The life of a young widowed father with the will to help others with advice and positivity.

Category: Bereavement

Moving Forward

 

I set up this blog for two main reasons.

1 – To help me get my thoughts, feelings and emotions in order and writing was the only way I could make some sense of things.

2 – I hoped that what I had to say would help others in similar positions.

It’s been 7 or 8 now month since my last post and I often think about whether I should still be posting or just leave it be. To be honest I just don’t feel the need to write anymore which I guess for me is a good thing. Time continues to move forward and I now feel content with my new life however of course I still live with a cloud above me for my own loss and the loss for my children but most of the time we are very happy.

Since the last blog we have lived through a 2nd Christmas without Mummy which was a thousand times happier than the 1st Christmas as we had a fantastic festive time with family and friends. We got through Mother’s day and Helen’s Birthday where we took time out to remember Mummy. The 2nd Anniversary of Helen’s passing where we again all got together as a family and shared our funny stories of Helen. All these anniversaries and special family times were much easier but of course we still felt sadness at times while we wished that certain person was still with us.

My son is thriving in his first year at school and continues to grow into such an amazing little boy. My daughter is also having a much better year at school and doing fantastically well. So even after such awful pain we are living a happy life. Which is all I can ask for.

One thing I always struggle to get my head around is that I am now 37 years old, my daughter will be 7 soon and son will be 6 at the end of the year. When Helen passed away I was 34 and the kids were 4 and 3. We’re all growing older while Helen stays 34 forever… This to me just doesn’t feel right or fair.

Even though I don’t blog so much this site is still very much live and I continue to receive contact from many people from all over the world. Sadly though it’s from people who have stumbled across the site searching for help when they themselves are living in desperate times. This blog goes some way to helping them realise that life does move on and happiness can continue.

Also ever since the blog was created I have been contacted by many companies asking me to review products (and blog about them) or advertise on my site. I’ve never had any intention of making any money out of this so have always declined any offer. This site is here to help people like me not for me to make money from.

I have recently though been contacted by Co-operative Funeral Care who have teamed up with Child Bereavement, Trauma and Emotional Wellbeing Service (CHUMS). They are launching a series of short animated films aimed at helping bereaved children to cope with the loss of a loved one and are offering the films as a free resource to local schools, medical professionals, community groups and bereaved families. The launch follows on from the success of their previous Amy and Tom books, which were a tool for bereaved primary school children.

Child bereavement is obviously something close to my heart so I agreed to review the material and help spread the word. The DVD in my opinion is actually a great resource for Children. Aimed directly for children at their level it covers many relevant issues:

  • How it’s OK to feel sad, angry and happy
  • Counselling
  • People not knowing what to say
  • Realisation that most feeling emotions are normal.
  • How it’s great to meet people in the same situation
  • Anniversaries
  • Life does get easier as time moves on.
  • Great to remember the good times

The link to follow for this is below and I would certainly recommend for bereaved children.

http://www.co-operativefuneralcare.co.uk/after-the-funeral/featured-articles/bereavement-support-for-young-children/

Child bereavement

 

Son’s First day at school

Son’s First day at school

For a long time I have been very much looking forward to my son starting school. This is mainly because I know he is ready and it will make my life much easier for the school run and pick up etc.

However the night before the big day ended like I never imagined. I was busy getting all the school stuff ready for the kids and I really started to feel the emotion of loss and sadness that my wife wouldn’t be there with us. I was kind of expecting this anyway but this time it was over whelming.

Then at bed time I walked into my daughters room and she was looking through her memory box and asked if I could read some of the stuff that mummy had written. I have no idea why she chose that night to look through it as it’s not something she often does. There are two note books; one that Helen wrote when Olivia was first born and includes messages to Olivia when Helen got ill initially. The second was a few short notes that Helen wrote a few weeks before she passed away… I started reading them to her and I simply couldn’t get through it at all without crying and feeling immense sadness. I had to put it away as the emotion was just so heavy for me to handle.

The next thing my Son started to cry telling me that he doesn’t remember mummy at all and he wished mummy could be there with me to take him to school. This was heart breaking for me, my poor son doesn’t remember his mum and can’t have her there to give him a reassuring kiss when he starts his first day at school. Both of these things broke my heart just that little bit more.

UntitledThe next morning though it was like none of that happened. My son woke up, got washed and into his uniform in lightening speed then said he didn’t want breakfast so he could get to school quicker. He was so excited to have his uniform on, school shoes on and the fact he was starting school with his friends. In the end it was a total success and Marley came out of school as happy as ever. Olivia also had a great day in her new class and said her teachers were really nice.

It seems crazy how the emotions can swing in such waves of extreme. For the kids I am sure its just another happy day. For me though it’s a slight kick in the stomach that will take a while for me to get over.

The great things though is that although of course I am still very sad about my loss and my children’s loss we are actually living a very happy and positive life and moving forward in the right direction. It’s also a reminder that day to day life is fine now; it’s just those special occasions where the emotions hit hard

It’s a cruel world but I am a very proud father.

 

Time is moving on

 

Time is moving on….

8 years ago today was the day I first met Helen. We met online and after a few emails and chats on the phone we agreed to meet at Queens square in Bath. I remember it clearly as I sat on the bench feeling nervous waiting for her. We went for a coffee and didn’t stop chatting all the way through. We even left without paying the bill because we were chatting so much so had to go back and pay.

Who would have thought that 8 years on I would have married her, had 2 kids with her and now lost her and a widower. This for me is another huge reminder that nothing lasts forever and enjoying what we have when we have it is a massive lesson to us all. I try hard to savour my time with the kids because I know this will never last. I also know how lucky I am to have what I do.

