. I value all of your support my brothers in grief .


  229. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    Best thing to ever happen in our life is our children.

  230. We took my wife out for dinner, for her birthday. My youngest, four years-old, said to her mother “I see Timmy sitting next to Alaina.” Alaina, my older daughter 7, sat next to me across from her mother. I wouldn’t doubt it, I just wish it was Timmy there in the flesh.

  231. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    My daughter’s name is also Sophia. She was born pre-term because of complications. The doctors told me that everything was okay with Sophia and that she just had a jaundice problem that was treatable. She passed away fourty-five days later. She passed away in the hospital while on one of her weekly check-up. Don’t blame yourself for thinking that your beautiful daughter would be alive if you had gone to the hospital the day before, a non- holiday Monday. I too cry while driving home from work. It’s weird because everything just hits me all at once. You are also right, we are for ever changed. Most of the time I hate being alive, but I can honestly state that talking to Sophia on a daily basis is very comforting. I just want to tell you sorry for what you are going through. I know how it feels like, it’s the worst feeling in the world.

    • William. says:

      Gilberto I too hate being alive,when I go to bed I get to were I cant breath with the panic attacks.My life is like groundhog day and I just want acceptance but I can’t.I know it won’t be long before I pass because I am and are making myself ill but cannot stop the grief and it will not stop ever.

  232. Joe Slifka says:

    I was a teacher for 5 years at a district literally 2 minutes from my house. A week before Sophia was stillborn, I interviewed for a position at another district in our county, but about 25 minutes away on the highway. I accepted the position and Friday before finals was my last day (we had a scheduled c-section for Tuesday, May 29 since that Monday was Memorial Day). I often wonder if Monday hadn’t been a holiday and she’d been born that day, would she have still died? My wife says she felt her kick Monday night before we tried to get some sleep…

    About three weeks after her death, I called my new superintendent and told him the news. He expressed his condolences and asked if I was still planning to teach for his district, and I reassured him I would be.

    This year has been a struggle. I have a hard time focusing, putting together lessons (because I am now teaching a new subject), and remembering things. Since Sophie’s death, I am changed, and I feel like that change is permanent. I’d been training myself for a position like this by taking all sorts of professional development and even getting a Master’s degree in technology to help, so I should be relishing in this new position (I was teaching science, now I am teaching technology and STEM). At our GriefShare meetings, they say don’t make big decisions like this for up to two years following something like this…problem was, I made the decision before she died.

    I believe I got this position because God new I needed the 25 minute drive. Each morning, I pray and converse with God as if He were there with me in the car. I carry a little coin with an angel on one side and the word “Guardian” on the other. When I talk to Sophie, I rub the angel between my fingers. If I’d still be teaching at the nearby district (inner-city, btw), I wouldn’t have time to cope in the two minute drive. I’d be dealing with the death of my daughter and a rough freshman group (as my former colleagues say). Now, I teach in a rural school with nearly no problems, and like I said, I have that time to grow in my faith.

    I have days where I cry the whole way home…not because of students and work, but because I miss Sophie. I get home, feel a little better, and hug and kiss my wife and other daughter, Isabella, who is two and a half. Sticking with the decision I made to leave my district (comfort zone) after her death has been therapeutic and life saving for me. Keep the faith.


  233. Dave Contreras says:

    I am so sorry for your loss and what you have been going through. A couple of things to think about before you make a career move.

    Two years ago I had the opportuity about six months after my son’s death to change jobs, It woud have been a longer commute but I felt the change would have helped. After speaking to my wife and older son, we decided it would be better to stay at my present job because of the closer proximlty to our home and the emotional support I would have from those I work with who knew my son and me. So I backed out of the process 30 minutes before the meeting that the final decision was being made. (I was told later I was going to be offered the job.) Ironically, two weeks later my wife was diagnosed with cancer. That would have been a major problem considering we would have been switiching health care providers. God was truly working in our lives at that time.

    Just keep in mind the support form those who know you and the emotional support that people at a new job may not be able to give you if you need it. Grief counselors caution those of us from making big decisions such as these in the first year after the loss. Talk it over with loved ones as well as friends before you make the final decision.

    God Bless you and I pray things will work out for you.

  234. Martin Connors says:

    I have a tough time when a TV show has an auto-ped accident as a scene. Recently I had training, and there was a video clip from a dashboard cam where a police officer in Ohio hit a kid on a bike on a dark road. The boy died on location. I was given a heads up about the clip by the Lt who was running the class. I was shook up none the less. I was allowed to leave the room if necessary to collect myself. The Lt. asked me if I was okay and he was sorry that he had to show it as part of the training since it came from Harrisburg.

    Now here are a few things I have done to get by – the Irish have what is called a worry stone. Its a little piece of Connemara marble with a little spoon smoothed out. The Irish would rub their thumb in that little spooned area. Now this is how I adopted that custom. When I visit Timmy, I pick up a stone near his head stone and put it in my pocket. If I feel anxious I pinch it in my hand and rub it.

    If I don’t have a stone, I have a little necklace my wife and daughters got me at Knobel’s amusement park in the poconoes. The necklace has a macaroni size/shape hollowed out stone with Timmy’s name. I clasp that in my hand. There are a few other things I do to cope such as writing.

    I don’t know if my rituals will help, but might I suggest a pocket locket with your daughter’s photo or a prayer? You can clasp in your hand as a distractor – that’s the key – to break the vision of the flashback. Are you going to counseling? One on One? Email me your answer if you wish. I wouldn’t want you to feel obligated to answer.


  235. Kirk says:

    Tough day today. At work I was looking at Ashlyns picture and kept having flashbacks to the accident night. My Dr says its PTSD which if you were there when your child died especially due to trauma then ill bet you have it as well. The feelings are overwhelming and painful. I really need to figure out how to minimize the effects of this particular type of attack. I may have a new career opportunity and dont want that to effect the position. /how do you guys cope ?

