In the mid 1990s, Kelly Farley, a graduate of the University of Iowa, moved to Chicago and began a climb up the corporate ladder. He and his wife were driven to succeed, and chose to wait to have a family. In 2003, they decided to have a child, and found it doesn't always happen when you think it will. After fertility treatments, they were thrilled when their daughter Katie was born, but devastated when she passed away a short time later in 2004.
Farley had been taught that men were supposed to toughen up and get past the pain, that showing emotion meant weakness, and drowning sorrows at the bar, or working 70-hour weeks was the way to deal. After Katie's death, this is how he handled the loss.
About a year later, the Farleys chose to try again with the help of more fertility treatments. Their little Noah was born, and blessed their lives until his death in 2006. This time, says Farley, "I couldn't bury the pain."
Through association with people who had experienced similar loss, and by sharing his story with others, he began to heal and became devoted to the cause, developing a collection of stories called Grieving Dads: To The Brink and Back.
As a result of his experiences, and the changes that occur in the lives of parents who lose children, Farley no longer feels compelled to rush or live his life on fast forward. The notion that men should be expected to function as if nothing has happened became a driving force in his desire to help other fathers.
His blog, Grieving Dads Project, continues to offer support and information for those looking for just that. Kelly Farley is also working toward a Masters in Counseling in hopes of providing comfort to other parents.
His life is simpler these days, and rather than more material pursuits, he prefers spending time with his wife Christine, and their dog, Buddy, in the Chicago suburbs.