From One Grieving Dad to Another

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We asked grieving dads on social media to tell us what they would tell another grieving dad: What would they share to help someone else understand their deep Father's Day grief and everyday grief? There is really no way to introduce the responses we got. We wish we could have included every single one. Today, this Father's Day, we'll let a few of these grieving dads speak for themselves...

Paul Sanders

Paul Sanders; my enemy named silence; letter from a grieving dad

Jeremy Earney

Jeremy Earney; I had a great nine year with my Lexi; letter from a grieving dad

Bob Maxwell

Bob Maxwell; Mike and I were best friends; letter from a grieving dad

Terry Burgess

Terry Burgess; I had a dream about my son; letter from a grieving dad

Mark Myers

Mark Myers; I may look the same; letter from a grieving dad

Dan Noordman

Dan Noordman; losing my son was more than losing a piece of me; letter from a grieving dad

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After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible, real-life book!

What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.

You can find What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss wherever you buy books:

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26 Comments on "From One Grieving Dad to Another"

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  1. Michael Hampton  July 21, 2022 at 5:31 pm Reply

    I am a dad of a beautiful daughter that is now 22 and two handsome boys walker 19 Tyler 18 , and I have loved watching my kids grow and always been there to catch them if they fell when they were little and even as they grew older and never fussed at them for doing wrong but always there to give that advice and the encouragement they could do better, and as a firefighter I also missed a lot out of their lives from having to work to make ends meet working double shifts but my sons mainly looked at me as if I was superman and I was fireproof and I could walk through fire, and in my mind and knowing I have had some close calls. I have been asked many times what what my biggest fear and really only had one and that was something happing to one of my kids and never thought it would happen until Oct 9th 2021 when my son was killed by the hospital that was suppose to save his life and they done other then do that. I begged and begged for the to give him a certain medication and they refused and looked at me as if I was stupid, and me as dad I done all I could to save my sons life and failed him has his dad , his hero and the very day I got the call from the doctor to get to the hospital it wasn’t looking good was one of the highest pills I’ve ever had to swallow and that was look at my son hold his hand and tell him good bye, that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done as man, a person,human being and daddy. Still I carry that burden that I tried and failed but my son knew I loved him and still today it’s been 9 months and still feels like yesterday I was holding him for the first time and then having to tell him bye. And it’s all to much to bare and to much to deal with because he owes my son and best friend and will greatly be missed. How am I suppose to adjust and how am I suppose to process this ? I still can’t and there haven’t been a day that I have not cried missing him.

    • Jenni Veneruz  September 5, 2022 at 12:07 am Reply

      Michael I lost my 20 yr old son a month ago. He would be 21 this week. The healthcare system failed him. No one knew how to help him. I am living with the same guilt and devastation wondering if there is something else I could have done. I miss him so much and still feels like it happened yesterday. I am not the same person i was before and don’t know how to manage the knowledge that I’ll never get to see his beautiful smile again. He was a wonderful soul as I’m sure your son was. Sending you strength.

  2. Pamela Witt  June 19, 2020 at 12:42 pm Reply

    I lost my husband last year on Valentine’s Day. My 2 fur children are older and I know I will lose them within the next 6 months. My parents are 85. The next few years, I am not done with loss. I move forward, but don’t move on from the love I had for my husband. I hold my fur kids close and tell them I will be there for them until the very end like I was with their daddy. Mark Myers, your words resonated very strongly with me. So true, so very true. I may look the same, but my life changed on February 14, 2019. I, too, no longer want to tolerate meaningless and petty attitudes and pursuits. I won’t waste my time on things that don’t matter. The caliber of people and conversation I seek is full of truth and transparence. In grief, there is no place to run, no place to hide. You can. But it doesn’t work. Better to be truthful and transparent. And so I, too, say I am radically different inside in this grieving life — take me or leave me.