  236. Kirk says:

    Absolutely, Amen to that Martin!

  237. Martin Connors says:

    I was listening to talk radio on the way home. The talk host was describing the photo of Martin Richards holding a cardboard sign he made in class.
    No more hurting people

  238. David says:

    ……. and his name was Martin. God bless him in Heaven.

  239. David says:

    Just heard that the little boy was with his mother and sister, and that his father was running in the Marathon.

    May whoever who did this be caught and executed, and forever rot in hell.

  240. Martin Connors says:

    Tonight my thoughts are in Boston, thinking of the parents of the 8 year-old boy who was killed and the eight children who were injured.
    I pray to God that the bastard is found and brought to true justice.

  241. David says:

    I have tried to spare everyone all the gory details, like his being misdiagnosed for three months at the first hospital; like finding out at the second hospital that it was too late, and that he would live no more than six months, and getting his uncle to tell his mother (in fact he was gone in less than three); like when he totally lost his sight; then the mild stroke which left his right side paralysed; with problems going to the toilet so they put an internal catheter; like when he had a couple of seizures and needed to be restrained, and I would get a phone call; like when he could no longer speak (except to swear when I said he couldn’t have any more chocolate ice cream, or another glass of milk, ‘Sacrement!’). I stayed as long as I could each day, but he would get up when alone, and fall because he was too weak, cutting himself twice. Poor Berns. You don’t know what I went through, those 26 last days. I still have little ‘videos’.

  242. Kirk says:


    So many memories similar but yet different. I had actually called my Pastor to come to the hospital. We also had the hospital chaplain. What struck me in hindsight was my Pastor had lost a son at 2, A patrolman shared with me he lost a twin brother and the Sgt on duty lost a son as well. That night I was surrounded by these people who have been on this journey and don’t think it was a coincidence. Still its the most horrible sight in the world to see your child laying there. Ive seen bad things in my life, lots of them when I wore the reserve S.D. uniform but it pales in comparison to seeing your own child. Im glad this site exists for us guys to express our losses and feelings.
    God Bless!

  243. This is from my blog about my son and my journey:

    The Prodigal Parent

    While I stood over Tim, as he was laying on the gurney, I turned to see a priest and an older woman standing off to the side behind me. The priest, a short man, about my height of five foot-six inches, dressed in black with the exception of his collar. The woman, dressed in professional attire, appeared to be out of place in the Emergency Room. I didn’t know them. I didn’t care to know either of them. I assumed the priest was the hospital Chaplin or a Catholic priest called to the Emergency Room from the neighboring parish to provide comfort.

    “Mister Connors,” the priest began.

    I cut him off. “Father, I work in a world filled with vengeance. I want my due. Is God going to give me that?” I turned back to Timmy’s body. I noticed the faint, almost brush strokes, like the rubbing from a cloth that had wiped away a copious amount of blood. His eyes, once so full of life, now dulled and looking to nothingness – the staff tried to close his eyes.

    “I don’t want your comfort,” I growled at the priest. I don’t remember exactly if I used any explicative language or what words spewed from my mouth after.

    The priest took a step back and turned slowly on the ball of his foot. I heard faintly a blessing and a asking of God to watch over me. I wanted no comfort from my faith. I wanted no prayer to be said. I stood at this gurney looking down at my son’s body. God stopped Abraham before Isaac became a burnt offering…Jesus made a decision to be crucified to save mankind, against his Father’s wishes and Jerusalem shook with earthquakes and thunderstorms.

    “Forgive them…because they do not know what they are doing.” Isn’t that what along the lines of what He said with his dying gasp? Just days before He was hung on the cross, He brought his friend Lazarus back who was four days dead. I wouldn’t be afforded such luxury.

    I thought of Tim’s First Penance. After he received his sacrament the parents were invited to do our own confessions. I went into the confessional; Father Moriarty sat on a chair.

    I blessed myself. “Please me Father, for I have sinned. It has been a long time since my last confession.”

    We went through the ritual of the confession. I explained that I work most Sundays and haven’t attended Mass in a long time. I explained I was a cop.

    “So you can’t go to church all the time because you’re doing God’s work?”

    “I don’t know about that Father. I just do my job.”

    About ten minutes later I exited the confessional.

    Timmy stood next to his mother. “Daddy, what took so long? What did you do?”

    A vigil began at Archbishop Ryan. Students gathered at the front of the school, organized by their own concerns and sense of community. Mr. McArdle, the president of the school broke the news to the students about Tim’s death. The news media hovered overhead and among the students.

    I was still at the hospital. I didn’t know who the priest was and at that moment I didn’t care. My son was dead. I wanted someone to pay for his death. I wanted someone’s head on a stick. I cursed God. I cursed the throne, choirs, and principalities of His Angels.

    Over the next few hours, pages appeared on Facebook wishing Tim a speedy recovery…to condolences and prayers for him. A second vigil was planned by the students and announced on the pages. Some other students from other Archdiocesan high schools asked if they could attend. School rivalry dropped for the good of community; youth facing the uncertainty of their mortality.

    Gi went with her sister. Jun drove me. It began to rain. As we got closer to Archbishop Ryan it began to rain heavier. As we entered the grounds of the high school, the sign at the front of the school read “TIM YOU ARE AN ANGEL.”

    “This isn’t real,” I said to Jun. “This is a bad dream.”

    “I know brother.” Jun drove us at a slow pace. We got out and walked to the front of the school where the chapel is situated.

    I could feel the wind kick up a bit more. I walked to the chapel. Gi was standing next to the priest who was leading prayers by saying the Hail Mary. I was told that one of the priests from the school stayed with Tim, gave him Last Rites, and followed him to the hospital with the principal of the high school. I shuddered that I chased out a man and teacher that cared so much about my son. I felt ashamed.

    Hail Mary, Full of Grace
    The Lord is with thee,
    Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus

    The priest dressed in a black overcoat the collar turned up against the rain, a black Fedora adorned his head. As it got darker, I couldn’t make out his face. His voice was familiar.

