November 1, 2009

Thought for the Day

Posted by: rick @ 7:56 am
Mourning is not forgetting… It is an undoing. Every minute tie has to be untied and something permanent and valuable recovered and assimilated from the dust. The end is gain, of course. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be made strong, in fact. But the process is like all other human births, painful and long and dangerous.
– Margery Allingham, The Tiger in the Smoke

October 19, 2009

One year out

Posted by: stevo465 @ 8:10 pm

As October got nearer and nearer I thought about what would I do on the 20th, the first anniversary of my daughter Stephanies death last year at age 24. I wanted to do something, but a special event doesnt suit my personality, nor what Stephanie would  have wanted. My older son Tim has grieved at his pace only going to the cemetary 8 months after the funeral with his young family as a side trip. In my own manly manner I was not going to let a calandar day force me to grieve . I would grieve as the need arouse.

 But life doesnt always let us be such good planners. My sister called Sunday night and said she wasnt sure if she should tell me some news. I teased her and said, after facing Steph’s death last year what could possibly bother me now? She quietely told me that my 36 year old niece had died that day of an apparent drug overdose and like lightening from a clear blue sky my nice, neat manly plan to control the grieveing of my daughter came crashing down in a wave of tears and sobbing like so much heavy thunder, and I fell back into my seat. 

You would have thought after this past year through the waves of grief I would have learned that life isnt so simple and surely not controllable.  Come Friday I can at least offer my brother and sister in law a knowing ear and try to comfort them from one who  has lost a child. And that by itself, like our fathers group, helps us go on . Steve Robinson

Stephanie Robinson 2008

Outlets That Release the Pain

Posted by: rick @ 5:05 pm

First, I invite you to read Chris’ wonderfully open and insightful comment to “Grieving At My Own Pace” before reading this.

Yes, our culture has for a long time and still says to men, “Don’t cry. Be strong.” This destructive message and pressure flies in the very opposite direction of how we (all humans) are made: to release all emotion, whether it’s laughter because of joy or tears because of pain.

Between 1996 and 2000 I went through my fourth, fifth and sixth knee operations. It was an extremely painful time. The combination of the long-term physical pain along with the sadness of knowing that I could never again do things I greatly loved (running, tennis, etc.) produced a form of a broken heart and deep grieving. I was struggling because I didn’t have enough outlets…healthy ways of releasing the pain that was building in me.

During the course of having physical therapy after my sixth operation, the therapist told me about a certain technique that releases pain, which gets stored in our bodies. She explained that pain gets “bottled up” in tissue called fascia.

Each of the two fascia release treatments I had was a profound experience and proved to me just how the body, mind, heart and soul needs to release pain. After the treatments, the pain transference I had to my “good” knee left and I gained more degrees of flexion with my new knee than what could be gained in three weeks of PT.

I learned so much. During those difficult years, I should have cried more. I should have had some one to talk to; a really close friend I could open up with throughout that time. I should have gotten more than just the little pain management counseling that I did.

What are the ways you have or might consider letting out the pain?

On a scale of one to ten (ten being the greatest extent of letting the pain out), how would you rate yourself? Has this changed over time?

October 15, 2009

Grieving and Respect

Posted by: rick @ 7:07 am

Steve’s comment to “Grieving At My Own Pace” reflects how vastly different two people can grieve the same loss.

I read in his words and in his tone something I have come to find an important quality in how spouses grieve “together.” In a word: respect.

It’s important that I respect the way my wife grieves. It’s very important to me that she respects the way I grieve, too.

The respect provides in its own way messages of courtesy, honor, and a regard that emulates love.

October 13, 2009

Grieving At My Own Pace

Posted by: rick @ 8:36 am

As I’m grieving the recent loss of my father, I see how the grieving process is different among various family members. Susan, my wife, is grieving differently than I am, and it reminds me of the significant differences in how and when we grieved after Warren died.

I try to  take a “no fear” approach to grieving. I’m honest and open with the pain and all that comes with it. Susan has a delayed reaction and a slower process approach, which she sees and acknowledges.

I saw this when our daughter was severely injured in a car accident several years ago, as well.

