Another Review at MyShelf.Com


The Forgotten Father
Coping with Grief
Gary Roen

Taylor and Seale Publishers
June 2018/ ISBN 978-1943789856
Nonfiction /Death / Grief / Loss

Reviewed by Leslie C. Halpern


Sometimes merely the acknowledgment that someone is suffering becomes even more important than the actual words spoken. For example, what words of comfort could possibly ease a parent’s pain after losing a baby to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)? This concept weaves itself throughout the book, The Forgotten Father: Coping with Grief (in hardcover and ebook).

The author relates through a free-form prose poem how his own blended family became complete upon the birth of his baby – a family consisting of himself, his wife, two step-children, and a perfectly healthy new boy they named Michael David. At two and a half months and without warning, Michael died in his crib for no apparent reason. In the following swirl of emergency technicians, nurses, doctors, friends, and family, the mother was recognized, comforted, soothed, and validated for her grief. The father and his feelings were marginalized by society, if not completely forgotten.

Color photographs – clearly intended as symbolic representations rather than actual depictions of the author’s story – portray babies, toddlers, children, fathers, and a nurse. Roen’s poem ends on a note of hope “maybe / some day / like the seasons / he will pass our way again.”

A short poem titled “The Still Side of Midnight,” by lawyer/poet/songwriter Jesse Sam Owens, follows Roen’s piece. Owens, who lost his adult son to an accident, writes of the sadness he feels, the rush of memories, and his inability to sleep. His grief permeates the poem and ends with a less-optimistic final line: “But I’m lost in the truth that when morning is through / I’ll just spend my time lost in dad-dreams of you.”

At just 24 pages, this tiny gift book presented to a grieving father may provide more comfort than any “I’m sorry for your loss” ever could, simply by acknowledging that grieving dads need to cry, mourn, and share their feelings, too.

Reviewer Leslie C. Halpern is the author of four nonfiction books, including 200 Love Lessons from the Movies and four children's books, including Silly Sleepytime Poems.
Reviewed 2018