    Oh no, I thought, please don’t tell me I cursed out this man!

    The vigil ended a short time later. I walked to the priest.

    “Father, I am so sorry.”

    “It’s okay, there is nothing to forgive. You have enough to worry and think about.”

    I began to cry. “I didn’t know. I was so angry.”

    I was the prodigal parent.

  244. Martin Connors says:

    Tony, we are different as the stars in the heavens. Its not a matter of fortitude its a method of grieving. If you choose to share what you go through, then do so at your own pace and when you are ready. Each of us is on his own path, and at some point we meet, walk a bit together, help one another walk a bit when the other wants to give up – but its a brotherhood that is where not one of us walks alone. That means if you read another brother’s story and it touches you, you are walking with him at that moment. If you write your story and another reads it, its the same thing. You take your time.

    Joe Z:
    When I met with the kids at a memorial Mass for my son, I address them all. I told them to find their own second star to the left and go straight on ’til morning. I want them all to tap into their talents and become who they were meant to become! I said that to them because they were hurting losing a class-mate. I put everyone before me and at first I felt I was alone. If someone caught me crying, I didn’t care – but that’s me.

    Wither you cry in “silence” or openly, you still grieve and that is still good because you are in tune with your emotions. I cry most nights still when everyone is asleep. The other night I found photos I took of my Timmy when he met his newborn sister. I cried, I moaned, I howled, I cursed everyone involved except the Medics and the kids. I cursed myself for not being there for him-not being there to prevent it, not being there to save him, not being there to avenge him. To be honest avenging him would have brought more problems…so I left that to God.

  245. Kirk says:

    Joe Z

    Ive had a tough week myself. Images playing in my head like a bad episode of “emergency”. My girl was my world and of course I would have done anything to get her back. Im very appreciative to Law Enforcement and Fire Rescue for doing all they could. My Ashlyn would be proud Ive come here for both help and to help. Today my wife was having a very bad morning and then suddenly an Angel we have on our kitchen window ended up in the sink. Signs that she is still with us. We are all great Dads, if we were’nt we would’nt care if this site existed. Im trying to live the way my daughter would have, This is a tall order she was so compassionate, loving and peace driven for 8. If anyone needs to talk I would be more than happy to be available via email of Facebook. God Bless us all in these trying times.

    Kirk Lee

  246. Joe Z says:

    The memories have been repeating themselves lately, my son laying there and me trying to save him and just can’t. I am usually torn with guilt for being a father who couldn’t save his own child. I have other children and focus on them and sometimes get over protective, not wanting to ever get in a position where I wouldn’t be able to help them. I cry in silence because my kids are also fragile and my wife needs me to be strong. I am glad I found a place to express my thoughts and feelings because in “the world” guys have to be the strong ones and carry the weight, only men who have been through this can ever fully understand. Thank-you

  247. David says:

    To Tony and JoeZ, we are with you 100%. When you are ready, our support is with you. Don’t we all know how you feel when you say ‘no one asks about how we’re feeling, how we’re doing’. Just a big empty space where our child was. Even a hug would help these days.

    But these 70 years are nothing compared to when we meet again, for Eternity. We’re tough and can take it. God loves them more than we do.

  248. Kirk says:

    Gilberto and the All of us here. I just want to throw this out there but if you want to email me I would be more than happy to talk / listen that way as well. Often times there are things you don’t want to say on a board. Were all in this together brothers. or find me on Facebook, my daughter is my profile picture.
    Kirk Lee

  249. Tony says:

    Is it a sign? Maybe. I have visited this site dozens of times over the last six months or so, reading your stories and finding comfort in them. Today I checked in because it had been a month or so since I had been here and because it’s been 9 months today since my daughter passed away. I wanted to write before and maybe share my story but never did. Today when I came here and saw that another Dad had lost his daughter on May 29th, 2012, the same day my daughter was being life flighted to another hospital where they would try to save her life, and both our daughters are named Sophia, I just had to post something.

    Reading your stories has brought me tremendous comfort and also some sort of validation in the emotions I’ve experienced over the last 9 months. As all of you know, it’s an especially lonely journey for the bereaved Dad. I honestly cannot remember the last time someone asked how I was doing. I mean, truly asked. And more specifically, how I was coping with the death of my daughter. Of course, people will ask how my wife is doing, or maybe even about my two other children, but very rarely will the ask me. And that is why I appreciate this site so much. Dad’s hurt just as much and need just as much support as the mother.

    Thank you all for being courageous enough to share your stories and your very private emotions. Someday soon I will share my story, when I can muster enough emotional fortitude to spell it out here.


  250. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    Martin, I would just like to say sorry about Timmy. I can tell you are a great father. Thank you for your advice. I didn’t cry either after Sophia past away. I didn’t cry while they were treating her. I just couldn’t believe what had just happened. I didn’t cry till the next day when I looked at her bouncer and remembered how I used to watch her stare at the stuff toy birds hanging from it. I’m 100% sure that Timmy was a great kid and that is because he had a great father. I miss being a father.

    • Martin Connors says:

      #1 – you are still a father.
      Yes your life of doing wonderful things with your Sophia was taken from you, but you are still a father because you still and will always carry a love for her. That is what makes you a father! Trust me and the other men here will tell you the same! My partner, from when I was in uniform, told me this while I was in the bowels of grief. That week during the planning of the funeral he was assigned to be with me because of our brotherhood – if they had put some dummy with me instead and the wrong words were said the powers that be thought it would be best to have my “brother” with me.

      #2 God willing you will have another child. This is not to replace Sophia – that can’t be done. But I don’t want to hear this anger and pain cause you to not want other children.

      #3 The reason you didn’t cry? It’s called SHOCK. It knocks us off kilter. We don’t know what to do. Stop beating yourself up for it. Part of you had to hold it together, part of you wanted to tear the world a new assh*le – along with a whole myriad of reasons and emotions clashing and in turmoil.

