This past November marked the 7-year anniversary of losing my sweet daughter Katie.

I’m not sure what happened to the last 7 years, but they’ve managed to slip away. I know many of you are newly bereaved and probably think “7 years? I am not sure if I can make 1 year or 2 years. How will I ever be able to make it 7 years?”

Those are excellent questions, questions I also asked myself at the beginning of this hell. I know the feeling of surviving second by second and then moving to minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, etc. Early in my grief, the thought of surviving a year seemed doubtful, but here I am, 7 years later writing an article about the horrific experience of losing a child. Obviously, it is still with me after 7 years, but the pain of the anniversary days has faded.

I made a conscience decision at some point along the way that I was not going to run and hide from this day, because that’s not possible. I knew I was going to find a way to celebrate Katie’s life the best way I could. So the first year anniversary my wife and I took the day off of work and spent the time reflecting on her life and what our life has become and where we want our lives to go in a way to honor her. 

Looking back over the last 7 years, I have witnessed the transition from the person I use to be to the person I am today. I use to be pretty self serving and non-tolerant of others, but I have now found a way to become a person that tries to serve others by helping them the best way I can.

Do I fail at this from time to time? Absolutely, but I would say this new direction in my life is one positive thing that has happened to me. Would I change it all to have her back? No doubt, but that’s not an option I have, so I know I have to proceed with what I have control over and that’s how I want to be known as a person.

The positive changes I made in my life are a direct result of losing my sweet Katie. It is the gift of love, compassion and understanding that Katie so graciously gave me.

I know there is a list of hundreds of negative things that have happened to us after the death of our children, trust me, I have plenty, but what things have changed in your life that you would consider positive?

If you can’t think of anything positive that has happened in your life since the death of your child, what positives would you like to see happen in your life?

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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