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Barry Kluger
Erica Kluger

On April 6, 2001, Barry Kluger of Scottsdale, Arizona began his day with a round of golf. While on the eleventh hole, he called home to check messages and received the news every parent dreads; his 18-year-old daughter, Erica, had been in a car accident and taken by ambulance to the emergency room.

 

Frantically, Kluger called the hospital, not realizing that his only child had already been dead for seventeen minutes.  In the days, weeks and months that followed, Kluger experienced the depths of grief after the loss of his funny, enthusiastic, caring and friendly daughter to such a tragic accident.

 

As one way to deal with his grief, Kluger, a native of Long Island, joined with Kelly Farley of Aurora, Illinois to create the Farley-Kluger Initiative to Amend the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, now in Congress as the Sarah Grace-Farley-Kluger Act of 2019.  Says Kluger: “It’s too late for me but this bill will help the thousands of parents who will take this walk as part of a club no one wants to belong to.  To be a grieving parent has no dues and no membership card, yet the stakes are very high in joining, something I would never wish upon anyone.”

 

In a 2010 book (he updated in 2017), A Life Undone: A Father’s Journey through Loss, Kluger chronicled the early days of Erica's life and the hours, days, weeks, months, and years after her passing. By sharing emails, letters, and diary entries, Kluger helps others understand why men grieve differently.

 

Kluger also reflects in the book on such poignant moments as when he walked into Erica's bedroom for the first time after the accident and realized she was never coming back to her room ... ever. From the religious rituals to the mistakes, regrets, and the joyous moments that eventually came, he endeavors to help others understand how a journey through grief can help us to see what we were, what we are, and what we can become.

 

A Life Undone: A Father’s Journey through Loss is available for purchase on Amazon by clicking here.

Kelly Farley

Kelly Farley lost two beautiful babies over an eighteen-month period.  He lost his daughter, Katie, in 2004, and son, Noah, in 2006.  He was not equipped to emotional handle these losses and turned to what he was taught to do growing up, he toughened up and pushed through the pain he was feeling.

The burden of losing two children caught up with Kelly and he realized that he needed help if he was going to have any resemblance of a “normal” life again.  Once he surrendered, he noticed other people willing to help him.  These people had no agenda, they just wanted to help a grieving dad with the pain he was carrying.

All the new lessons he learned about life and the compassion he received from complete strangers gave him the strength to help others.  Kelly decided he would make it his mission to help other dads that have lost a child and help them find their way back to a life that would allow them to function again.

In late 2009, Kelly launched a blog called the Grieving Dads Project which provided an outlet for him and provided a valuable resource for the men that grieved alone and in silence.  It was soon after starting his blog that became evident that he was having a major impact on others, so he decided to write a book based on what he learned from hundreds of other grieving dads he met along the way.

Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back was published in 2012 and quickly became the go-to book for grieving dads.  He had no idea when he wrote this book that it was be so far reaching and have the impact it has had.

Through his journey of helping others, Kelly met many other grieving dads dealing with their own pain.  One of those men was Barry Kluger.  After a few discussions it became obvious that both men had the desire to help others dealing with the loss of a child.  Shortly after meeting, the two started the Farley-Kluger Initiative to Amend the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993.  The actions they took resulted in the Parental Bereavement Act of 2019 which is currently in Congress.

Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back is available for purchase on Amazon by clicking here.

Organizations that Believe in Our Mission,
and Support the Sarah Grace–Farley-Kluger Act:

We are proud to count more than 30 professional and non-profit organizations that focus on various types of child loss as believers in our mission and supporters of our bill. However, to get this legislation passed, we need help getting the word out to other organizations and people willing to contact their elected officials to encourage their House and Senate co-sponsorship and eventually, their vote in support.  This has been a grassroots effort that has not had the luxury of an external funding source.  It’s on all of us to make this happen.

 

So what can you do?  It’s as easy as one-two:

  1. Find your Senator or Representative at www.GovTrack.us and ask them to support HR 983 and S 559.

  2. Share our mission with your network on social media and ask them to contact their elected officials.

Thank you to the following organizations who share our desire to provide compassion to help others in the aftermath of losing a child:

  • American Academy of Grief Counseling

  • American Counseling Association

  • American Institute for Health Care Professionals

  • Blue Star Families

  • Children’s Bereavement Center

  • Children’s Bereavement Center of Miami

  • Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation

  • Children’s Hospital Association

  • Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation

  • Elisabeth-Kubler-Ross Foundation

  • Employee Assistance Professionals Association

  • First Candle

  • Gold Star Mothers and Fathers

  • Grief Recovery Institute Education Foundation

  • Jed Foundation

  • MarineParents.com

  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)

  • National Alliance for Grieving Children

  • National Association of Social Workers

  • National Council on Sepsis

  • National Military Family Foundation

  • National Students of AMF

  • Parents of Murdered Children

  • Polly Klaas Foundation

  • Red Means Stop Traffic Safety Alliance

  • Rory Staunton Foundation for Sepsis Prevention

  • Sarah Grace Foundation for Children with Cancer

  • Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Foundation

  • The Miss Foundation

  • Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors

  • Truck Safety Coalition

  • We Save Lives