      At Timmy’s viewing the Cardinal came to pay respects. I didn’t know if I should shake hands, kiss his ring, kiss his cheek, hi five, fist pump, or chest bump His Eminence. I am a sinner and I know it; God knows it.

      As for Tim being a great kid? Yes, he was and is. Some of it was me, some of it his mom – but mostly I believe it was his own goodness he was born with in his heart. I was like him in my youth – and became tainted by what I see in the world. There were days I protected him from everything; and there are moments where I feel I failed him because he is not with me in the flesh.

      But everything I tell you, I’ve been there – sometimes my path takes me in circles too and I revisit. Grieving is a vicious bitch.

      Peace to all of you.

  251. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    Thank you all for your advice and support. I am sorry for all of you grieving just like me. Thank you Joe, Kirk, and Martin for your support. I love all of you guys very much.

  252. Kirk says:

    I know that unexplainable feeling of love for your child. My wife and I discussed this just tonight. Shortly after Ashlyn died I didnt eat except for perhaps once a day. I lost 23 lbs and my Dr jacked me up. Ashlyn wouldnt want me to be like this. Its still a learning process but one thing is for sure. This is the hardest work youll ever do grief. My goal is to make sure my daughter is remembered and to do what she would be proud of. 2 reasons for this 2. it makes me a better person and 1. thats who she was and I want her to be proud. Yes this is hard and none of us would choose to be here but we are and I at least owe it to my baby to go on best I can. I dont have to be happy, dont have to joke or carry on. i just have to be who i am at that moment. Life is too short to fake it. If someone ask you how you are just say constipated and they wont ask you again, otherwise tell them how you feel and make that Child the center of your world, as she is and always would be. Prayin for you brother and were here for you and each other.

  253. Joe Slifka says:

    I, too, lost my Sophia. She was stillborn on May 29th of last year. And like you, I am employed at a local school district. It has forever changed my life, and I know I will never be the same. We went in for a scheduled c-section early that Tuesday morning and I remember how time seemed to slow down when the doctor turned around and said he didn’t see a heartbeat. My wife developed postpartum pre-eclampsia and we stayed in the hospital for an additional ten days. In that time, I had to go home and take apart the bassinet, put away the stroller, and close her bedroom door.

    I, too, stopped caring about food. I physically had to force myself to eat. I remember listening to the machines my wife was hooked up to, not knowing any real answers, staring out the window at a blank street wishing that I would die. I didn’t want to live and I hated everything about my life.

    One day, a food service employee came in, the sweetest little old Southern black woman named AJ brought us some popsicles and said we didn’t have to eat, but we should at least drink and eat these popsicles. I remember staring at the floor, ashamed that I couldn’t do anything to help my daughter take her first breath. I asked her if she would pray for us. She took off her glasses, put everything down, and closed our door. She told me to get into bed with my wife and instructed us to hold one another, and she sang “Jesus loves me.” We laid there wrapped in each other’s arms, tears streaming down our faces. She prayed for us, held our hands, and hugged us goodbye before she left.

    Prior to Sophia’s death, I went to church and bowed my head when we all prayed, but never had a true relationship with Christ nor understood my purpose in life. I believe that the meaning behind her death was to bring my wife and I closer together and to prepare us for our higher calling. I still teach, but at a better district, with more pay, and I enjoy what I teach now more than what I was doing at the old school. My wife resigned her position as a teacher and is currently going back to school to get a master’s degree in clinical psychology. She wants to become a grief counselor (we have none in our area, she has to drive an hour away to go to her sessions) and offer free support to families that have suffered a loss.

    The point I am trying to make: You have to keep the faith. God does things and let’s things happen for reasons that we don’t and can’t understand. I still have days where it feels like a cruel joke, but I know I will see my sweet Sophie once again, she will be in my arms when I get to Heaven and there will be no more pain and no more tears. I’ll admit that I look forward to dying so that I can be with her again, but I won’t lose sight of the fact that I still have a purpose down here. I still need to change this world, do my part, and plant seeds before I can see her.

    Take care of yourself. Eat food. Try and find at least one thing positive in each day, and build upon it. I know you feel like you are trapped in a dark tunnel right now, trust me, I have been there. Time helps ease the rawness of the pain, but it will never go away. I hope you find comfort in my words and those of others on this site that have all been down the road you are on. We are here for you brother, stay strong.

    In Christ,

  254. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    My wife was very encouraging yesterday, but to no avail. She looked at the positive, but I see no positive. We had been saving up all year, so we would have enough money for Sophia in the summer. I work at a school, so most school employees get the summer off. Now we have this money in my savings account and no daughter to spend it on. People ask me if I’m depressed and I tell them that I am not. What I feel is a trillion times worse than depression. I smile, I laugh, and I joke sometimes, but inside there is this feeling that prevents me from really laughing, smiling, or joking. I feel like a robot when I laugh or smile. Like my body does it because that is what it is suppose to do under those circumstances. I really don’t feel happy. I haven’t felt happy. I remember when I had Sophia how happy I was. It was a happiness that was unexplainable. It was a joy that I knew could overcome anything. Now I think about that day all the time. I picture the last time I saw her alive, when she was struggling to breath on the little bed they were using to treat her. I didn’t think it was the last time I would see her alive. When I saw her again she was on the little bed and life less. She was warm, but getting colder by the minute. I remember not crying when I first got to the hospital. I kept thinking that the whole thing was a cruel joke and that this could not be happening, not to me and definitely not to her. I’ve stopped eating. I hate to eat. I try to limit my meals to once a day, which I do. I get this pain in my stomach and head when I don’t eat. It calm me when I don’t eat, because all I think about is food and how hungry I am. When I eat the hunger goes away and I just get angry and upset. I start thinking about that day again and I just get angry. Like I said before, I hate life.

