Well, this past week has been a whirlwind, and I wanted to share a quick update with you.
I returned from running a week-long training for human rights activists and journalists in Azerbaijan to officiate one of my oldest friend’s wedding at the historic New York City Public Library and then to conduct my first interview for Fatherless by Suicide. All of these initiatives would naturally inspire a mix of emotions, but nothing compared to how nervous I was to have my first interview with another man who lost his fathers to suicide.
So, on a steamy Friday morning I packed my audio gear and rode into Midtown Manhattan to meet-up with Justin, a dynamic, inspiring young man who happened to be in New York City from Europe for work. Justin had been one of the first men to contact me and was enthusiastic about the project. His communication and support helped put me at ease, and though we only had a little over an hour before he had to leave for his flight, we had a fantastic, eye-opening conversation. I am very grateful to have had such a thoughtful, engaging and insightful collaborator to jumpstart this project.
Fortunately, the momentum has continued.
Just a few days ago, I had interviews with two inspirational men whose stories and perspectives helped recalibrate how I think about my own father’s death, the language I use about it and my own grieving process. My first conversation was the charismatic and hilarious, Michael Thomas Walker. Michael's an accomplished actor and playwright who lives here in New York City and he wrote BUBBA, a play that explores his father's death. He'll be performing it as part of New York City's exceptional International Fringe Festival, starting August 10th. Please check it out and help fill the house.
Though I wouldn't recommend doing two interviews in the same day, my conversation with another Mike later that evening was incredibly moving for me. We met at his house and because of background noise challenges, we sat on the floor of his children's room. Mike spoke about the loss of his father, who had attempted suicide twice before, and shared tender moments he had with him as a young child and how that affects how he parents his two young children. As I was listening to Mike speak of his forgiveness of his own father, there was a tectonic shift of sorts happening in me.
There's no timeline for grief and processing loss, but as I imagined, learning directly from other men who've also lost their father has already had a profound impact on me. I look forward to sharing more of their stories and their pearls of insights about their journey after their father’s death as soon as I can.
For now, I’m doing the final preparation with my motorcycle, recording gear and interview set-up. Though it changes a bit everyday – thankfully because more men are reaching out to participate regularly. In a few days I'll be leaving New York City and heading to see my dynamo mom in Philadelphia and will be doing some more interviews in the Tri-State Area.
Please continue to share and talk about the project with friends and family. You'd be amazed as to how those conversations are what helps inspire men to reach-out and join this project.
Thanks for all the support and for your role in helping make this project a reality. If you have ideas, suggestions or feedback, please be in touch via the comments below or firstname.lastname@example.org