  3. Gary Boyce  June 18, 2020 at 2:05 pm Reply

    I lost my Dad when he was 57 and had retired for a year. I was 24. It was tragic terminal cancer that took him in months after being told he had a year. I was away at college and my Mom told me-stay there and finish your year do not come now. Well I went to my professors and took early exams and finished up early and let my Mom know. By then he was in then hospital in his final stages and when I got down I saw him twice in 3 days in a coma and then he was gone. My last conversation on phone with him was I was going to come down and play some golf with him-it was a tough call he was not all there and under heavy drugs at home. Which was basically home hospice until they needed to call the ambulance a few times and they eventually took him in for his last days. I came into the room and saw him-It was horrible and he was yellow with jaundice and not responsive but when I told him I was there and had made Deans list even Mom saw a slight smile-the most they got in a long time. It was 2 days later and he was gone. What I miss most was not being able to talk with him about corporate life that I was in and he worked in all his life till he was forced to retire due to a bad heart. I was just coming of the age to realize how valuable he would have been. Then it hits you-the coulda-shoulds-woulda`s- the lack of calls from college to him etc…… I still look back on it now in sadness but it was all so sudden and Moms wishes were to stay and finish school-there was nothing I could do to help an that Dad would have wanted that as I was the first to go to college in the family that was all NAVY. I felt bad afterwards that I bucked that tradition but was again at the urging of my parents to go to college and get a degree that they would pay for. He was a good Dad-good man who just wanted to work all week and come home and golf on saturdays and church and rest on Sunday. The picture of “Pleasant Valley Sundays” he provided for us. When he passed he then took complete care of my Mom who kept the Florida condo they bought and lasted just 3 years ago to 92. All those years without him. Now I find myself in that very place as I lost my wife and she was 62 and I live on. Its not a pleasant existence and I can only envy those who pass close together. But this is Fathers Day and I wish I could have a catch with him-he loved baseball-his Mets from NY Giants days. Like I said A GOOD MAN. A man before his time he was a devout strong Republican- but my story from my Mom was that when looking for their first home to escape the Bronx they went to rent a home in Levittown NY- the agent said “you know your next door neighbors are black” and he said to her “Lady I just want a home for my wife and kids I could care less if they were men from Mars”! She said they were good people and they got along as best as could be. That little moment and line always impressed me. We were talking 1961! Yeah he was a good man- husband-father-provider. What more can be said. Love you Dad.

  4. Joe  June 18, 2020 at 1:20 pm Reply

    Just one more thought. How many of you have heard over and over again “I can’t even imagine” from parents who have not lost a child. They are right, they can’t get within 1/1000th of how bad it real gets. Its like speaking Spanish to an African. They just cant understand you. Only until it happens to you can you truly grasp the HELL you live.

    There were times (dozens of times) that me and my wife were running around the house screaming out in pain like crazy people or sitting on the floor in the corner crying uncontrollably rocking back and forth like mental patients. That went on not for days or weeks but for months and even years. (we are now 4 years into our hell).

    Not trying to bum out the group, just relaying our daily reality. Yes, you will survive but you will NEVER be the same person again. Sorry to break that to new loss parents. Happiness simply does not exist in our lives anymore. We somehow got around to living with a some sort of making the best of living in hell is all. None of you would be here if it wasn’t front and center for you each day right???

    If I solved world hunger, won a billion dollars in the lottery and cured cancer, it wouldn’t be worth losing my son. Just keeping it real.

    For those of you who have broken out of this and have somewhat “recovered” well good for you. I mean it. We are just not there (not from a lack of trying) that’s I’m here and you are too. We are all looking for a unicorn that doesn’t exist. We know its not there but this is all we have so we keep coming back. ;(

    • Wanda  June 10, 2021 at 4:59 pm Reply

      I read this, Joe, and my heart broke for you (if there is any more of it to break). We know your pain. We screamed and cried in the corners. Couldn’t sleep for more than 2 hours at a time, then awoke to cry some more, or walk around dazed when the tears stayed inside. We are 8 years out now. We never could have imagined what we would be feeling at 2 years, 4 years, 8 years. The thought of the rest of our lives without our beloved daughter is more than we can bear, so we don’t dwell on it, still living one day at a time. I wonder how you are doing now? We found a Loss of a Child support group, and it helped to be with others that “get it”. Just a safe place. Over the years the edge of our pain has dulled from a sharp knife edge to an ache we carry with us. Some days it still overwhelms us, but other days we can feel our daughter’s memories with both sadness and joy. I hope you are finding that to be true for yourselves on occasion. Please know that your grief is unique, but you are not alone. There are others that understand and will walk alongside you in your pain. Some of us are no longer afraid of such things. We have known the worst.

    • Jan  June 20, 2022 at 6:46 pm Reply

      Just posting to let you know my heart is with you and your wife as you continue to grieve. Wishing you some measure of peace. From one grieving human to another.