So if you are at home feeling grumpy or annoyed about something… Look around you; think about what you do have in your life that makes you happy. Focus on that and make sure you enjoy it.

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The Anniversary

 

The anniversary was a hard one. There is no doubt about that at all.

As expected it started a few days before and all that kept creeping into my head were the difficult events that led up to those final breaths all the way to the time I had to tell the kids. If I’m honest reliving those memories were torturous but the thing that hurt the most was how it made me feel those old grief emotions again which I didn’t like at all. Almost like I was pushed back 10 months to the early raw feelings of loss and grief and that hurt like hell. That in itself made me realise how honestly glad I am that I am not in that place any more. That crushing loneliness, grief and pure unimaginable sadness… I wonder how on earth I got through it.

Helen passed away the early hours of the morning and I just didn’t feel like it was right for me to go to sleep until that time passed. So to pass the time I stupidly drank all night and sat at my computer reading through the old Facebook posts from before and after. The alcohol intensified my emotions and reading all those words took me deeper into my own world of sadness. While I was waiting for the exact moment to pass one year on I clearly remembered and visualised myself standing next to Helen in the hospital bed waiting for the inevitable to happen. I just let myself feel what I was feeling because I really had no choice. In some strange way it was comforting to have these thoughts pushed onto me because sometimes I feel I am so busy with my new life that I forget how I got to where I am now.

At nearly midnight my daughter woke up crying uncontrollably. This doesn’t happen very often at all; maybe 3 or 4 times since Helen passed but this time was especially different. Olivia was pleading with me that she wanted mummy and reaching out her hand to an empty space in the bedroom. It floored me and I held her as tight as I possibly could and sobbed with her. All I could think was that not only has an innocent woman lost her life but my innocent children are without their mum forever……

Forever….

Forever is a long time and I can’t do anything at all to change that. Excuse my language but that Fucking cruel isn’t it!!

After I settled her I had time to reflect on what had happened and I actually took some comfort in it which I know must sounds strange. It was just the way she was holding out her hand like she could see something I couldn’t. I don’t really know what to believe when it comes to the things that may or may not happen after death but I am sure if Helen could have been there that night she would have been. I asked my daughter the next morning if she remembered anything from that night and she couldn’t. To this day she has never mentioned it so maybe it was a dream, a nightmare or something I can’t explain.

Bereavement, Grief, Widow, Widower, Bereavement Counselling, Child bereavement, Carer, Terminal Illness, Death, Loss, Grieving

 

One thing to note though is when I read through Helen’s old Facebook posts it really did show a true reflection of how amazing and strong she was. How she dealt with all that was happening to her.. Just amazing.

The day after the anniversary I was miraculously back to my usual self. Me and the kids woke up happy and we got on with our lives.

Life is for living and being happy.. That’s all I focus on.. I will die one day so I may as well be happy until then.

Very Difficult Conversations

 

Very Difficult Conversations

I have often thought about what the best way for someone you love to die is. Instantly or for you to have time to say what you need to say. Of course no way is best however after experiencing both with my father passing away suddenly for me I selfishly feel having that time has helped me.

If someone is taken instantly then I guess this is easier for the person but for the people left behind there are unanswered question and less closure.

Helen and I had time to tell each other how we felt, what we meant to each other and in some ways to say good bye. The price of that though was I had to watch the life being sucked out of her and she also had to prepare herself for that journey leaving her loved ones behind.

Again selfishly I was able to appreciate more of Helen and what we did together because I knew certain things would be the last time it would happen so I took that time to take it all in and put my all into it

It was about this time last year that Helen and I started to have some of the most painfully difficult conversations. Helen would ask me the question that I never wanted her too.. “Am I dying Mike?” or she would simply say to me “I am dying Mike”

Throughout the twists and turns of Helen’s illness I would always find something positive to say to her. Even when I was told the cancer had spread I was able to relay that to Helen and follow it up with all the many options we had available to her just to add that positive slant. That diagnoses didn’t mean the end, it just meant it was the start of a very difficult journey but there was stuff that could be done.

But during these difficult questions I knew I had nothing more to give her. I knew what was happening, she knew what was happening and this was I believe a way of her coming to terms with the inevitable. I also knew that all I had to do until the end was to just be there for her and with her. Hold her hands when she was scared and hold her tight when she was desperate.

We had many long very deep conversations late into the night about our situation. We talking about life after death and what we thought may happen; Helen also joked that she would come back and scare me if she could. But I never like focusing on negative things so instead of talking about what was going to happen I would turn our conversation towards what we had achieved together and what Helen had achieved in her life. Somehow I feel like this helped her through because the tears would stop and the smile would return. She had achieved many amazing things in her life and touched so many people along the way.

Some of the conversation led to what happens to me afterwards…. Helen asked a few times what I was going to do. Of course I had no idea apart from protect the kids as much as possible and help them through. Although I knew what was going to happen there was nothing that could’ve prepared me for it. I clearly remember the one short conversation we had about me moving on afterwards. Of course not something Helen or I wanted to talk too much about nor could really comprehend at that time but we both knew at some point afterwards I would. All Helen wanted was for me and the kids to be happy.

I also look back and think about what we were doing this time last year. Helen and I bought memory boxes for me and the kids. What I find astounding is that she helped chose them knowing full well why we were getting them.

I wouldn’t wish those conversations on anyone but they have really helped me deal with my grief. I was able to tell Helen all I need to tell her and she knew she couldn’t have been loved any more by anyone else. For me that gives me peace of mind.

Also I was given strict instructions. Simply to make sure me and the kids are happy. So that’s what I am doing.

Mike - Copy