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

Category: Grief

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

 

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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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

 

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.