COMING SOON!

Where Are You? Finding Myself in My Greatest Loss

by M. J. Flood

Where Are You? Finding Myself in My Greatest Loss is the first published work by M.J. Flood. Recalling the author’s experience as the father of a stillborn daughter, this memoir articulates the private heartbreak and depression so frequently associated with disenfranchised griefs like pregnancy loss.  But Where Are You? is ultimately a work of hope, as M.J. Flood walks the reader through the chaos of death in search of the peace of healing.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Author M.J. Flood has written an interesting, poignant, and enthralling story. I found I kept wanting to know more with questions and scenarios engendered by his descriptive and moving narratives. He examines and shares how many persons impacted his life with their concerns. Through his own reflections and analysis of them, Mr. Flood takes us to our own heart-mind, along with how [he] and his wife give of their time to others to help them with their loss-of-life situation. This author’s writing is profoundly endearing and a tender ‘must read’ for a myriad of reasons including understanding of the human condition with its strengths and frailties. The mindfulness of the author’s story is one that will remain with me forever.” — Reverend Dr. Marjorie S. Schiering, Professor, Molloy College


“M.J. Flood’s journey to acceptance and self-discovery following the still-born birth of his daughter Sophia is neither direct nor complete, as he himself states. But it is life-affirming. His path takes him and us through anger, shock, loneliness, searing pain, and darkness, but ultimately to a gift he traces to Sophia— love, an openness to others’ pain, a movement outside of himself to give to others also struggling.” — Robert Kinpoitner, Ph.D., English Dept. Chair, Molloy College, Rockville Centre, NY


Where Are You? Finding Myself in My Greatest Loss by M.J. Flood is an honest and heartfelt account of a man’s journey through the grieving process after a heartbreaking loss.  It describes the gamut of emotions and the depth of loneliness one may experience and the need to get out of one’s own way in order to heal. I would recommend the memoir to anyone suffering loss.” — Virginia C. Honerkamp, RN MSN, Certified Hospice and Palliative Care


“M.J. Flood’s memoir Where Are You? is a ‘must read’ for all involved in bereavement ministry. For several reasons: First, it is a brutally honest examination of emotions, written in a heart-wrenching, soul-searching style. Second, it treats of a grief that is usually avoided, the loss of a still-born baby. Nobody wants to address this grief, but it is very real as Mr. Flood so poignantly shares with us. Third, it is written from the male perspective, which is rare in the bereavement field. Men seldom admit to their emotions, let alone share them! Thank you, Mr. Flood, for being the brave one who is willing to do so. Of special note is Mr. Flood’s use of the term ‘Loss Stew’: emotions and feelings that are swirling around in grief. I don’t know whether Mr. Flood ‘coined’ this term; in any event it should become part of the vocabulary of bereavement ministry. It was especially encouraging to hear of the healing that began for Mr. Flood and his wife Tara in their Bereavement Group. ‘Like-to-like’ sharing is essential, particularly with the loss of a baby. Thank you, M.J. Flood, for sowing the seeds of your ongoing journey towards healing. I am certain that God will use those seeds to bring healing to many others.” — Deacon Robert Campbell, OFS, St. Raymond’s Bereavement Ministry, East Rockaway, NY


“A first person account of this kind is so important because infant loss is such a devastating thing that it’s only been in recent years that people have begun to speak about it. I believe so many people are still grieving silently because we haven’t made their trauma and healing part of our ‘normal’ conversation—something I think we’re getting better at but haven’t fully opened up the communication. A book like this could do just that.” — Elizabeth O’Grady, LCSW, San Francisco, CA


“Beautifully written, poignant, heartfelt, and ultimately spiritually uplifting, M.J. Flood’s Where Are You? is an emotionally charged story about loss and the power of finding—and keeping—our faith through the darkest of nights.” — Gary Jansen, author of the national bestseller Station to Station.


“A wonderful book to help parents and family dealing with stillbirth! A resource for bereavement ministry!” — Ronda Chervin, Ph.D., author of Weeping with Jesus: From Grief to Hope and numerous other books of Catholic spirituality.


“M.J. Flood’s Where Are You? immediately transported me into a world where I was gently prodded to experience the grief, anger, guilt and confusion associated with loss. While we are programmed to accept the loss of a grandparent or parent, the death of a child or a youthful sibling leaves us, and those around us, at a loss. How do we justify this? How do we maintain our faith in g-d, ourselves, and the natural order of things. Time and our place in the world fall into question as we struggle to right ourselves. Mr. Flood’s book addresses these issues through a very personal and intimate lens. As such, it is a gift to its readers. As a psychotherapist who often deals with bereavement and grief I am happy to say that this book taught me much that I can, and will, integrate into my practice. When it is published, I hope to add this to my library and recommend it to my clients. I am proud to endorse this book for publication.” — Robert Margolis, LCSW, longislandpsychotherapy.com, Psychotherapy and Family Counseling Services