How would you describe the way you grieve? Whether it’s your spouse or another close family member, what’s different in how they mourn?

October 6, 2009

A Father’s Mourning

Posted by: rick @ 6:26 am

My father passed away three days ago.

Included in the many thoughts and feelings that come with grieving this loss, I’m pondering what kind of father he was and the kind of father I am and want to be.

I want to be sure to reflect the finest qualities of love: patient; kind; not proud; not rude; not self-seeking; not easily angered; cheers what is true; always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres.

To be sure, I learned a lot from my father. And just as sure, I learned a lot from Warren, though he spent a very, very short time on Earth. Warren opened my heart and mind to more love. His life and death taught me a great deal about that last love quality: persevere. One of the many reasons I can and do carry on is because of love.

(It’s interesting to see that within the word “persevere” is the word “severe” which means…according to an online thesaurus…uncompromising, stern, difficult, harsh.)

Although grieving is a difficult and harsh process, there’s a way in which I’m being good to myself and being true to the reality of my life circumstances when I persevere; not out of stubborn, angry determination, but out of love.

October 2, 2009

My name is Rick. My son’s name was Warren.

Posted by: rick @ 10:20 am

Greetings. I’ve decided to join you as a member of Fathers Forever, and I look forward to meeting each of you.

When talking with Craig and hearing him describe this blog, it reminded me of something I wanted very much to do after Susan (my wife) and I lost Warren in 1987. Between my being in the magazine publishing industry, my passion for it, and my great need and desire for pouring out my feelings and thoughts over the loss of our first child, I envisioned a magazine titled “Tides…Riding the Waves of Change.” I thought it would be good for me to write and good for others who experienced loss to read.

I was struck by something I saw at the end of a grief support group for parents like you and me. Susan and I went twice. The 14 or so attending sat in a large circle. At the end of the hour of discussion, mourning and tears, the last thing the counselor did was kick-out with her right foot a box full of books on the subject of grieving. As the box glided across the floor to the center, she invited us to help ourselves, and in a flash, half of the group pounced on the box. So many greatly yearned to read.

Over the years, I’ve read some, yet something in me prefers to write. So, I told Craig I would contribute regularly to this blog with some of the thoughts and questions that are as relevant today as they were 20 years ago, as well as with perspectives on the issues particularly keen to you in your ongoing walk.

Now it occurs to me, I never wrote anything to Warren. What would I write? Where would I begin?

“Dear Warren, my son, the only time I held you was when you were dying. You didn’t even live a few hours beyond birth. But my love for you lives on and always will.”

I think it will be good for me to finally write him a letter.

And so, as I gear-up for contributing to this blog, I wonder…

Are you more of a writer or a reader? Have you ever written a letter to the child you lost? If so, what was it like for you to craft it? What articles or books have been especially rich for you to read?

Again, I look forward to meeting you and to your comments and replies here.

June 19, 2009

Happy(?) Fathers Day

Posted by: david @ 7:05 am

Ah, another Fathers Day.  For me, it’s now bittersweet; the painful stab has dulled to a sting, and I’m more focused on what I have (including happy memories) than what (who) I lost — though that’s not far from my heart and mind.

Of course it’s different for everybody, so wherever you are this Fathers Day — emotionally and geographically — my thoughts are with you.  Hope you can find some peace.

April 30, 2009

The “club” nobody asked to join

Posted by: david @ 6:56 am

I’m struck by the depth of the relationships I’ve made thru Fathers Forever — with men who, but for our respective tragedies, I probably never would have met or had anything in common with.  Chalk it up to life’s strange twists and turns…  -David Domeshek

April 29, 2009

FF Globe Article

Posted by: craig @ 2:06 pm

Very much appreciate Bella’s thoughtful article.   I hope that it serves to reach out to other fathers and that FF can grow to provide understanding fellowship, conversation, and even friendship to those bound by life’s most challenging loss.   With added talent and initiative, it’s my hope that we can do much more for each other, our families, and ourselves.   For me, time spent with FF is something I always look forward to; I hope it can be that way for many more.  Craig

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