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

Category: Child Bereavement

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

 

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.

 

A life without a Mum

 

A life without a Mum

I don’t think I will ever really come to terms with my loss or be able to accept it but at the same time I do now feel at peace with it. Maybe it’s because I know there is nothing I can do about it and because after experiencing what I have I try to focus hard on being happy and enjoying my life. I have seen death, I know what it looks like and I know it will come to me one day so until then I want to live my best life with my kids.

However the huge struggle I have recently and something I can’t get out of my head is that the kids have lost their mummy forever and that Helen is missing them grow up.

The kids and I were recently looking at some pictures of Helen and kids which were taken not long before she passed away. Those special moments captured in time but what really stood out so strong was how much older the kids look now and how Helen stays the same. It really is forever isn’t it! There really are no more special moments to cherish for the kids and their mum.

Another clear reminder of this was when I showed the kids some of Helen’s clothes I have kept. Olivia has been wanting to see them for a while but I have been putting it off because I was worried how it would effect her but at the weekend we had some spare time so I got them out for us all to see. I’ve not seen them since I put them away safe about a year ago and I must say it was a shock for me to see them. The memories came flooding back and as I expected Olivia was really taken back by it as well and was then really unsettled for the rest of the day. Her pure need for a mother figure was even more on show because we had a kids party to attend that day and she was glued to a young pretty mum that was there. Plus in front of that woman Olivia asked me if she could be her new mum…… Being quite use to this now I simply told her that the lady was married and had a family of her own but it showed me yet again what Olivia is missing in her life that I cannot fill.

Marley is different. He will get sad if we all get sad and listens to what Olivia says which again makes him sad but very rarely will he initiate anything. He was much younger and as I have featured so much in his life I guess he only ever really remembers me. At the same time though I know he misses a mum too. That female touch to scoop him up and make him feel safe. Of course I can do that and I do it all the time but I can’t be that woman they both want.

That day was very tricky and that evening Olivia mentioned how unfair it is that everyone else has a mum and she doesn’t. Of course most of the children she knows have mummies but I explained that there are many children without mums and many without Dads. Some without both. I mentioned the widower friends I have that we have met a few times. The children in that family are without a mum just like her.

“Why me?” she said “Why did I have to be the one to be without a mum?”

My reply… “I know it’s not fair but we shouldn’t wish this on others and shouldn’t wish other people to die.”

We talked some more and I said how sad it was for me that I had lost my wife, best friend and soul mate. I expressed how said I am about that but then realised that actually I am generally so engrossed in the kids grief that I forget what I have lost. It’s pretty shit I can tell you!

But what stands out the most is not my loss but the fact that my beautiful children are without their mum and that Helen is missing this special time with her children. To be honest that fucking tears me up every time I think about it.

I know the kids will have a great life.. I will make sure of that but they will never have THEIR mum ever again. THEIR mum to take them to school, to pick them up, hug them when they are sad, laugh with them, the list is bloody endless.

Family

 

When my kid say something funny and make me laugh or when they learn something new or be cute I feel both so happy about that but then a pain where I wish Helen could have witness that too.

We’ll have bad days and good days and I do believe letting the kids do things like see Helen’s clothes is important for them. It reminds them of Helen and helps them along their journey.

I know there is no fix to this problem; only for me to continue doing what I am doing and keeping them happy but I hurts like hell knowing what they have lost and what Helen is missing. All Helen wanted was a happy family and to be a mum.

Tragic

 

Mummy has died and she will never be coming back

 

Mummy has died and she will never be coming back.

These words seem to slip off the tongue so easily these days and the meaning of what I am actually saying doesn’t seem to register in my head.

The Kids and I obviously often talk about mummy and thankfully it’s mostly in a happy and positive way. There are times though when they are missing her or want her. During these times one of the kids will often ask me if mummy is coming back or when she is coming back. I know they know she won’t but it’s like they keep testing the water just in case I say something different.

I knew early on that I had to be honest with them about what had happened and I was sure with myself that I would never deviate from the facts.

Mummy is dead and she will never be coming back.

It’s the harsh truth and If I ever gave them any hope of anything different I knew it would knock them off their tracks and bringing them back on track would be difficult. So since that awful day I have had to constantly re-iterate the facts to my children. Initially it was daily and now it’s only now and then but like I said; I say those words as if I am a broken record and as if the meaning of what I am saying is not important.

Mummy is dead and she will never be coming back. A short and simple sentence but with an enormous meaning for my two kids.

When I realised just how nonchalant I was when saying these words I really had to think about why that was the case. I spent some time saying it out loud just to make myself hear it. I mean really properly hear it; understanding each word and the meaning behind the sentence. To be honest I quite prefer the broken record option rather than the realisation of it. Most of the time I won’t even realise the meaning of what I am saying and that’s fine with me. The kids will understand what I am saying and that’s the main thing. I know the reality of it all and I don’t need to be reminded of it so I will continue to say it as I do..

I think sometimes it’s OK to be like this. It sounds harsh but life is not always easy and certainly the events that have occurred in my life have been harsh. I also realise that I don’t need to immerse myself in it all the time. Saying these words like they mean nothing I think is OK as long as I don’t lose sight of their real meaning. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I will continue to stick to the facts so the kids continue moving forward in the right direction.

So I maintain the points I mentioned in a previous Blog Post

  • Mummy is never coming back
  • We cannot get her back
  • Mummy wanted us to live our lives and be happy
  • It’s very sad mummy has died but we all deserve to live our lives and be happy

These point have given my kids the clear facts but also something positive for them to think about. Of course it’s sad what has happened but it’s true that no matter what happens all Helen and I wanted for our kids is happiness and there is nothing stopping them having that. Anyone who know them will never know what they have been through because they are two of the happiest little kids I have ever met. It’s a rare occasion to not see a smile on their faces.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that you can be honest with children. Sometimes brutally honest and still enable them to have a happy childhood. It’s not easy at all but it’s what they deserve.

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