    • Martin Connors says:


      Brother I hear you! If I were to say to you that one day you will smile again, would you believe me? If I were to tell you the pain will subside – but never go away because you’ve become accustomed to it? I am sitting at my desk on the family computer and I am crying…for you, for myself, for my son, for your baby girl.

      You have to eat because you need to be strong…don’t worry about being strong for anyone else…you have to be strong for you. If you can’t be strong for yourself, when you’re needed you won’t do anyone any good. I am not one to preach as I puff away on a cigarette dangling from my lips, squinting with one eye as the smoke irritates the other.

      A few days after Timmy died, a man named Mickey Hirsch contacted me. A very generous man who is a member of our club. Mickey asked me the very same questions, and he was asked the very same questions when his boy died.

      It’s okay to be angry. It’s what you do with the anger that will define you as a man. From what I have read from your posts, brother, I see you as honorable and good. I see you as a man in pain, in pain the same I am and the other dads on this site. But above all I see the love you have for Sophia. That is the silver lining in this dark cloud hanging over you.

      I see Kelly using this site and his book to dispel his demons. I write about my son and if I have a sudden death investigation I pass on my knowledge to the parents or family. I see Kirk looking to music and the cherished memories. David gardens and writes poems. Please if you have a hobby or talent use that medium to burn that angry energy.

      I didn’t cry until maybe an hour…maybe more, maybe less after Timmy was pronounced. I wanted someone’s head on a pike. I was fortunate that three times I was stopped. My priest told me 3 is so repetitive in religion as a magic number…a holy number. Does that mean 3 angels stopped me or put someone in my path? I may never know. Still I know this: my anger did not get the best of me.

      Lets find some peace together.


  255. Joe Z says:

    Greetings, I have lost 2 children, our daughter died at 26 weeks in utero and my wife had to endure the pain of delivering a child who was gone. I got to hold her in my hands an she was so tiny but all there, fingers, toes. The second child was 16 months old, he was so full of life and happy. One night while the kids were watching Titanic and my wife and I were talking in the kitchen about who would stay home from church with Justin (he seemed to be getting sick, he was tired of and on most of the day). Justin laid down in his playpen for a nap. After my wife and I finished talking I got up and went to the bedroom to get ready to put the kids to bed, My wife screamed and ran into the hall holding Justin, he was blue and limp. I grabbed him and laid him in the living room where I did CPR for 20 minutes (EMS, Fire went to wrong house). After about 10 minutes I stopped and begged God to help and “not to do this” and “take me not Justin”. The EMS crews arrived and took over, they loaded Justin into the ambulance with his mother while I called to get people to watch the kids. After about 15 minutes I had enough people to watch the kids safely and took off for the hosipital. Once there I saw my wife in a wheelchair crying surrounded by nurses and heard them “working” on Justin from behind a curtain. After a few minutes the doctor came out and said there was nothing more they could do and at 8:56 PM on May 5th 2010 my 16 month old son Justin was pronounced dead. We spent over an hour with him taking turns holding him in heated blankets to keep him warm. Then the coroner and State Police requested to speak with us. We explained our story and that Justin didn’t make a sound. Just feel asleep. Two days later 5 people became sick including myself and 4 other children and we rushed to the hospital. Our next youngest was lathargic and vomiting. They treated us with oxygen and did blood tests. We eventually found out it was contaminated well water (Nitrates,nitrites and coliform bacteria) that was the cause.

    At Justin’s funeral we stayed at the graveside while the kids used that little shovel to toss in a few scoops of dirt, I asked the grave tender for a shovel and proceeded to fill in my sons grave myself, my son Joey helped by picking out the rocks from the dirt. That was the last humanly thing possible I was able to do for my son.

    I know Its been a while since Justin died but with all the kids being killed lately and especially the kids just getting buried alive the scars and memories have ramped up and having a tough time the past few days. I decided to look up sites where fathers can go for support. We are expected to be the strong hold it together men society expects and for the most part I put up a good front but am truly falling apart on the inside. Only my kids and wife keep me from going crazy. Yet they don’t even know how bad I am hurting.
    Well Just wanted to share some of my story and to all those who have lost a child, I hope you find some peace and hold on to everything and don’t take one day for granted, especially with your kids because you just never know!

  256. Kirk says:

    When Ashlyn died, that first weekend I heard this song and have heard it at least 2 times a week since. Sometimes I feel its a message from above meant for me from my daughter telling me to have faith.

    Artist Plumb
    “Need You Now (How Many Times)”

    Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
    And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
    I want to believe there’s beauty here
    ‘Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
    I can’t let go, I can’t move on
    I want to believe there’s meaning here

    How many times have you heard me cry out
    “God please take this”?
    How many times have you given me strength to
    Just keep breathing?
    Oh I need you
    God, I need you now.

    Standing on a road I didn’t plan
    Wondering how I got to where I am
    I’m trying to hear that still small voice
    I’m trying to hear above the noise

    How many times have you heard me cry out
    “God please take this”?
    How many times have you given me strength to
    Just keep breathing?
    Oh I need you
    God, I need you now.

    Though I walk,
    Though I walk through the shadows
    And I, I am so afraid
    Please stay, please stay right beside me
    With every single step I take

    How many times have you heard me cry out?
    And how many times have you given me strength?

    How many times have you heard me cry out
    “God please take this”?
    How many times have you given me strength to
    Just keep breathing?
    Oh I need you
    God, I need you now.

    I need you now
    Oh I need you
    God, I need you now.
    I need you now
    I need you now

  257. David says:

    Without this site, and the Legacy – ‘Loss of a Child’ site, it is sure that I would not be doing so well. There is strength in numbers, being able to talk with others about our losses, giving each other encouragement to be strong. I try to mention Bernie whenever possible, so that he is not shuffled out of the way and forgotten, to remember the day each month when he left me, his birthday, etc. He was a good 45 y.o. guy who lived with his loving dogs in his own studio attached to my cottage, and at 74, I really did not expect to do this part of the journey alone.
    Strength and courage to you all, and keep loving your Nick until you meet again.

