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

Category: Getting Through

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

 

My Simple rules of life

 

Just a couple of simple rules of how I live my and why.

Rule 1 = Just be Happy

During the last few weeks of my wife’s life we had many very deep conversations. But there has always been something she said to me that stood out above all the rest. And that was when she said plain and simply that she wanted me to be happy. Such a simple thing to say but she said it in way that she really did mean it and on reflection that’s what any of us wish for isn’t it? When I put myself in Helen’s shoes which I often do this is exactly what I would want for Helen, my kids, my family and friends. I honestly can’t think of any other way to be apart from Just be happy.

Rule 2 = Live the best life I can live

I live with another simple rule to get me through. My wife fought hard to stay with us and to remain happy but sadly she lost her life. I know very well how annoyed she would be if the illness that took her life away continued to affect the lives of her loved ones. So the rule is simply to live the best life I can for me and my kids. My wife deserves it.

This is how I live my life now. I do it if it makes me and my kids happy.

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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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