My new book Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back is now available. You can order a copy of this book today by clicking on the “Buy Now” button below or click here to purchase through Amazon. When you order a copy of this book from my website, I will donate a copy of this book to a grief support group or organization of your choice or mine if you do not have a preference. Thank you for supporting this important project. Please see reviews and sample Chapter 1: To the Brink below.
Note: Discounts are available for bulk orders. All bulk order inquires and Grieving Dads buyers located outside North America should contact me via email for further information.
“Kelly Farley just “Gets It”. No one that needs to read this book, wants to read this book. Every word on the pages leaps out at me. I too am a grieving dad. I have made many desperate attempts to “get better”. You can’t really ever recover. This book is about the journey, and others that have taken the unwanted travel into “The Great Sadness” of losing a child. Grieving Dads gives you hope so that you might be able to breath again.Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back“ – Wayne, GA
“After losing our newborn son 4 years ago I have learned there isn’t much out there as far as helpful grief books. I purchased this for my husband, only to crack it open and find that I couldn’t put it down. Bottom line is that it is straight-forward and honest. Being married to a Marine, we’ve had our share of losses in dealing with deployments, combat and death. But losing a child is a thousand times worse and sadly what adds to it is the lack of support we found from our immediate circle of family and friends. This book “gets it.” I now have a book to recommend to others who sadly find themselves going down the same lonely road. But I guess that’s the point, after reading this you suddenly realize that there are many people facing the same grief, and somehow just reading about their stories helps you to deal better with yours.” – Julie, MI
“This book tells it like it is for a man who is going through the greatest grief of them all, the loss of a child. This book doesn’t just focus on one type of father and one type of situation. It has a very well rounded approach that will provide something for every father who understands what it is like to grieve.” – Reviewer Unnamed
“The book is brutally honest. The author has interviewed several different fathers who have lost their children due to many different causes at a wide range of ages. I picked up some very good insight from the fathers who have been there before and I can relate to those guys. It’s hard to talk about it to someone who hasn’t experienced it, but reading this book has given me some comfort in knowing that there are a multitude of resources out there that will help you.” – Kevin, MO
“This is an ‘about time’ book that helps dads who have suffered the loss of a child. The reality is that there are not too many books to help this population of bereaved parents. Thank you Kelly for having the endurance and courage to write this book and thank you every father who gave their hearts and stories in knowing that through doing so it would help other grieving dads. This book will help change society’s perspective about how fathers grieve and ultimately help you in a huge way if you are part of this unfortunate club of fathers.” – Jim, CA
“This book will be extremely helpful to both fathers who have faced the death of a child and very enlightening to anyone dealing with a bereaved father or anyone interested in the subject. The book and stories are brutally honest and not sugar coated, which I think most men would probably prefer. I could not recommend this book more highly to anyone who has had a child die or knows a dad who has been in this situation.” – Sheldon, VA
What Other People Are Saying
“Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back provides a rare glimpse into the aftermath of what grieving dads deal with when their child has died. This book helps the grieving dad realize that they are not alone in the pain inflicted by the death of a child. This book is a wonderful antidote to the invisibility of men’s grief in our culture.”
- Tom Golden, LCSW, author of Swallowed by a Snake and The Way Men Heal
“Written from a guy’s perspective, Grieving Dads is a must-read for any man who is grieving and for the women who love them. Written by the most important kind of expert, someone who’s been there, Kelly Farley openly discusses his own struggle to find hope again after the loss of his two children, Katie & Noah. Kelly’s collection of survival stories by men is powerfully delivered, and speaks to the resilience of the human spirit with messages of support, guidance, and hope.”
- Dr. Heidi Horsley, PsyD., LMSW, Executive Director of Open to Hope Foundation, and adjunct professor at Columbia University
“Kelly Farley’s research and publication of both personal and candid stories from bereaved fathers will help fill a void of literature about men describing their grief journeys following the loss of a child. It is critically important and vitally necessary to provide information to ‘grieving dads’ to educate them, their spouses, and other family members to help them all understand and to learn from the grief journey of others.”
- Ralph Goodrich, Co-Regional Coordinator for The Compassionate Friends of the State of North Carolina and Co-Leader of the Charlotte, NC Chapter of TCF
“Kelly Farley is speaking to an audience that has sought to find its own voice after tragedy struck their lives and he has given it to them. As a grieving father, I have made the journey back and many have joined me on this quest. By compiling the stories and the emotions of dads like us, Kelly is creating a how-to book on looking into the abyss and realizing the light truly shines in our lives after we lose a child. He has lived the pain and is now helping others to move through it to see the joy that still exists in a world interrupted.”
- Barry Kluger, fellow grieving dad and author of A Life Undone: A Father’s Journey Through Loss
“I feel like I “know” or have met these men whose stories Kelly shares about in Grieving Dads…their lives/experiences have deeply affected me. I know that I am now better equipped to offer this resource and suggestions to other grieving dads and/or their family members. I have several friends who lost children…years ago…I wish I would have had this book to hand to them back then. I know it would have made a difference in their grief journey. What a wonderful gift Kelly has created.”
- Joyce Gilmour, Independent Facilitator of Love and Logic® Parenting Curricula, and Copy Editor, Editing TLC
Sample Chapter 1: The Brink
Their stories are terrible. All of them.
The people in these stories are men who have been through the death of a child. Some of these men have abandoned any sense of what being a “man” may have once meant to them. Some are still trying to hold on to how society defines being a real man. Some of them abandoned God. Some of them found God. But all of them have held on to one thing that remains constant — one thing that never diminishes, no matter how much time has passed by.
To a man, they have held on to the overwhelming desire to trade places with their child. Willingly, and without hesitation.