  258. Martin Connors says:

    Greetings brothers,

    I was watching a repeat of Castle, one of my favorite shows. This song by Pearl Jam played at the closing credits. I listened to the lyrics and broke down because it seemed an Epiphany because I felt it was my life. I thought I would share with you.

    “Just Breathe”
    Preformed by Pearl Jam
    (and for you C/W fans Willie Nelson has a great cover)

    Yes, I understand that every life must end, uh-huh
    As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, uh-huh
    Oh I’m a lucky man, to count on both hands the ones I love
    Some folks just have one, yeah, others, they’ve got none

    Stay with me…
    Let’s just breathe…

    Practiced all my sins, never gonna let me win, uh-huh
    Under everything, just another human being, uh-huh
    I don’t wanna hurt, there’s so much in this world to make me bleed

    Stay with me
    You’re all I see…

    Did I say that I need you?
    Did I say that I want you?
    Oh, if I didn’t I’m a fool you see
    No one knows this more than me

    As I come clean…
    I wonder everyday, as I look upon your face, uh-huh
    Everything you gave
    And nothing you would save, oh no

    Nothing you would take
    Everything you gave…

    Did I say that I need you?
    Oh, did I say that I want you?
    Oh, if I didn’t I’m a fool you see
    No one knows this more than me
    And I come clean, ah…

    Nothing you would take
    Everything you gave
    Hold me til I die
    Meet you on the other side…

  259. Dave Contreras says:

    We lost our younger son Nick on January 13, 2011. It was an accident at home. It is undoubetedlt the worst day ofmy life.

    Like so many men here I have not bee nthe same man since, nor will I ever be the same man I was before then. My wife and I early on sought help. Bereaved Parents, Grief Share, and counseling. We also had to continue to raise our older son who is now a freshmen in college. I don’t have to tell you we were not ready to be empty nesters. It is so hard everyday. But God has goten through this. Our son, “Nick” would have been a sophmore in high school.

    My son Nick was energetic, talented, a musician, an artist, a very good swimmer, he loved life, loved animals, and he loved people. We have spent the last 2 years plus keeping him alive in our hearts.

    We are both active in Grief Share and act as facilltators. It is most helpful in our journey if grief. But in addition, my wife who survived cancer about a year after our son went to heaven, has recently had it return. It has created more struggles, but we know God is on our side.

    I have struggled personally with the burden of feeling alone often unless I am with those who also are walkiing the same path as I in that we lost our children. I hope to be of comfort to others and look forward to the rest of my life if only to do my son justice by helping others who are also members of the club no one would ever want someone else to be part of.

    Thank you for having this website. I hope to be able to contribute if that is possible. God Bless you and all the fathers in here.

  260. David says:

    ‘Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.’ – Confucius.

  261. Martin Connors says:

    The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.
    ~ Hamlet
    Act 2, Scene 2
    Wm. Shakespeare

  262. David says:

    Martin, it helps so much to have the support of a friend.
    Let us be strong, and take this wicked medecine for our boys.

  263. Martin Connors says:


    I can appreciate your missing Bernie. I am a month and two weeks from Timmy’s death two years. I hope you have some peace today and the days to come.

  264. David says:

    Berns, my son, nineteen months today since you went to your new life.

    Three years ago you worked so hard cutting out the overgrown bushes at the new house, and we had drinks by your new fire pit, with Lady and Lucky. Seems like yesterday, and yet so long ago.

    Miss you every day, Bernie, more than yesterday, less than tomorrow. May God always love you, like we do.

  265. Kirk:
    I hope you find inner strength from Ash. I don’t know if I could even be able and it’s almost 2 years for me since Timmy. I wanted to be a pall bearer for my son, but wasn’t allowed. I felt I carried him when he was born, I showed carry him in death. I wanted to give eulogy, but was only allowed to write it. I understand all the reasons I wasn’t allowed, but I had a lot of pride in being a father to my son…not to mention I am not all that traditional when it comes to funerals or other church traditions.

    I am sure Ash would do in Heaven as she would on Earth and heard your prayers.

    • Kirk says:

      Guys, made it through the funeral and pallbearer duty pretty painlessly. Was once she we first got there and saw the wife we got teary. and once when the cruiser blocked traffic for us. I used to be a reserve officer here and when Ash died we got a honor salute from one of my fellow officers and to me that was huge. I believe Ash was indeed there with us and gave us strength. We also met with an old friend who 7 years ago lost her daughter. That was most beneficial to gain the comfort and understanding of having losses like ours.

      Thanks for the support during the test

      • Martin Connors says:

        Kirk! That is wonderful!!! As I said, I don’t know if I could have done as you. I admire you for that inner strength. Perhaps by meeting up with your friend with her loss, everyone was moved to be together by the departed. I believe in that. 🙂

      • Martin Connors says:


        I have to apologize. I didn’t see the FB message until tonight a week later. Thank you for the Prayers!


  266. Kirk says:

    Facing a hard task tomorrow. Have to travel to Wisconsin for a funeral. First funeral since Ashlyns passed. Im not sure how this is gonna go but I have to be a pallbearer and speak. I know all the emotions of Ash’s funeral will be present. Easter we went and put spring flowers on her site and cried of course. Funny how just driving by some of her favorite places are just too much. Ashlyn loved Ken and his wife Nancy. I prayed that Ash meet Ken in heaven and show him around. Thats just the kind of kid she is.

  267. I was woken up from sleeping on the sofa. I was still working on the same job from the night before and when I got home, I worked on Tim’s basket – just putting the finishing touches. I then hid eggs around the living room for my daughters. When I got done I cried because I found myself remembering Timmy looking for eggs…and especially his 2nd Easter where he woke to find his basket guarded by two Spider-Man action figures. In each of his eggs was either jelly beans, a piece of chocolate, or a Hot Wheel car.