  5. Herbert Kimmel  June 18, 2020 at 9:41 am Reply

    Hello to all Fathers, I have been reading all the posts on this site today – just 3 days before Fathers Day. I’m a father too, I’m up in years now, had my share of ups and downs in life. too, but today I was given a chance to see that my own life is not the only – (though sometimes it seems that way to me). I shed my tears and heartfelt feelings for the men who are fathers and admire the courage to open up about their experiences of being a father, husband or son. I have only one son, though I don’t get to see him that much, but always glad to see him (there was a time or two that we almost lost him, watched him go thru his ups and downs too. He still struggles thru setbacks, health problems, but he handles it all like a real trooper. (I’m proud of him). I’d like to share an experience I had a number of years ago – My son and I had a falling out (details are not that important), but I sent to a fathers day dinner with a friend on fathers day (this was some time ago). When we got seated, I spent the afternoon thinking of my son when he was still a little boy, as I thought about it I looked around the large room, and noticed a young couple with a baby at the table, I also watched a middle aged man leading his elderly father to the table, I also noticed a teenage boy walking with his father – also I saw a 2 young girls walking with their father to a table. The servers were very respectful to all the fathers. I remembered a key chain my son gave me when he was in grade school that read “Number One Father”. It was a sad day for me but as I had my dinner I especially noted the many different family get togethers, a girl or boy with their father as well. What did I get out of this? All fathers love their children. I read some sad postings on this site as well, and I can tell you that I share your heartfelt stories as a father too. We are important to each other regardless of our circumstances or backgrounds. I love all the fathers on this site – and I respect each of you. Happy Fathers Day!!

  6. Joe  June 18, 2020 at 8:21 am Reply

    I have also lost a son. To those new to this, let me tell you my reality. NOTHING helps, it really doesn’t. Not councelling, not going to church, not reading a book (although i tried all of them in my desperation). There is only ONE solution to our problem and unfortunently, that will NEVER happen.

    Here’s what did help: Crying with my wife, drinking heavily, going on 3 hour walks, playing words with friends.

    Sorry to all who have lost a child, there is NOTHING in the entire universe worse, I know.


  7. Scott Raymond Brown  February 26, 2020 at 12:39 pm Reply

    I lost my first and only boy 6 weeks ago. he was 20 months old and in great health, when he unexpectedly succumbed to SUDC. I cry every day for him and would do anything to have him back, but i know thats impossible. Its been 6 weeks and have yet to see a councellor or therapist due to a backlogged health care system. All i have for now is stories from parents like you to help me through this time. As you all know, there are no words to describe the constant pain and agony, and I get little comfort in hearing IT WILL GET EASIER, though thats generally the advice given. Im not sure what I intend to accomplish with this post, other than to vent it and try to put it into words. My heart aches for anyone who has or had to go through such a traumatic experience and I really wish nobody would ever have to again. I just try to make little Hudson proud of his Daddy. Thats all I can do for now.

  8. Jose  February 8, 2020 at 2:38 am Reply

    It’s been over a year since I lost my son Elijah and my daughter Norah in a car accident. My middle daughter survived. But we are all traumatized and scarred by the accident. I don’t think there’s been a single day that I didn’t she’d a tear for my kids. I love them so much and miss them so very very much. My trust in Jesus has helped me. I have two treasures waiting for me in Heaven.
    For all the dads here, I know the pain doesn’t go away. But please seek help. For me talking has saved me. I’ve met a group of dads I can talk to. If you need help don’t be afraid to reach out. You are not alone.

  9. Patrick Lynch  August 26, 2019 at 9:13 pm Reply

    My son Michael was a Freshman in High School. In March 2017 , he was hit by a car and killed right at the end of our block while walking to school. The day my son was hit was the same day my wife was starting her 2nd Round of Chemotherapy for Stage 4 Uterine Cancer. I believe Michael’s death kicked the “fight” out of her. I buried her 6 months after we buried my son. As you all know, life changes forever. No more “Saturday Morning” feeling of freedom and zest for the day ahead. The way I look at God has changed. “everything happens for a reason” has been replaced with the reality that this is indeed an imperfect world. The selfish part of me maintains faith in an afterlife solely for opportunity (in whatever form) to reunite with my wife and son.

  10. Humberto  August 22, 2019 at 1:50 am Reply

    I lost my eldest of three boys November 7th 2017 at 12:25pm, Julian who was 18 years old at the time of his car accident.

    Life is different, I hold tight to my faith and trust in God’s timing.

    I’ve learned to connect with Julian spiritually, guide myself based on the energy when I meditate, pray and think of Julians beautiful smile.

    I will never be the same but I will live through life knowing that Julian is in a better place guiding us until the day we meet again.

  11. tommy  August 19, 2019 at 7:58 pm Reply

    Lost my son year and a half ago it’s getting harder not easier. I like most of you feel like I’m the only one I don’t know what to do I think it will eventually take over. It is very selfish to just want him back. I’m tired every day and the days never stop or even slow down. If not for my wife I would give up some days. My faith has been tested and I feel like God would never do this . just a little guidance

  12. Natasha Henry  June 15, 2019 at 8:09 am Reply

    We lost our firstborn son 30 years ago…buried him on Fathers Day …to Cot Death
    We lost our 19 year old daughter 2 years ago to Suicide…buried her on Mothers Day 2017…Lost 4 Babies to miscarriage…heartbreaking everytime…it never gets easier…we just have to deal with the pain…32 years together…and grief has now broken us apart…it is sad❤❤❤ but yes sharing our pain and our stories….OUR JOURNEYS…has been my healing…just was so hard for dad..????