“A very thoughtful, compassionate, and accurate portrayal of the journey through grief and bereavement. Highly recommended reading for those looking to come out and rebound from loss.” — Christopher L. Hayes, Ph.D., Professor of Gerontology, Long Island University


“M.J. Flood’s book Where Are You? Finding Myself in My Greatest Loss is a compelling read. Mr. Flood shares with the reader a journey exploring grief and bereavement through a stream of consciousness style of recollection and discovery that most readers will find very real and honest. The loss of a child is sad and almost unbearable, but Mr. Flood’s emotional story gives hope and courage to those that experience this most crippling loss.” Peter V. Dugan Nassau County Poet Laureate (2017-2019)


“M.J. Flood explores his personal experience with a disenfranchised form of grief: loss of stillborn infant. A very compelling and moving account of healing from such a devastating loss.” — Luciano Sabatini, Ph.D., Bereavement Coordinator St. Bernard Parish, author of Bereavement Counseling in the School Setting.


Where Are You? is a powerful and emotional journey. I felt like I was listening in on Mr. Flood’s thoughts as he tries and succeeds to make sense of the loss of his daughter and other losses in his life, and ultimately finds himself.” — Ivy Diamond, LCSW, Perinatal Bereavement Social Worker


“As a member of a parish bereavement ministry, I am thankful for the opportunity to have read this memoir. This book is a voice especially to those who have experienced the loss of a stillbirth. We rarely have an opportunity to hear the feelings and emotions from the father’s perspective. I think he said it so eloquently when he recounted the sympathies given to his wife and people overlooking his share in the grief. I think he is brave and I hope his book is helping him through his grief. My prayer is that he knows how many people he is helping (especially other Dads). Mr. Flood’s story is impactful. I am thankful he had the courage to write it.” — Karen Gonyon BS, RN, CHPN


Where Are You? will shine in our support group library! Placed in the hands of newly bereaved parents, especially fathers — this heart-rending memoir will bring solace and healing hope. Mr. Flood’s genuine expression voices the uncharted map that is grief. He reveals the raw wound that he and Tara suffered in the death of baby Sophia and shares the journey as they slowly rebuild from utter darkness toward healing scars that forever shape their family’s life. He risks being vulnerable and misunderstood while validating the reality of loss in life, enveloped in faith and ultimately the grace of healing.” — Martha Weiss Guardian Angel Perinatal Support Group St. Kilian Parish Farmingdale, NY


“Flood’s narrative strikes a balance between an intensely personal confession that brings the reader along through his hardships and a perspective able to synthesize and analyze each event in the larger context. In this way, Where Are You? elevates individual experiences to universal understandings.” — Kenneth R. Frank, filmmaker, The Mix and Family Obligations


“M.J. Flood offers us the gift of opening himself up, revealing his vulnerabilities as he embraces losing born still Sophia, while finding himself in the process. He shares how Sophia has become an inspiration and offers the reader/griever insight as to how to lead a productive life in the aftermath of such tragedy. Over the years, as he discovers where he is, Flood learns to love himself by accepting his pain and thoughts as real; and by helping us understand that “our losses are each others’ comfort.” Where Are You? is a double, triple and even larger entendre during this tender and humble process. His writing is poignant, humble, loving and honest.” — Nancy Berlow, LCSW, www.LongIslandPregnancyandInfantLoss.com


“Author M.J. Flood transports his readers on a true spiritual journey. It is not often that an author can reach inside the reader and touch the heart and soul as Flood does. You’ll cherish this book!” — Alexander J. Basile, author, educator and musician


“A young father’s pain and hope echoes through the pages of his story, Where Are You? Finding Myself in My Greatest Loss. What a gift for grieving dads to hear first-hand from another grieving father, how he deals with the stillbirth of his first-born child. In ‘men’s terms,’ M.J. Flood describes the new world that surrounds him, the heartache endured, the haunting, unanswered questions, the everyday struggles, the endless choices to be made, and the eye-opening lessons learned, especially in a world that always inquires how the mother is doing, but rarely asks about the dad. Flood’s vibrant, inviting writing style (which I like to call ‘man talk’) grabs your attention right away, even brings some welcome smiles, as you ‘walk the walk’ with him, hear his message, and begin to understand how other losses in his life (brother and grandmother) have affected this one which he reverently calls, ‘My Greatest Loss.’ Sharing this book with heartbroken moms and other family members, too, offers a valuable bonus, opening the door for them to respect different ways of grieving, coping and surviving.” — Elaine E. Stillwell, M.A, M.S., Chapter Leader, The Compassionate Friends of Rockville Centre, NY,Former Bereavement Coordinator, Diocese of Rockville Centre, Author, The Death of a Child: Reflections for Grieving Parents, Contributing Editor, Grief Digest


