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

Category: Happiness

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

 

Everybody has a choice

 

Everybody has a choice.

While Helen was alive and certainly more so since she passed away I have had many people say how bad my story is and how hard it must be. Some would also go on to mention about troubles in their lives and how hard it was/is but also making it obvious that there was no comparison between my troubles and theirs. Well, of course what has happened to me and my family is tragic but I would always be sure to explain to these people that we all have problems in life and they are all relative to us.

When I mean problems though I mean real problems. Not that you have less parking at work so have to walk further or that your fridge has packed up and all the food is ruined. I mean real problems that effect people in their everyday lives. I personally wouldn’t say what has happened to me is worse than someone losing a grandparent. Again, that’s not to say my story isn’t bad but it’s because I don’t think there should be a comparison. Everyone will perceive their own problems in their own way based on their own experiences, emotions and background.

This got me thinking more about the fact that everybody has a choice in life.

I think I need to be clear here when I say everybody has a choice. Their are very extreme circumstances where people don’t have a choice… Kidnapping, murder.. things out of our control. So here I am talking about life for the majority of people living in the world who live their lives in I suppose what is perceived in a normal way.

So everyone has a choice of how to react to the problems they face. A choice to be miserable or happy. I have said before that no one can be happy 100% of the time. I am ever the optimist but life can still get me down. It’s how you choose to deal with those negative emotions. It’s easy to wallow in negativity rather that looking for joy in your life. It’s all so easy to take for granted what we have. I also see people dwelling on things that are out of their control which can lead to some very difficult dark places where you don’t need to be.

As an example I can look at the treatment Helen had for her cancer and dwell on the fact that it didn’t work for her. I could dwell on the fact that we as a human race don’t know enough about Cancer to help people get better. So many what if’s flying around my thoughts. But actually when I play the last 4 years through in my head I think we made all the right decisions based on the information we had at the time. We followed the advice from the people who we trusted and from the information we gathered. I can’t dwell on these what if’s as it will get me no where. I simply have to put it down to bad bloody luck. One day maybe we will find out the reason why people get cancer and will answer some of my questions. I would love to see that day come but I am also sure that when that day comes there will be some other disease that we have to start battling with.

I think the below sums it all up perfectly.

An extract from Dr. R Joseph

In considering the multitude of forces that act on human beings—selective pressures over the course of evolution, heredity, genetics, biochemical fluctuations, how our parents raised us, and the cultural biases that we are all subject to—it may well seem that all our behaviour is determined by causal factors set in motion so long ago that we are helpless to alter their course. Certainly order exists in the universe, we are affected by our environment, and forces such as fate, God, or even our astrological sign (if we wish to believe in such things) may exert some influences on our behaviour. Nevertheless, we are not completely at the mercy of forces over which we have absolutely no control. We are still capable of making choices.

its-your-choice

 

How was Christmas as a Widower

 

How was Christmas as a Widower?

Well, after making the decision to give my kids the Christmas they would’ve had and deserve I immersed myself in making that happen. Decorations, Presents, build up and all the other stuff that makes this time of year magical for Kids. What I never realised though is how hard it would be to do it all when doing it on my own. It made me think about how as a kid I took for granted all that my parents did for me and my brothers. Lots of planning and hard work go into making an event perfect for the kids and for the kids it all just happens as if by magic. The kids never realised their parents are knackered from preparation and planning. But that’s part of our role hey.. to give our kids the most amazing time.

Also I am not that good with working out what presents to get people. I am fine with getting the kids stuff but Helen was great at knowing what to buy everyone else and would help wrap them all and prepare. I had to do this all alone and it was exhausting. Thinking back I think it’s crazy how stressed I got about making sure I got all the right people the right presents. Really; does it actually matter these days when most people buy themselves whatever they want anyway and I am sure they would have all understood. Still I worked hard to get it right so people wouldn’t see me as a failure and so the Christmas we all had would be very similar to the one we would’ve had if Helen was here. In the end everyone got nice presents, we managed to see most people and for the kids it was a magical exciting time. I watched with a massive smile as my kids woke on Christmas morning to a stocking and many presents. They were both so very excited especially when they saw that Father Christmas had taken a bite out of the Mince Pie and Rudolf had munched on the Carrot.

