It must have been a couple of weeks after the death of my son Noah when I first noticed the dragonflies.  It was mid-June 2006 and I had already been off work for several weeks.  I had called my office to let them know that I wasn’t going to be in for awhile.  At the time I didn’t know what “awhile” meant and thankfully they didn’t ask. 

I spent most of my days doing small tasks around the house, just to keep my mind occupied.  The rest of the time I hung out with my wife, worked out and made lunch on the grill every day.  I was still trying to process what had happened to us and really hadn’t started to feel the full impact of the depth of my pain from the death of my son and my daughter just 18 months prior.

This particular day I decided I was going to start staining my fence.  I wasn’t in a hurry because I knew I didn’t have anything else that had to be done anytime soon.  So I just took my time and tried to enjoy the beautiful summer day. 

This was the first summer I had off from working or college since I was probably 14 years old.  I had forgotten how nice it was to be able to get up when you wanted to and spend the day doing what you wanted to do versus what you had to do.  However, I was still trying to comprehend what had happened to my wife and me.  The loss of two children over 18 months had inflicted major depression and anxiety that wouldn’t allow me to do much of anything other than small tasks.  Even the small tasks were exhausting.

While I was taking a break sitting under the shade on my patio, I noticed two dragonflies hovering around my backyard.  They were not just passing through my yard; they seemed to be hanging out for a while.  I don’t live near water and I had never noticed them before, but I enjoyed watching them that day.

The next day I got up around 9 o’clock, which was typical for that summer.  I was usually up until about midnight and obviously needed the sleep to cope with the pain I was dealing with inside.   When I went outside to start working on my fence, the dragonflies were there to greet me.  The dragonflies and I spent the rest of the summer hanging out in my backyard.

I started to have other experiences with dragonflies during this same time.  I live near a bike path that leads to a local forest preserve and would often ride the 12-mile loop as part of my daily workout.  There were times when I would be riding and thinking about my son when a dragonfly would appear out of nowhere and would fly along with me at the same speed.  He would fly about 3 or 4 feet away from me, but would stay with me for a while.  I would just smile because I thought it was Noah letting me know he was ok. 

It’s been just over 5 years since the loss of Noah, but because of these experiences, I think of Noah every time I see a dragonfly and I just smile.  On a recent bike ride on that same trail I came upon a swarm of dragonflies, the big ones with the double wings.  There must have been over a hundred of them in a fifty foot radius anywhere from 4’ to 12’ off the ground.  I stopped my bike and I just stood there in the middle of this swarm.  They were beautiful. 

They must of known I was there because they would stop 2 or 3 feet in front of me and look at me.  They would fly slowly by to let me know they were aware of my presence.  This had to be one of my best experiences in a long time.  I must have stood there for about 15-20 minutes watching them.  I even called my wife to tell her about what I was experiencing.  I felt close to Noah when I was standing there with those dragonflies.  I think it was just his way of visiting his daddy and to let me know he was thinking of me.

I have met several grieving dads over the last 2 years that also have similar personal stories when it comes to our children visiting us.  There have been other signs from Noah, but this particular one was spectacular.

Does your child send you signs?  If so, what are they?  If not, do you keep yourself open to seeing signs?

Kelly Farley 2011

Kelly Farley

Kelly Farley is a bereaved father that has experienced the loss of his two children over an eighteen month span. He lost his daughter Katie in 2004 and son Noah in 2006. During that time he realized that there is a lack of support services available to fathers suffering such a loss. As a result of that realization, he is working on his first book as a resource for Grieving Dads. He created and maintains a website for this project at Kelly has also written several articles on the subject of men’s grief and has traveled throughout North America to interview other grieving dads in order to create a resource book that captures the experiences of other men on this journey. His book will be completed by the end of 2010 and is expected to highlight 30-40 real life inspirational stories from dads that have survived the loss of a child. He is on a mission to bring awareness to men’s grief and provide hope to the many men that often grieve in silence due to societal expectations.

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