  13. Michele  June 13, 2019 at 5:49 pm Reply

    As a mother I am so grateful for these stories. My daughter was killed last April in a horrific car accident five days before her 23rd birthday. I feel so selfish at times. Like I’m the only one who feels like this. I talk about Cate constantly but my husband rarely does. I have sent this to him and I believe it will help him with his grieving. All these dads are so brave and I bow to you. All my love

  14. Timothy Hay  June 12, 2019 at 10:09 pm Reply

    This Father’s Day will be one of the worst I will ever have. You see, my daughter was born on Father’s Day 38 years ago. We lost Eileen last year to a horrible car accident on July 14th. I barely get out of bed sometimes. My heart aches every day. ???

  15. Erik Velez  June 8, 2019 at 3:31 pm Reply

    Thank you all for opening up. My wife and I were expecting twin boys. Andres was born sleeping at 33 wks 6 days and Elias in grave condition. Elias spent time in the NICU while we were rooting him on, also while trying to plan a funeral for Andres… How f’ed up is that?!?! Nobody should ever have to bury a child, especially an infant.
    Got home 17 days later with their room full of double everything… definitely traumatic experience to where I’m numb now… My emotions aren’t the same. My new Happy isn’t the same Happy when we found out we were expecting twins… Some people say “you should be grateful you at least have one of them…” or “maybe God intended for you to have only 1…” Are you kidding me?
    Now, 3 years have gone by and we skiddishly welcome our rainbow baby girl… We both still think about our sweet Andres and what happened that scary night/emergency delivery… it brings pain, sorrow, and tears.
    We’ve found a community of others that have lost a child(ren) and part of that “club” now… a club where nobody should belong.

    No matter your scenario, once a father, always a father. Try to take some time out of your day and honor your loved one and yourself.

  16. Stephan hall  April 29, 2019 at 8:24 pm Reply

    My dads in a bed dieing I’m a dad 2 kids who I love an a woman who puts up with me. I’m struggling with what is happening n I’ve got pissed n looked on heear for answers not thinking I would find em but ya do and I thank you for that your all very brave people and I hope that in time we all forget or remember or remember to forget you know what I mean
    Thanks from a son n father

  17. kathy  June 6, 2018 at 8:51 pm Reply

    Thank you to the couragous men who shared these painful experiences. I honor you and your loved ones. My brother and his wife killed themselves, in their fifties. There were only two of us kids. My dad is 88. His only son. It doesn’t help to ask “why” but you do it anyway, over and over. Daddy does not want to read painful things about death or talk about Tom’s death. What’s the use? He tells me. I don’t know how to help him. Men of his era don’t cry or go to support groups. He finally got on antidepressants. They seem to help a little. I want all the help I can get processing my grief. But what can I do to help him? He’s a wonderful man and father. It’s heart-breaking.

  18. Craig Miller  June 6, 2018 at 2:26 pm Reply

    My son my best buddy was killed in an accident two weeks before Christmas 2017. Tim was 28. It doesn’t matter the day…Christmas, Father’s day Arbor Day or September 6th…. Nothing will ever be the same. I carry the loss inside me always. My heart goes out to everyone everyday who have suffered a similar loss. Grieve, seek support and be good to one another. Love, Craig

  19. Frank  June 23, 2017 at 2:05 pm Reply

    I lost my son 3 years ago and also feel a part of me is gone. I struggle but slowly my ‘good’ days are outnumbering the bad ones. Time does heal somewhat but Andy’s memory lives on.

  20. AJ  June 19, 2017 at 9:06 am Reply

    I feel privileged to have read what you all have shared. Thank you for that. Brought to mind Stephen Levene’s writings and how to dwell in pain (physical or emotional) without losing hope. My husband’s version of this is “riding the wild horse.” Peace and love to you.

  21. David Hommel  June 19, 2017 at 7:39 am Reply

    When you are a son and a father, Father’s day is a celebration. When your father dies, Father’s day takes on a new dimension of grieving amid the celebration of your own fatherhood. Then, later, when your son dies and you spend your first Father’s day with neither a father nor a son to celebrate, a terrible lonliness embraces you in its cold arms.

  22. Rumaldo G.  June 18, 2017 at 5:50 pm Reply

    Yes I have lost my son, name is his Ethan, he had a SIDS four months old in 2/2001. I has been hard time my feelings about his life. He did not getting any sick or else. He was very happy and laughed as good health. But he gone.


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