It sounds silly now how I got so stressed about it all but then I think most people do through the build up to Christmas don’t they. Plus I still have the 2 kids and a very busy full job so anything added to that can easily tip me over the edge. No one saw the sheer madness and stress I put myself in just because of all the stuff I needed to do to make a perfect Christmas. If they did I am sure they would’ve told me not to worry about it anyway.

I learnt many things though.

Firstly not to put myself under unnecessary stress. It’s just not worth it and no one will thank me for it.

Secondly I noticed that the kids seemed to enjoy the presents that cost £2 rather than the ones that cost £20. The simple ones were the most effective

Thirdly it wasn’t the presents that actually mattered to the kids. They were at their most happiest when I was actually sat on the carpet with them playing with those presents. That quality time was much more important to them rather than the item itself.

And that third point made me realise even more that presents are just a material objects.. Just a thing… a procession. I honestly don’t remember half the stuff I got the kids for Christmas but I do remember the great times we had playing together with some of the stuff they got. I also enjoyed more the time I spent with family and friends rather than the presents I received.

So another lesson learnt. The greatest gift I can received is people’s time and company.

As for being alone over Christmas… well I was so busy trying to get it all right that Helen took a back seat in my brain. It was only the day before Christmas eve when the reality hit me. It was more that Helen loved Christmas and would have loved seeing the kids having fun that hurt rather than her not being there with me.

Christmas was a busy one for many reasons plus we all got ill so overall I didn’t actually have too much time to think about Helen not being with us. Maybe thats a good thing.. maybe not.. I don’t know although Helen was the first thing that popped into my head as Olivia came into my room Christmas morning dragging her stocking. It was like Helen was there waiting for me to wake and nudged me straight away so not to forget her. But once the kids were up it’s difficult to be sad with 2 kids laughing and screaming with excitement.

I can’t forget Helen whatever I do so Christmas was just another time I wished she was here. A few evenings I led in bed awake contemplating the finality of her death. The fact she will never be back to cuddle me. My kids will never had their real Mum and I am still alone with me being our kids sole responsibility for the rest of their lives. Daunting and sad.

It was a nice Christmas full of fun, laughter, Calpol and Flu tablets.

 

 

 

If you want to do something why not go and do it?

 

If you want to do something why not go and do it?

Last week I performed in a local musical. 3 months of rehearsals and 5 shows to paying customers. Quite an achievement for me as I have never sang in front of anyone before and certainly never done anything like this before either. I had to learn some dialogue, had a solo singing part, learn some dance moved and was in the chorus’s.

The reason why I mention this is that I have asked myself many times whether I would have took the plunge and done this if my circumstances were different. Would I have taken the risk and pushed myself if I had a happy healthy home life? After all when you go through life generally you mould your life to a place that you are happy with while doing all the things you feel comfortable doing.

Why would I need to push myself in this direction if I didn’t need too even though I have always loved singing (thankfully I am not too bad at it)  and I have always loved musicals.

So would I have done it if Helen was still here and healthy?.… I guess the sad truth is probably not. I would have been too nervous, too embarrassed and just not confident enough.

This has made me think.. The simple facts are that it has taken the death is my wife to make me realise how short life is and how fragile it is. I now strive to understand what is important to me and about what I enjoy in life. This was the deciding factor to getting involved because what did I have to lose? Nothing at all. It was something I knew I would love so why was I not doing it.

I really had to push myself to gain the confidence to actually turn up on the first night, for the auditions, to sing in front of people, to rehearse in front of people and to actually do the shows. But, I have loved every single minute of it and it’s something I want to continue to do.

This has taught me a huge lesson which is if I love doing something I should simply go and do it. Nothing is stopping me apart from me.

Make it happen