    I don’t know what I would trade to have those moments to relive. I am sorry you were robbed of those moments with your princess.

    Yeah you are right, I’ve seen the same with some fathers not doing anything for their kids. I always found that unacceptable. I’ve made mistakes being a father, but I put my kids first – above anyone else. My mom taught me that aspect. I’m watching the news and seeing this dead-beat winning $300 Million +. I pay my child-support for my surviving son. HIs mother (not Tim’s) made it difficult to have a relationship the way I wanted to have with him. But I believe in Karma…


  268. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    There are dads out there who don’t even give their living children Easter baskets. I watched my niece look for Easter eggs yesterday. I realized that ill never get to watch my daughter look for Easter eggs. Even with a child who has passed away, you are a better father than many dads who have children that are alive.

  269. I survived the holiday. Locked up a guy who stabbed a complaintant in the chest, punctured the pericardial sac. The victim is alive; he was defending his 6 year old daughter. He’s no angel, but he’s a daddy doing something any one of us would have done. You would think for one day there would be peace.

    I went to my sons grave and left his basket. I have pics of it on my FB page and blog.

  270. David says:

    May the Resurrection remind us that new beginnings are possible, even in the most difficult circumstances; and may our children be experiencing more joy in Heaven than they ever had on Earth.

    A Happy and Holy Easter to all.

  271. Kirk says:


    We all know your pain as it is our pain as well. Losing my daughter was the most heartbreaking event of my life. November 15th will forever be etched in my mind as the worst day i have had and will have in my life. In December I lost one of my brothers and it didn’t hold a candle to the pain of losing my daughter. I agree with you we are all great fathers with great kids that we cant hold, kiss, play with but they will always be our kids and we will always be here for each other as long as we can.

  272. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    I know what you mean. I got a call from a cousin of mine telling me to suck it up and get over it. He called me one week after my daughter had past away. People who don’t know how it feels like to loose the most beautiful gift in life should not be giving out opinions or comments. You didn’t make any mistakes. I can tell that you are a great father. We all are great fathers.

  273. Thank you brother.

    I was accused of forgetting my mistakes and doings. How could I forget? Then I had to put in perspective, the accusation came from a dumb-ass who had no relationship with her own children.

  274. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    Thank you for the support Martin. I am very sorry for what happened to Timmy. I saved a few precious videos of my daughter and I watch them over and over. It’s all we have left of them. I do believe that we are all father’s of the year, because we loved our children more than anything.

  275. David:
    This is something I wrote about the What if game last year.

    Saved Voicemail and Dominoes

    There some days I listen to my voicemail messages. I have a voice mail saved from Timmy from two months before he was killed. I sit and listen, save, listen, save again, listen again…some days afraid that if I don’t listen to the voicemail, it will be gone. I also have the message from Mayor Nutter calling me to express his condolences. I can hear his voice cracking…it has the sound of fear – the fear that any decent father has for his children. I have that saved, listened, saved again, listened again. I don’t know why I save it. Its a painful memory, I save and listen to over and over. I just sometimes need to hear Timmy’s voice. Sometimes to remind myself that he called to say good night and that he loved me. Sometimes I imagine that I am talking to him.

    The night he called, I was working overtime, and I didn’t pick up the phone when he called. I have moments of guilt for not picking up the phone and talking to him. Other times I am glad I didn’t; I have his voicemail message to save.

    I had taken his dog to the pound a few days before, maybe a week. He didn’t speak to me for about a week. The dog had bitten me during an argument Tim and I were having. A stupid argument that should never had happened. An argument that began and set in motion because of a stupid argument over a computer virus that some jerk-off somewhere in the world loaded up onto the web. I have days where I wish I could take back that day and start over. I have days where I wish I never yelled at him. It wasn’t his fault. It was all because some ass wanted to destroy someone’s computer out of spite; vandalize a hard drive and hijack freedom at its ultimate expression.

    Its all part of the What If game.

    What if Tim hadn’t gone to the Internet that day?

    What if Tim hadn’t gone to school on May 17th?

    What if I got there ten minutes earlier?

    What if I didn’t suspend his cell phone for a month?

    What if…?

    What if…?

    I lost my son to a series of stupid moments. All the moments lined up like dominoes in my head…in my imagination. One domino sets everything in motion – a cause and effect; a cascade effect of calamity. One domino equaling one moment set in motion other moments. I play it out in my head sometimes. I watch the science shows on quantum mechanics…time-space continuum, the foam, the bubble, worm holes, branching universe, decision trees. My sorrow meshed with a disdain for Stephen Hawking and his ilk.

    I write my memories down – not to show myself as “Father of the Year” – but to one day leave as a gift to his sisters. I write my relationship with him. I don’t want any mantel or award – the pedestal is too high should I fall off. I simply write of my love and life with Timmy.

    Like it or not. He was part of me, is part of me, and will forever be part of me.

  276. David says:

    That is so true, that we would all have preferred to be the one to die, instead of our precious children. I keep re-living certain of his last days, and his last evening, and keep asking myself the same old futile questions, ‘What if ……. ?’

  277. Ryan Shafer says:

    Gilberto I am very sorry for your loss. It just isnt fair when we walk into a hospital with a child and walk out without one. I too feel you when you wish it would be you that had been taken instead of our daughters.

    • Gilberto Gutierrez says:

      Thank you Ryan. It really is comforting knowing that there are people like you out there that have gone through the same pain I am going through. Thank you for understanding that I would have given my life in a heart beat to save my daughter. Knowing that you would do the same makes me realize that I am not out of touch with reality. Sorry for your lost as well.

  278. Kirk says:

    WOW what a tribute! Awesome my friend.

