Richard Returns

August 4, 2010

It’s been over 14 months since Richard’s death. Last night was the second time I’ve seen him in a dream. This still surprises me. Seems like I’d dream about him all the time. But I don’t. This time he was only there for a few seconds. I don’t remember the exact details, but it seems […]

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Testing One, Two, Three…

Thumbnail image for Testing One, Two, Three… July 27, 2010

It’s been there for over a year now. Sitting right on my computer desk. One of the things I brought home from Richard’s apartment was that microcassette recorder pictured above. There were several cassettes, all looking new and unused. I finally popped them into the recorder and hit play. They were mostly blank. But on […]

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Another Brick on the Walk

Thumbnail image for Another Brick on the Walk July 27, 2010

We have another Richard brick. There’s a nice little park located in Frankfort, KY called Cove Spring Park. Way off in the back corner, tucked into the trees is a beautiful memorial garden sponsored by The Compassionate Friends of Frankfort, KY. At the center of the garden is a raised round flower bed, with a […]

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Travel

Thumbnail image for Travel July 19, 2010

We went on a short vacation last week.  I‘m not a big fan of traveling, but I think it helped. Staying busy is a good thing. It helps you stay out of that dark hole grieving parents can sink into so quickly. But it seems to help more if it’s something out of the ordinary. […]

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Living the Years

Thumbnail image for Living the Years July 13, 2010

I like the Abraham Lincoln quote in the picture above. In many ways it describes Richard’s time here on earth. He had a lot of life in those short years. We have a big montage of him. There are many pictures of him doing things, trying new stuff.  There are so many more similar pictures […]

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The Camaro Conundrum

Thumbnail image for The Camaro Conundrum June 28, 2010

It just never seems to be easy. There is a 1997 Camaro sitting in our driveway. It’s been there for several years now. It doesn’t run. This was Richard’s car. I bought it for him from the cousin of a coworker of mine while Richard was still in high school. It looks pretty good and […]

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Happy Birthday Lucas Holt

Thumbnail image for Happy Birthday Lucas Holt June 23, 2010

Dear Lucas, We’ve never met. But I’ve thought of you often during the past year. Just wanted to send you a quick note to wish you a happy birthday. I’m Richard’s dad. I’m sure you two have met by now. He’s got the plot just up the hill from you. I visit him often. While […]

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Observations After a Year

June 9, 2010

We’ve made it through our first year as grieving parents. I thought I’d post a few observations. Even after a year I still can’t believe this is real. I’m still waiting to wake up and the nightmare to end. I’ve only seen Richard in one dream. I would have expected to see him many times […]

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One Year

May 28, 2010

We’ve completed our “year of firsts.” We had several days to remember. Mother’s day was the anniversary of the last time we saw Richard. It was a tough day. May 22nd was the last time anyone in the family talked to him. Debbie called him that Friday evening about his plans for the weekend. She […]

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Mother’s Day

Thumbnail image for Mother’s Day May 10, 2010

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. A hard day for all bereaved moms. It was Debbie’s first Mother’s Day with Richard gone. It came with all the pain of no longer having him there to tell her “Happy Mother’s Day”, of not getting another goofy card from her kid and from just knowing he is gone. But […]

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Richard the Cutlery Salesman

Thumbnail image for Richard the Cutlery Salesman May 2, 2010

Richard and I were often told how much we were alike. I’m sure that didn’t bother me near as much as it did him. But it was true. In fact, I came to think of him as the new improved version of me. One example of the apple not falling far from the tree – […]

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Spring In The Cemetery

Thumbnail image for Spring In The Cemetery April 23, 2010

Though it often hasn’t felt possible after Richard’s death, life does indeed go on. Spring is when nature shows us there is hope. There is new life. I took my camera to the cemetery this morning. Even in a place that is the focus of our pain there is also much beauty. Hope you enjoy […]

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Last 1040

Thumbnail image for Last 1040 April 15, 2010

April 15th. Tax day. Doing my taxes has never been one of my favorite things. Probably not yours either. Just seeing all that money that was taken away from us, and knowing it was just the tip of the iceberg with all the other taxes we pay on a day-t0-day basis, I usually end up in […]

