Smile Again

Smile Again Ministries is a 501(c)3 nonprofit ministry, serving families who have lost a child, offering a retreat experience and counseling services to surviving parents and siblings.  Our mission is to help hurting people find peace and hope.

Pat will be the first to tell you that he was born on St. Patrick’s Day and thus the reason for his name.

He has been a pastor in an evangelical denomination for the past 33 years. This experience has given him many opportunities to share his story of Mickey’s death and how God has helped him deal with his grief. It has helped develop his counseling skills as well.

One of the things Pat experienced after the death of his daughter was a lack of support from those around him. “After Mickey died people would often ask how Judy and the kids were doing,” Pat said. “But it was years after Mickey’s death before anyone actually asked me how I was doing.”

As Pat and Judy have talked with grieving parents they have found this to be a pattern that most men experience. They have found that women tend to express their grief, while men tend to repress their grief. And that’s a recipe for disaster according to Pat. He believes this kind of repression often leads couples who have lost children to grow apart. The divorce rate among couples who have lost children is very high. One study showed that as many as 85% of couples who have lost a child have ended their marriages in divorce.

Pat is also an avid golfer and fisherman. He loves spending time with his friends on the course. He admits that his golf game can be summed up in one word: “hacker.” He’s found much better results in the fishing end of things.

Like Judy, Pat has written a book about his feelings while going through Mickey’s hospitalization and death. In his book entitled, I WISH I COULD HAVE TOLD YOU *, he writes vignettes about his interaction with family, doctors, and nurses. The book was his method of expressing his grief, as well as thanking those who supported him during the dark days of Mickey’s hospitalization.

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Background photo: the forest surrounding Whitetail Lodge,
Smile Again Ministries' retreat center.

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