I know it’s been awhile since I have posted something on my blog, but for some reason have been struggling with things to say. To be honest, I am getting to the point where I feel like I have said everything I had to say. I apologize to those that depend on me for insight into what they are feeling, especially the newly bereaved or those who have recently found this blog. I can assure you that there are previously posted topics that I did write about that connections can be made with. Not to mention the men that has continued to post on subjects and offer support to the new comers. I appreciated their help with reaching out to the others that need it. As I have said before, there is healing in helping others. This isn’t a post to say I am done blogging on the topic of men’s grief, not even close. I will continue to post on topics that strike a chord with me; you just never know when those will occur.
I have transitioned my focus to conducting training workshops to help caregivers on the front lines understand the pain bereaved parents feel and how to help these individuals, especially the men. If you are aware of any organizations (hospitals, not-for-profits, hospice, chaplain organizations, funeral organizations or military loss groups) that would benefit from the training I offer, please let them know about my full day and ½ day workshops. Who better to train these individuals on parental bereavement than someone who understands the impact all too well?
I have also been focusing my time on the Farley-Kluger Initiative (www.FarleyKluger.com) to changing the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to include the death of a child as a reason to qualify for the benefits allowed under this existing law. I still find it hard to believe that you can take 12 weeks of unpaid time off when a child is born, but when that child dies, you only get 3-5 bereavement leave that your company may or may not provide. We were in Washington DC last week to meet with over 40 legislatures in the House and Senate. I am happy to announce that a Bill was introduced in the House by Congressman Steve Israel (NY) and Senator Jon Tester (MT) while we were in DC. Very exciting indeed, but we still have a lot of work to do. When need help from others that are willing to help us fight for this Bill to make sure it gets passed to help others. We hear it only has a 10% chance of ever becoming a law. Which would be the case if we were the only two people working on it, we need help. If you are interested joining us on this, please contact me. We have a strategy to get other elected officials on board to support these Bills, but need help implementing it.
I just wanted to give an update for those who thought I have disappeared from this blog and was just laying low hanging out on my couch watching TV. There has been lots of exciting things going on and I appreciate all of the encouragement I have received. Those that have read my book know that one of my messages is “find a purpose to honor your children” and I believe everything I do with and for bereaved parents are a direct result of losing Katie and Noah. I am honored to have been able to help others and to sit with/speak with them when they are the lowest point in their life.
The following was sent to me by a fellow grieving dad and thought it would be a good thing to share here. Sound familiar?
I have been told that in the face of adversity you must be positive.
Since the death of my son Christian I am positive about many things.
I am positive that losing my son is the hardest thing I have ever endured.
I am positive that I loved him more than words can say.
I am positive that every day without him is hell.
I am positive that I will never be whole again.
I am positive that I will mourn his death the rest of my life.
I am positive that I will do every thing I can to keep his memory alive.
I am positive that I have to fight every day just to be ok.
I am positive that the only way I would feel great is to have him back.
I am positive that I would give my life if could have his back.
Christian, I am positive that I will love and miss you the rest of my life.
I have been watching the news coverage of the shootings in Newtown, CT on and off for the last two days. The innocent lives taken from this community within minutes has been heartbreaking to watch, but yet I can’t help myself. The trauma, pain and shock that these people have had to endure is staggering. Many of the people that follow me on this blog know the pain of losing a child. Although our circumstance are all different, we all know what it’s like to hear the words “your child has died.” These are words that never leave you.
Watching Robby Parker, father of little Emilie, try to talk about his little girl was heartbreaking as he tried to hold it together. He is a proud father telling the world how special this little girl is and sharing her with millions of people while also trying to help the others that have also been inflicted by this horrific event. As a fellow grieving dad, I wanted to put my hands on his shoulder, sit with him and cry with him as he tells her story.
To be honest, it would be an honor to sit with all of these newly bereaved dads (and moms) during the darkest days of their lives. We all know the road they have before them as they try to support their families while also trying to deal with their own emotions and pain.
I can’t help but also think about the father of the shooter who also lost a child. He too is grieving the loss of his son while dealing with the weight of knowing his son was responsible for inflicting all of this pain.
We all know that the lives of these people will never be the same, that their lives have been changed forever. All innocence has been lost. The road to survival will be long and dark.
I ask that you join me in sending prayers to the people of Newtown and to the families of the children lost.
Wishing you all peace.