“No problem, I’ve got this…”
That was my first thought when I learned my son’s mother’s battle with cancer was not successful, and we needed to prepare for the end. Tiagan was only four at the time and not really able to connect all the dots, but he was aware that his mom was soon going to be watching over him from heaven.
We took all the steps we could to prepare Tiagan for this loss. He was in therapy with a leading child psychologist who treated him all during his mother’s battle with cancer, as well as after her passing.
About six weeks after Tiagan’s mother passed his therapist advised me that he was handling the loss well and that there was no reason to continue treatments. However, he did counsel me to “check in” with Tiagan from time to time in the future, to ensure he continues to handle it as well as he was at the moment.
Well, okay then. I read that as he was fixed and it was time to get busy with the business of preparing him for life.
Or, maybe not…
What later became clear, as Tiagan’s light began to flicker almost four years later, was that losing a mother (or a father) is not like healing a broken bone. It is a loss that lasts a lifetime, and with each new developmental plateau achieved on the way to adulthood, that loss gets revisited with a new awareness of the scope of the loss. Even in adulthood, every new lifetime milestone causes us to revisit it from a different perspective.
The Birth of Kids Without Moms
As Tiagan and I stared down the barrel of the lifelong challenge this situation represented, I began a search for support to help me address my son’s developing awareness of his lose. I was surprised to learn how little has been written (or studied) about the loss of a mother as compared to the loss of a father in the household. I discovered there are over 2.0 million kids growing up without a mother in the home across the US.
One afternoon when Tiagan and I were in the car talking about my unsuccessful search to date, Tiagan suggested, why don’t we start a charity to help these families (dads and kids) dealing with this loss?
Why not, indeed.
In June of 2015, a retired business executive and his nine-year-old son filed the paperwork with the State of Massachusetts for startup Non Profit called Kids Without Moms, Inc., formed exclusively for the purpose of supporting kids and their dads as they work to develop the necessary skills to cope with loss throughout their entire lives.
So far, the support of the Mental Health Medical Community, Commercial Supporters and numerous friends has been more than we ever imagined when we began this journey. Surely, we are learning as we go, but we are very optimistic that our goal of helping kids and Dads will be realized in a very meaningful way.
We hope you can also see the need and the potential and join us on our journey. It promises to be quite a ride.
Tiagan and his Dad