I know I would have. So would they.
All of them.
The first of “all of them” was Angelo. Like me, he came to be a member of this horrible, not so exclusive club some years ago. Like me, to this day he continues to ask questions for which there are no answers.
But I asked him some of those questions anyway. And I did the same when I talked with Nick,Ed,Kent, Steven, and Phil, among many others you will get to know in this book. I did that, you see, because all of us have something in common.
We’ve been to the brink.
Some of us are still standing there, while others have started to back away from it.
For all of the bad things a man might encounter in his lifetime, there can be nothing that comes even close to the loss of his child.
According to Nick, “Losing a child is the worst loss a human can feel.” This he says from a knowing perspective. The kind that comes from losing a daughter to a heroin overdose.
There were many other “knowing perspectives” gathered while talking with the grieving dads I’ve met. Like the one from Kent, who watched his son, Chris, take his last breath at the scene of a motor vehicle accident.
Or Ed’s “knowing perspective.” His came as a by-product of finding his 17-year-old son, Joey, hanging from a ceiling fan.
Ed helped cut Joey down.
And afterwards, like many fathers who have had to endure the shock, trauma, and agony of losing a child, Ed often wished that something would happen to him, not only because he wanted the pain to stop, but he wanted to see Joey again — if only for the chance to ask him, “Why?”
I told you their stories were terrible, didn’t I?
Well, I wasn’t kidding. Their stories are indeed terrible, and quite purposefully raw. There are no candy-coated messages to be found here. No empty talk about another angel in heaven or the death of a child being part of God’s plan.
So, if you are holding this book in your hands with the expectation that you’re going to read the same sort of “self help” drivel you can find everywhere else, you’re in for a disappointment.
If this book ever gets made into a movie, I promise you it won’t be a chick flick. It wasn’t written from a woman’s perspective. It wasn’t written by a Ph.D. in psychology. It wasn’t written by an Oprah Winfrey book-of-the-month club author, either.
Instead, it was written by men who are part of a brotherhood shaped out of unimaginable loss, unbearable grief, unrelenting despair — and all the things that come along for the ride. Seemingly harmless things like averted glances or thoughtless comments. Not so harmless things like ruined relationships, new addictions, and a sense of apathy that threatens to destroy the last fragments of meaning in a man’s life.
Some people will read this book and say it’s “the truth.” Others who read it will say that it’s “morbid” or “dark.” Well, let me tell you something. There is nothing — nothing on this earth as dark as the death of a child! But allowing these grieving dads to express themselves through this book, however dark it may be at times, is the best way I know to bring everyone involved back to the light of day.
Yes, we’ve been to the brink. And many of us are still teetering there, perched just as precariously as you please, vacillating from moment to moment about whether to seek rescue or simply give up and jump over the edge.
Fathers, you see, aren’t supposed to grieve the same way that mothers do. Society has placed certain demands on men that preclude them from dealing with loss or disappointment by wearing emotion on their sleeves or even talking about it openly. For sure, men aren’t supposed to lose control. They are expected to toughen up, get back to work, take it like a man, and support their wives.
And if they must cry, by all means they should do so in private.
My own journey through these dark expectations began with the crippling anxiety that comes from losing not one, but two children. If I thought that the death of Katie, the cherished little girl that I would protect and love forever, would be the worst I’d have to deal with in my life, I stood corrected just 18 months later when my son, Noah, died, too.
After Noah’s death, I could no longer hide behind the denial that sustained me through Katie’s passing. In dealing with the loss of Katie, the luxury of plunging myself into my work and the needs of my wife insulated me from my own buried emotions, as I told myself above all else to simply keep moving. There was no time to stop and think about things or allow myself to feel anything. If a chink started to appear in my carefully constructed armor — if I began to “let my emotions get the best of me” — I just hit the gym or dove into a home improvement project.
And of course, I never, ever talked about how I felt.
But when we lost Noah, my body and my mind completely shut down. None of the things that helped me to reject the reality of losing a daughter would suffice in the wake of losing a second child. Forget the gym — I barely had the energy to get out of bed. Forget work, too. I saw no point in it, and couldn’t have completed the most mundane tasks even if I could have made it to the office.
For the first time in my life, I really didn’t care if I lived or died. In fact, in the three months after Noah’s death, the greatest effort I exerted was making a phone call to my office to take a leave of absence. I wasn’t asking for permission, either. I was making an announcement, and if the job was still available should I decide to return — fine.
If not, I couldn’t care less.
During the time I was away from work, I started a desperate search on the Internet, seeking other dads who had gone through the pain I was experiencing and who could maybe give me some reasonable insight into what I was going through.
For the most part, this was a waste of time. I found very little out there on the Web that came from other dads, and the few grief support resources I did encounter were aimed at moms instead. Sometimes, there was information available that was geared toward couples — but when they specifically mentioned the fathers, most often they gave advice about how husbands could help their wives through the tragedy.
In short, as a grieving dad looking for answers from other grieving dads, I was quite apparently shit out of luck.
That’s pretty much why I wrote this book.
Like most men, when there is a problem, I am inclined to look for ways to solve it. The lack of support for grieving dads is a good example of a problem — one that could perhaps be fixed if there was some kind of resource out there for dads. Since I couldn’t find such a resource when I needed it most, I set about creating one.
The result? This book, among other things.
Within these pages, you will meet several fathers who, like me, understand the depths to which this pain travels.
Yes, their stories are terrible. But as close as their stories came to pushing these men over the brink, they also helped to pull them back.
Read these stories — terrible as they may be. Because if you do, I promise they will shine some light on more than just one path back from the brink. And with a little hope, maybe you’ll find one of those paths to be the direction you’ve been looking for all along.