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

Category: Carer

Life is good but still not always easy


It’s been a long while since the last blog post and although there have been a few times where I have felt the need to write that need quickly fades. I originally set this up to both help myself and others with grief and I guess selfishly I’ve stopped posting because I’ve just not needed to. It’s not that I have stopped grieving as I think personally I always will to some extent; it’s just that I am better equipped to deal with it as time has passed.

Now though I have decided I wanted to write something; for two reason.. 1. To update where we are in our lives and 2. To summarise the last year or so for my family and I.

Life for us is great. Yes I have lost my wife and my children have lost their mum but we live a very good life filled with immense fun and laughter. The kids are growing so fast, doing well at school and the happy, smiley faces they have always had continue on just as strong..

I still find myself having to deal with difficult times like when Olivia she said she feels like she’s never had a mother. I totally understand that statement. She was 4 when Helen passed away and her memory of Helen is minimal. Probably mixed up with the pictures and movies I have together with the need for the family to keep her alive through our memories. Still it’s a disgusting thing to hear your daughter say.

In a recent conversation the kids were talking to me about how they just have a dad. I suggested to them that it’s normal for them to just have me and that they don’t/won’t know what it’s like to have two parents. Kids just know what they know. I liken it in a way to my father being disabled. It was just the way it was and to me it was normal. I never got to play football with him or run around a park etc. because he was in a wheel chair and that’s the way it was. I never thought anything about it. I just enjoy pushing him around in his chair and slapping his bald head as it was always at a good height.  Obviously losing your mum as such a young age is a worse thing to have to deal with which also has lasting effects but I can see the kids accepting the way things are. They just have a dad and their mum is gone.. for them it’s just the way it is.

Even now over 3 years on parts of Helen and her memory continue to disappear due to things you may not even think about but is so prominent for me. I have changed the car we bought together. I have redecorated some of the house that we did together. Some of the clothes I bought with her I have got rid of. Even down to plates we both used or cups. A slow process but the parts of Helen are still disappearing. For me though I don’t need material things to remember her. I don’t go to the crematorium that much because I really don’t feel the need. I have the memories and the feelings I still hold for her and carry them with me always.

Another milestone that we are moving toward is the fact that the kids have nearly lived half their lives without a mum. After that time passes that gap will just continue to grow. Another stupid milestone that doesn’t really mean much but for some reason  it’s something I think about and another tough thing for me to deal with.

Rightly or wrongly the kids do talk less about mummy these days. It’s not that they have forgotten but more I think that they are accepting their lives as they are. Interestingly though mummy still features plenty in their lives. I find it intriguing that they talk about her like she is still here and that she is still their mum which of course she always will be whether she’s here or not. They openly talk about mummy and it’s clear to me they both have this huge love for her and are happy to talk about her not being here. This I think shows how important it is to talk to kids about anything that is happening. They can deal with much more than we give credit for.

I am obviously bias about my own kids but I think they are both amazing. Such happy, fun, well mannered, rounded and polite kids. We have so much fun together and I feel blessed to have the time I do with them. Marley had his long hair cut recently and it really affected me. The cute little boy with long whity blond hair that Helen I and knew suddenly has short boys hair and to me he went from my little baby boy to a young lad. It both made me sad and happy at the same time.

Also they are both doing really well at school; Marley loves learning and just seems to enjoy anything he does. Olivia being a little more complicated (she is a female after all) has struggled over the last few years but recently I’ve seen a massive shift in her. Like me she may not be the most academic person in the world but watching her love for children, the patients she has and her caring nature is just awe inspiring to me. Helen amazed me when the kids were small because her caring nature, patients and time she would have for the kids was tremendous. Even if Helen was exhausted from lack of sleep or from the drugs she had to take she would always find energy to deal with the kids to make sure they were ok. It’s like Helen lives on through Olivia. Life isn’t about getting good grades in my opinion. It’s about being happy, being able to socialise, communicate and have fun. My two kids have all this in abundance and for what they have been through and continue to go through I find that amazing.