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Feel Like a Tennis Ball

Thumbnail image for Feel Like a Tennis Ball April 11, 2010

Back in my college days I liked to play tennis. Never was very good at it, in fact my girl friend at the time used to beat me every time we played. I feel like I’m back at playing tennis. But this time I’m the ball. I’ll be depressed and in the dumps. Then – […]

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To An Unconquerable Soul

Thumbnail image for To An Unconquerable Soul April 9, 2010

Invictus – William Ernest Henley Out of the night that covers me,
 Black as the pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be
 For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance 
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
 Under the bludgeonings of chance
 My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond […]

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Grieving Dad’s Project

Thumbnail image for Grieving Dad’s Project April 5, 2010

I stumbled upon this site today. Geared toward grieving dads. Kelley Farley is a bereaved father that’s had two children die. He has decided to write a book to help grieving fathers. His website tells his story and leads to a survey where you can tell yours. He hopes to get enough stories about dad’s […]

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Easter

Thumbnail image for Easter April 4, 2010

It’s Easter Sunday. Another big family gathering day. Another check mark on our Year of Firsts check list. Our first Easter without Richard. I really hate these Year of Firsts check off items. But I’m pretty sure I’ll hate the Year of Seconds, and the Year of Thirds and on and on etc., etc., just […]

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When There Are No Words – A Review

Thumbnail image for When There Are No Words – A Review April 3, 2010

It seems most of the books about surviving the loss of a child are written by women. This probably isn’t a surprise. Grieving is all about feelings. Most of us guys get queazy when we have to deal with feelings. We just don’t talk about feelings much. We have them, but we would rather you didn’t […]

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Journal Writing

Thumbnail image for Journal Writing April 1, 2010

After your child dies you become desperate for something that helps ease the pain. Anything that will bring healing. One tool often recommended by counselors is journal writing. A journal gives you a place to put your thoughts, frustrations, remembrances. This blog is my version of a journal. I’ve found it helps to get some […]

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Grieving Dads Do The Funniest Things

Thumbnail image for Grieving Dads Do The Funniest Things March 24, 2010

My boss at work came into our break-room last night, where I was eating my supper. He said, “You win the award.” “What award?” I asked. “The one for making the biggest part order in company history.” He handed me a sheet of paper. It was a copy of an email sent to cancel the order. I […]

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Burnt Bacon

Thumbnail image for Burnt Bacon March 21, 2010

Richard was a Boy Scout. His troop was very active. They did a lot of fun things, and of course camping was big on the list. One morning Debbie was fixing breakfast. Frying bacon. Richard came into the kitchen and asked, “Mom would you make some of the bacon black?” “Why?” she asked. “We had some like […]

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The Grandmother of Grief?

Thumbnail image for The Grandmother of Grief? March 21, 2010

Both days of the recent conference by TCF Frankfort, KY opened in a session with Darcie Sims. She told us, “I’m probably the oldest member of TCF,” at least based on the time she’s been a bereaved mom – 34 years. In fact she was one of the early leaders in growing TCF into a […]

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How to Decorate a Table

Thumbnail image for How to Decorate a Table March 21, 2010

We’re attending the regional conference of The Compassionate Friends in Frankfort, KY this weekend. The conference began in the main conference room of the Capital Plaza Hotel. The tables were very nicely decorated. But I have to tell you, this is the first party I’ve ever been to with such unusual table decorations. Part of […]

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St. Patrick

Thumbnail image for St. Patrick March 17, 2010

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Pictured above is my uniform for the day. They were Richard’s clothes. One of the sacraments in the Catholic church is Confirmation. When we were babies our parents chose to have us baptized into the Catholic church. When we get older, usually middle school aged, we confirm that we choose […]

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TCF Regional Conference

Thumbnail image for TCF Regional Conference March 14, 2010

We’ve been doing some crafts lately. Making some pretty horseshoes. We’ll be going to the Frankfort Compassionate Friends regional conference this coming weekend. The people attending the conference will receive a gift bag. I don’t know what all will be in that bag, but I do know it will have a real nice horseshoe. The idea […]

