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Fathers who contributed to ‘Color Him Father’ speak about grieving

Color Him Father (Photo Provided)

Color Him Father is a collection of memories from fathers who have lost their children. The book was written by Lawrence M. Drake II Ph.D. and co-written by five other fathers who have experienced the same loss. 

Color Him Father will make you laugh, smile, and cry as it allows readers to not only understand loss through the eyes of these fathers, but also celebrate who these amazing children were.

It begins in chapter one as Lawrence M. Drake II Ph.D. details his relationship with his daughter Kia Nichol Drake. The middle chapters include stories from other fathers Michael Bennett, Ron Sumpter, David Nokes Jr., Michael Hyter,  Ralph Dickerson Jr., and Lovell Thornton. Rolling out spoke with the other fathers and co-contributors about their losses and the grieving process. 

How do you decide when to seek help after losing a loved one?

Michael Bennett: Seek help whenever you are ready. Sometimes I just wanted to give myself a minute to acknowledge what happened … my life changed forever. I could then give myself permission to ask someone else to help me gain perspective.  

How does depression speak to you?

Ron Sumpter: I believe depression speaks to me through changes in diet and physical ailments.  When this happens, I find myself being complacent and non-productive. To avoid this, I try to eat healthy, exercise and stay busy, focusing on the joyous times but never losing sight of the hurt.

Do you recommend grief counseling?

David Nokes: It didn’t work for me. Only the counseling of those who’ve been here has helped. Grief counseling simply pointed to a lifetime of unresolved issues that didn’t need to be added to the grief of my son’s death. 

How do you dispel reoccurring negative thoughts? 

Lovell Thornton: I try thinking about the positives in my life. By no means is this easy as I still miss James and Janine, but I know nothing is going to change that situation. I try thinking about those things that bring a smile or laughter.

Many Black men don’t express their emotions. What compelled you to be vulnerable and open up about your loss?

Mike Hyter Sr.: It was sobering to see that so many black men are suffering in silence with the loss of a child. Being a part of a prayerful group of like-minded men on the quest to keep our children’s memories alive, I was moved and compelled to be a source of strength to others.

Lawrence Drake II Ph.D. and other fathers will host a book panel discussion on Thursday, August 8, 2019, at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church at 7 p.m. in Chicago. To learn more and register for the event go to