The worse thing I continue to live with is the fact that Helen can’t see her kids, feel proud of them, laugh with them, just be with them. Similarly I hate that I can’t share our children with her, sit and watch them together as they play, read, laugh together. Also that the kids can’t give their mum a hug or hear her tell them how much she loves them or how proud she is. I make a lot of effort to make sure they know how much she would love them and how proud she would be.. even that never feels enough.

Like I said though life is great. We are all happy and healthy and for me that’s all we can ever ask for.

Bereavement, Life, Happiness, Grief, Widower


A Carer


A Carer? Really?

During the last few years I was on and off a carer to my wife and when I said this to people I would sometimes receive a strange response. A kind of surprised look. I think it was more because it was given a label rather than anything else.

There are 2 reasons why I mention this.

First reason is that there are many people out there who don’t even realise that they are a carer. Again maybe they don’t realise the label it’s given rather than not knowing that they are helping someone.

So what is a Carer? (Text taken from

A carer is someone of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without this help. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.

Anyone can become a carer; carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and can be of any age. Many feel they are doing what anyone else would in the same situation; looking after their mother, son, or best friend and just getting on with it.

Carers don’t choose to become carers: it just happens and they have to get on with it; if they did not do it, who would and what would happen to the person they care for?

The second reason is that during my time as a carer I did use the services of and had counselling which taught me many things I would like to share.

The counselling sessions for me was the one place I could go where someone actually understood fully the pressures I was under. I mean I had a full time job, 2 young kids, a house to run and a wife to look after; not to mention my own emotional turmoil of watching my wife go through this awful journey. Granted I had some priceless help from relatives but most of the time when I was not at work I had all this to contend with on my own. It was very hard, very tiring, very stressful and put extra strain on life.

Also what made the caring more complicated was that I was caring for the one person that was closest to me; My wife and best friend. But through the sessions I learnt some valuable lessons.

1. How to separate the roles

I learnt to make sure I made time for us as a couple and not always about looking after Helen..  Helen loved Eastenders so we would always watch that together. I think over the course of my time with Helen she somehow drugged me to like that utter rubbish so I was hooked too. Thankfully I weaned myself off of it these days but at the time it was something nice we both enjoyed with a nice Cuppa. I actually miss those times.

Sometimes though I would, make some nice food for us or I would switch off the TV and we would just talk. Talk about anything and everything. Or maybe play a game together on the iPad. Just anything that makes you both interact with each other and enjoy each others company. Those times were so important because we could both feel a bit normal again without all the other pressures of life. We just enjoyed each other and that was key in getting us through. During those times Helen was no longer ill, I was no longer stressed out caring for everyone and we were just being Mike and Helen. I would pay big dollars to have that time back.

We laughed a lot….

I was sure to savour those moment and are now priceless memories that will live on with me until I myself have to kick a big red bucket  (don’t know why it’s a red one), grow some wings and fly up to the Haven holiday camp in the sky. Hopefully Helen has secured a nice luxury Caravan for us over looking the clouds.

2. Make time for yourself

Now this is a very difficult one because that bloody awful emotion called guilt raises it’s dirty orrible little grubby face. It’s also difficult because I was always so blooming tired by the time the kids were in bed so just sitting down was fine with me.

But….  It’s very important to make that time because you need to be on form with your patients in tact and can’t just keep carrying on without it. I found that going to work was my outlet. Sometimes getting in the car in the morning for work leaving my wife and kids behind with someone else to look after them was amazing. Sounds bad saying that but it was true. I big jug of coffee nicely nestled in the cars coffee holder, radio 1 on and a 45 min drive to the office in peace. Then at work I was just a normal chap doing his day job. Often Helen would pop into my head especially if she wasn’t too well or we were waiting for results but mainly I would just get on with my work.

I also had went out for a few beers now and then with mates which is never a bad thing.

These two pieces of advice helped me get through and more importantly made the time Helen and I had together a much better place.