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Sportsaholic

Thumbnail image for Sportsaholic March 13, 2010

I was often told that Richard was just like me. While not always true, one area we were in sync was our love of sports. And Richard was a sportsaholic for sure. Richard wasn’t a gifted athlete (sorry kid, but it’s true). But he had a big heart. He loved to compete. And I think […]

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Life Returns to the Cemetery

Thumbnail image for Life Returns to the Cemetery March 12, 2010

I guess it’s true that life goes on. This winter has been long and cold. Really it has been cold since Richard died. I don’t remember a summer as cool as the past summer was. The grass stayed green the entire time. And the winter bleakness has lasted very long. But it seems life is […]

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When Should You Return to Work?

Thumbnail image for When Should You Return to Work? March 10, 2010

A big question many of us must face after losing a child is when do I go back to work? Most are probably like me – you need the money, so you have to go back as soon as your employer’s funeral leave has ended. My employer gives us 5 days paid time off for […]

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Onions

Thumbnail image for Onions March 8, 2010

One of the best things for spiritual healing is to get outside. Into the sunshine – into the light. Winter makes this hard to do. But spring is finally offering it’s first teasing tastes of better days ahead. This weekend brought us temps in the low 50’s and sunshine. I went out to my garden […]

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Lighting Candles at Church

Thumbnail image for Lighting Candles at Church February 28, 2010

The Compassionate Friends have an annual candle lighting ceremony and lighting candles is an important ritual in the Catholic Church. I light candles for Richard at least once a week. So why do we light candles? In lighting candles we see our prayer rising up to heaven. We join our prayer in solidarity with others […]

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Miracles

Thumbnail image for Miracles February 24, 2010

Church can be a dangerous place for a grieving parent. In his sermon Sunday, Father Bill mentioned some miracles. He started with several taken from the Bible, including the story of Christ raising a little dead girl back to life. Father Bill then told us of a local family. One of the boy’s in the family […]

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Richard Introduces Us To Ivy – Sort Of

Thumbnail image for Richard Introduces Us To Ivy – Sort Of February 19, 2010

Many times Richard and I were told we were just alike. One of our shared quirks was not liking it when someone was watching over our shoulder. We like our privacy. When Richard was in his late teens and early twenties he didn’t often share what was going on in his “private life” with us […]

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Grieving Dad’s

Thumbnail image for Grieving Dad’s February 18, 2010

The following is from We Need Not Walk Alone, the national magazine of The Compassionate Friends. The Father’s Grief By David Pellegrin TCF Honolulu, HI At my second meeting of The Compassionate Friends about three years ago, one of the mothers said how nice it was to see a man attending, since “men grieve differently from […]

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TCF Frankfort Website

Thumbnail image for TCF Frankfort Website February 11, 2010

“Our” chapter of The Compassionate Friends launched a new website recently. If you live near Frankfort, KY and have lost a child or sibling you should check them out. They’re having a conference in March. Details are at the website: http://thecompassionatefriendsfrankfortky.com/

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Faith

Thumbnail image for Faith February 11, 2010

Faith seems to play a big part in dealing with our grief. It even played a part in causing our grief. Faith in the medical profession was a big factor in Richard’s death. I’m sure the generic seizure medicine caused him to have his last seizure. We believed what they all told us – that […]

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Perpetual French Fries

Thumbnail image for Perpetual French Fries February 4, 2010

I don’t guess this really has that much to do with grieving, but it’s sort of amazing. In the week before Christmas I was on vacation. Debbie wasn’t, and since she works at our church, Christmas is one of her busy seasons. I went in to help her one morning with some stuff to get […]

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Tree Thieves Strike

Thumbnail image for Tree Thieves Strike February 3, 2010

Christmas was always a big deal to Richard. So we put out a Christmas tree at his grave and one at my mom’s grave which is located right behind Richard’s. We used live trees, intending to plant them somewhere later. They were in pots. We just dug into the ground and buried them up to […]

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The Dream Fades

Thumbnail image for The Dream Fades February 1, 2010

They say all good things must end. And so it seems to be. I had a dream a few weeks ago. It gave me a great sense of peace. The feelings from the dream were strong, but they’re fading. Lately I’ve been thinking about what it was like for Richard in those last moments. How […]

