To the editor:
I am a grieving father. I lost my son, Timothy, in 2011, and have spent the past two trying to survive this loss. As much as I try, I cannot make sense of my son’s death.
You see, some people think that bereaved parents should pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get things back to “normal.”
Those of us unfortunate enough to have to live this reality know it isn’t quite that simple.The death of a child goes beyond most people’s comprehension, except for the bereaved parents that have to walk this path.
We don’t have the luxury of removing that thought from our minds. Every day, we live it.
As part of my mission to help other bereaved parents that will follow in my footsteps, I have joined fellow grieving dads, Kelly Farley and Barry Kluger, to assist them with bringing awareness to the Farley-Kluger Initiative (www.farleykluger.com).
More than 61,000 petitions have already been sent to Washington, D.C., and many of these petitions have signed by residents of Pennsylvania.
Currently, there are two federal bills (The Parental Bereavement Act of 2013) sitting in the House of Representatives (HR515) and the Senate (S226) that propose expanding the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 to include the death of a child as a covered condition.
Right now, you receive up to 12 weeks unpaid leave if you have a child, adopt a child, care for a sick family member, are ill, or are caring for an injured service member. If your child dies, most companies grant 3-5 days bereavement leave.
Sadly, there is no political support from Pennsylvania representatives or senators in Washington on this issue. This issue shouldn’t be caught up in Washington politics.
We want the businesses that rely on those who have lost a child to recognize that the best assets of a company walk out the door at the end of the workday.
Employees have given their employers loyalty, dedication and productivity, but in the eyes of some companies, the death of a child makes them ‘expendable,’ if they are unable to return to work the day after burying their child.
I cannot begin to imagine why anyone would not want to extend a compassionate hand to those who have lost a child.
Have we really become a country that is focused more on the bottom line than helping our neighbors through difficult times?