“[Flood] is very open, and as a result the work is very moving. He’s definitely a fresh voice.” — Tim Houlihan, Ph.D., Interim President St. Francis College, Brooklyn, New York


“[Flood] writes very movingly about the death of Sophia.” — Tom Hauser (author & publisher)


“I wish this book was available 36 years ago. Last October marked 36 years since I miscarried my first child. I don’t think we ever grieved; it just wasn’t acceptable. Flood’s book gives permission to be a parent to the child in the womb who is called to be an angel.” — Marija Wierzbicki (former Clergy Personnel Director for Diocese of Brooklyn, New York)


“A roller coaster ride of emotion – to the highs of expecting, to the lowest of lows of loss. Care, affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, sadness, devastation, despair, healing or dealing, and obviously an ever-present sense of love – all of it there in words, actions and reflection. The, at-times, jarring story-telling creates this cacophony of words and phrases that invites and perhaps forces the reader to feel his raw, real emotion – there is no doubt that I felt anger, anxiety and agitation. Conversely, through the disorientation of the emotional experience, there was a great presence of family, love and that one is never alone no matter what it feels like, what it looks like BUT you need to be willing to see it, feel it and welcome it. This work captures a journey that many unfortunately have taken before – but it also walks the reader through a process where a broken-heart through faith, family and love can ultimately lead to hoping, healing and helping others. Through that Sophia’s presence and love is forever present, forever shared.” —Thomas F. Flood, Vice President for Advancement, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, New York


“This is a truly touching story (or collection of stories) of love, loss, grief and healing told in an engaging and relatable voice. As a reader I can relate to the language, colorful at times, but always thoughtful and in some cases perfectly phrased. As examples: ‘Thinking is the petri dish for every guilt created, every shame felt, every slight (imagined or real) delivered. And from that same dish comes every spontaneously generated saving grace. Every hope realized. Oh, it’s a mess at times, for sure’ and ‘In the end, that’s what bereavement groups do. What people like Ivy Diamond do. They widen the lens through which we can consider our loss. Some people give a narrow lens. Drugs and alcohol can be a lens. Some people think they’re giving you the lens: the only way to see. Ivy didn’t give me the lens, but a lens. Perhaps a lens that simply helped me to know that there are lenses at all with which we can view tragedy in a better way.’ I think this is a wonderful gift to provide to those who are grieving in any context really, but would also make a welcome addition to any therapeutic environment. I would surely recommend to clients I have who might be struggling with loss.” — Jennifer Lancaster, Ph.D. (Vice President for Academic Affairs/Academic Dean, licensed clinical psychologist)


“What a beautiful tribute. What an inspiration for anyone grieving. The author’s reflections and thoughts and feelings were truly profound. The work can be such a help not only to grieving parents but to many who have suffered loss.” — Rita Chojnacki RNCHPN, Certified grief counselor


“This is a deeply emotional and personal account of the loss of a child. A story that gives the reader an understanding of the ongoing, emotional toll of grief. It is a valuable resource for the bereaved or for those healing from loss. I found this sentence in [the] speech for Martha Weiss’s GAPS at St. Kilian’s in Farmingdale extremely comforting: ‘But the life I live doesn’t have to be governed by loss.’” — Maria Mullaly, Executive Assistant to the Dean, The Barbara H. Hagan School of Nursing, Molloy College, Rockville Centre, New York


“At times, a painful read for one personally acquainted with this caliber of loss and grief. But reading this book was like having a profound discussion with a friend that you remember for the rest of your life. Mr. Flood’s sharing and insights were thought provoking, causing me to revisit the dark corners of loss and grief that my husband and I put far away. Sure, certain days of the year you remember how old a child (now adult) would have been but never dwell too long lest you really start counting up the lost milestones and unlived years of life. I applaud Mr. Flood and his wife for honoring their first daughter and keeping her present in their family’s and friend’s lives. God bless him.” — Tanya Kasprzyk, Parish Outreach Coordinator Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart


“A beautiful and powerful story of a father’s love for his born still daughter and how she helped him to find his way through loss, depression and healing. A story of unconditional love and the true meaning of life.” — Diane Wilshere, “Helping Parents Heal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M.J. Flood is a husband and a father of two little girls and a baby angel. Residing in Long Island, New York, he is a high school literature and writing teacher and the author of Where Are You? Finding Myself in My Greatest Loss, his first published work.

Flood is also the writer/director of Too Much Noise — a short film in American Sign Language — which has appeared in several film festivals and won the Best Original Idea award at New York City’s 2018 Chain Film Festival.

M. J. Flood, “A Father’s Voyage To The Moon – Without His Baby Girl,” Still Standing Magazine (March 11, 2019)

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