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GriefNet.org

Thumbnail image for GriefNet.org January 27, 2010

GriefNet provides email support groups for all areas of grief. There are thirteen groups listed for loss of a child. GriefNet asks for a $10 per month donation to be part of a group. They say no one is turned away for financial reasons. They do offer a one month free trial so you can […]

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The Grief Roller Coaster

Thumbnail image for The Grief Roller Coaster January 19, 2010

Life after lossing a child has been a big roller coaster ride. There have been a lot of deep plunges into the unknown. And then there have been times the track has leveled out, maybe even climbed a small hill or two. But the ride continues and the path ahead is uncertain. Right now the […]

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It Seemed SO Real

Thumbnail image for It Seemed SO Real January 14, 2010

Since Richard’s death I haven’t dreamed about him. There was the one weird dream about him making comments on Facebook. But he hasn’t been in my dreams in person. Until last night. It was one of those incredibly vivid dreams. The kind that seem so very real. Intensely real. And Richard was there. Alive. I […]

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Footprints

Thumbnail image for Footprints January 13, 2010

I was in town this morning, so I went to the cemetery. The cemetery had been closed on Sunday because of the snowy weather. Today it was open again. As I left my car and started walking down the hill to Richard’s grave I looked out over the snow covered ground. There was one set […]

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Ambush

Thumbnail image for Ambush January 9, 2010

Debbie needed something for show-and-tell time at the next Compassionate Friends meeting. She was supposed to bring something that was important to Richard or something he was proud of. The idea was for everyone to show their item and tell the story about what it meant in the life of their child. She asked me […]

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You Have No Idea How Much

Thumbnail image for You Have No Idea How Much January 7, 2010

Got snowed in today. Debbie took the occasion to clean out the drawers in the kitchen cabinets.  In one of the drawers were many old greeting cards. She handed me one. It was a birthday card from Richard to me. The front of the card is above. The inside is below. Yes Richard, it does […]

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On Grief and Grieving – Book Review

Thumbnail image for On Grief and Grieving – Book Review January 5, 2010

Dealing with the loss of a child is exhausting. After reading On Grief and Grieving by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler I understand why. Grieving is hard work. I never knew there was so much to deal with. First the authors outline five stages of grief: Denial Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance I think that last […]

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A Nice Call

Thumbnail image for A Nice Call December 27, 2009

Got a call from Dusty Rhodes today. Dusty is Chapter Leader of The Compassionate Friends of Frankfort, KY and the regional coordinator. Debbie has been to a few meetings there and we both went to the last meeting before Christmas. Dusty called to just let us know he was thinking about us. This is our […]

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Christmas Morning 2009

Thumbnail image for Christmas Morning 2009 December 25, 2009

Dear Richard, It’s Christmas. You’re not here. It’s not the same without you. No country ham. We did have bacon, nice and crispy but not burnt. Sarah passed out the gifts. You weren’t sitting cross-legged on the floor to get yours. Your stocking was empty. Unless you count all the thoughts of love that we […]

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The Story Behind “Precious Child”

Thumbnail image for The Story Behind “Precious Child” December 21, 2009

While searching for information about the Worldwide Candle Lighting I stumbled upon the song “Precious Child.” Or maybe I should say I was grabbed by the song. It really had a strong affect on me. Because this song had such a strong affect on me, I went searching for the artist. “Precious Child was written […]

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My First Compassionate Friends Meeting

Thumbnail image for My First Compassionate Friends Meeting December 19, 2009

I always take off from work several days before the Christmas break. I did so this year too. So I was able to go to a meeting of The Compassionate Friends at our local chapter in Frankfort KY last night.  This is one of the more active chapters going. They hold a meeting twice each […]

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Christmas Memories

Thumbnail image for Christmas Memories December 18, 2009

Of our three children, Richard probably looked most forward to Christmas. He was four months old on his first Christmas. After we put the tree up we brought Richard into the room and put him on the floor in front of the tree. He lit up just like that tree. He just squealed and laughed. […]

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