  279. Gilberto Gutierrez says:

    I was at work and I had just finished eating when I received a few miss calls from my mother in law. My cousin, who works for the same school district that I work for, was on his way to pick me up from work. He called me and stated that it was an emergency and that Sophia, my beautiful daughter, was in the hospital. Sophia had an appointment at the hospital that they and at first I didn’t think it was a big emergency. I thought that she had had some complications and that she was going to be kept over night, maybe a few days. My cousin, my brother, drove me to Saint Mary’s hospital in LongBeach. When I got to the emergency room my wife and my mother in law where crying. Someone told me that Sophia’s heart had stopped beating and that the doctors were trying to start in up again. Someone mentioned that her heart had stopped for fifteen minutes, but at the time I refused to have heard such statements. The doctor came in to where we were and mentioned that Sophia’s heart had started to beat again. I still couldn’t believe what was going on. The doctor asked if I wanted to go see my daughter and I said yes. I went to see her on the other side of the wall. I went with my wife. There were probably twenty doctors and specialist working on my daughter. I went up to her and she was breathing, but she had tubes running up her nose and on her arms. She was breathing in and out and I remember that I just wanted to kiss her. I just wanted to take her and hold her and love her and feed her. I just wanted to not believe that she was going thought this. My love, my life, my everything was dying. I was speechless, emotionless.
    My wife and I went to the room on the other side to wait. We waited for another fifteen minutes before we were led to a waiting room. All I could think of was my daughter and how all this seemed liked a hoax, a sick hoax. How can someone so sinless and so vulnerable be going through this. How can someone so defenseless and so innocent be put into such a situation. I can still remember Sophia’s whimpers, how she would sigh when she was tired and wanted to go back to sleep. My wife and I would state how that was how Sophia wanted to tell us to leave her in peace and let her sleep. We held her a lot and we always kissed her a lot. I never liked putting her down and I always enjoyed kissing her all over. Sophia on the other hand, didn’t like getting kissed and she would always make a face when I kissed her. She would get particularly annoyed when I kissed her in her sleep. She just wanted to sleep. I was with my wife and my mother I law and her sister in a secluded room in the hospital, not far from where they were working on Sophia. Time passed and in walked in two or three of the doctors that were working on Sophia. They came out and told us that Sophia’s heart had stopped beating again and that this time they couldn’t get her heart beating again. She died at 1:33pm on March 6th 2013. She died fourty five days after she was born, only thirteen days after her expected due date. She was born at thirty five weeks, preterm. I didn’t cry, I didn’t believe what had just happened. My mom lost it, my mother in law and her sister lost it, and my wife was just crying. I was just there. I couldn’t believe that God had taken such an innocent life. I sinless life. I remembered that I had just held her the night before. I didn’t think that less than twenty four hours later she would be gone. I eventually cried, but not hysterically. My wife cried, but not hysterically. My mother in law, my mom, Leticia, my mother in law’s sister, they all went bananas. I didn’t go bananas, I just cried in disbelief. We went in to see her, deceased and all. She was on a gurney made for babies. I picked her up, she was big. She had been gaining two pounds a week, the doctor has told us. She was also tall, standing at twenty one inches on her due date. My cousin, who is six feet six inches, told me that he was twenty one inches when he was born.
    My wife was a bit hysterical. I remember how I kissed Sophia and she was still warm. Her forehead was still warm. I held my love, my joy with both my arms like I had done the night before. I couldn’t believe it, she was gone. God took her from me and she was gone. We held her for a while, each taking turns. Everything was sinking in. I remember how the day before I was imagining how Sophia was going to be an athlete and a scholar. I was deciding on what sport she would play and on what college she would attend. I was telling my wife how Sophia was going to skip high school and go straight to college. I always believed that high school was a waste of four years. Now I was holding my baby, still warm and all of my dreams were gone. The priest came in and baptized her. God took her before we could baptize her. She died in the same hospital where she was born. We held her for as long as they let us hold her. She had many folds on her leg, she was starting to get real big, real fast.
    They took us back to the room where the news of Sophia’s death was mentioned to us. Eventually, four or five police officers from the LongBeach police department came in to question us. They were real polite. We had to wait a few hours for the homicide detective and the coroner to arrive. Later, both the coroner and the homicide detective began to question us and asked us about our daily routine with Sophia. We told them how she was planned and how we fed her every two to three hours. We told them how we held her and how we stayed up with her when she woke up at night. We told them how we changed her every two to three hours and how my wife had an app where she logged all of Sophia’s meals, diaper changes, and sleep habits. Both the coroner and the homicide detective were very polite.
    The coroner then asked me if I wanted to see my pride and joy before she took her to the coroner’s office. I went to see her alone. I kissed Sophia again on her forehead, but this time her forehead was not as warm. I just wanted to put life back into her, but I couldn’t. She was turning gray and blue. The love of my life was gone and I couldn’t do anything about it. My brother in law and the rest of my wife’s family showed up. They were very apologetic. I remember watching my niece hiding behind my sister, she’s almost two years old, and I remember just wanting to take her home with me. My older sister is due with her second child this week. I remember seeing her and wanting to ask her if she could let me have her baby when it was born. I didn’t think it was fair that she was going to have two children and I had non.
    I walked out of the hospital pushing the stroller. It was empty and I remembered how when my wife came into the hospital in the morning she had Sophia in the stroller. My brother in law helped me roll the stroller to the car and on my way to my car a police officer who had interviewed me stopped me to return my license. I noticed that he wanted to say something to me, something of condolence, but he was lost for words and so he walked back to his car with a sad reaction on his face. I was lost for words also. If only I would have died instead of her, I would have been so happy.

  280. David says:

    Michael Owen’s tribute to his parents in his retirement statement broke me up. What a great guy. Wish Bernie was here.

  281. Kirk says:


    Were going to do a little basket for Ashlyn and spend some time with her. Prior to Ash’s death we would have Easter at our house with my wifes family. That tradition has stopped and we will be going elsewhere. Every special day reminds us how much we miss her.

  282. The thought of Easter coming has me upset in a way, and creative. I’m crafting an Easter basket for Tim’s grave. Hot glue gun is somewhere in the house. I go