These 10 stories have been written by fathers who have dug deep into their terrible ordeal
to share their feelings after the sudden cardiac death of their fit and healthy young child.
It has been compiled to help other Dads feel less alone. After such a catastrophic event
the expectation is often on “the head of the family” to manage those closest, whilst their
own searing grief is sidelined. Endeavouring to relieve their wife and children from further
suffering, they focus on trying to be useful and the practical challenges – expressing how
they coped with: planning the funeral; worrying what their dead son/daughter would have
wanted; trying to get it right; the finality of the burial. Meanwhile, they are dealing with the
guilt of believing they failed to protect their dead child; the distressing implosion of the
family dynamic; and siblings struggling to settle into a rearranged order.
An onerous sense of responsibility to withhold their feelings for the family’s sake becomes
a combustible cocktail of suppressed emotion. Their anxiety that another child might be
affected; the crushing fear that there was something that could have been done to prevent
the tragedy; the sometimes hurtful responses of others … the harrowing experience
of listening to the excruciating pain of a grieving mother, their wife, and the cruelty of
watching her endure such sorrow, leaving them feeling hopeless and inadequate.
The hollow, conflicting emotions of seeing their dead child’s peers growing bigger and
older; yearning for the son/daughter relationship that has been ripped from them; the
harshness of trying to live life without them; the longing for hugs no longer there. The
self-imposed duty of ensuring their child is never forgotten.
Mood swings; vulnerability; turmoil; disbelief; loss of control and the lurching from hope to
despair. This booklet bears witness to the brutality of a grief experienced over a decade
ago, through to the rawness of a Dad’s feelings after the recent death of his son. Their
courage in revisiting the agonising impact of their tragedy has been inspired by their
commitment to help other fathers affected.
I was a confident, happy, outgoing, 48 year old father of three before getting the phone call that every parent dreads on March 2nd 2008. It was the day everything … Continue reading
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