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

Category: Widow or Widower

A Widowed Single Parent

A Widowed Single Parent

The reality of being a single parent hit me quite early on after Helen passed away

This was it… I was the kids sole parent forever and their last surviving parent. I’m the only person left in the world who would love them like only a mother or father would do.

The responsibility of being alone bringing them up in this world can feel quite overwhelming. What worries me the most is what if something happens to me!! Helen and I had very similar views of how we wanted to parent our children and we were very similar as people so if I wasn’t here the way we wanted them to be brought up would be gone… Not to mentioned the memories we had as the kids parents.. My children will already have a totally different life because Helen is not here with us so without me that would take even more of a shift.

I do realise though that kids/people are very resilient and although everything has an effect on people I know they will be fine whatever happens. It’s just not the way we wanted it but then again I am already in that position now.

I’ve been a single parent now for a while and I am no different to all the other single parents in this world. Although I guess I don’t get odd weekend off while the kids go to the other parent. I have found that I need to be super organised and anything extra than the norm makes a massive difference. Normal day to day life is full of so many small little jobs, washing, ironing, packed lunches, getting kids clothes out, cleaning, cooking, organising care for the kids, shopping, work… the list goes on. None of this is hard at all but put them all together they all add up and means I am generally constantly doing something and it’s only once the kids are asleep and all these jobs done I can relax.

When you add anything extra out of the norm it’s just another small task to add to the list and that can be strangely daunting. For instance I almost dread the times I get birthday party invitations through which I know sounds mad but it means I need to check my diary to see if we are free, work out if I can get the kid there, then I need to think about a card and present. Sounds crazy but these little extra things in life make a difference.

One thing I have never done though is begrudge my situation. I know I am lucky to be in my position so I just get on with what needs to get done and give the kids as much a normal life as possible.. What is normal anyway??

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A recent tricky decision was to re-home our dog. Teagle was there with Helen before I was and she loved him so much. Thankfully through the last difficult year of Helen’s life our good friends looked after him which I know Helen was very happy about. For them though life became more busy so he had to come back to me. I tried to make it work but it was that extra thing to look after and the extra things to do that was a struggle. Plus with a full time job the poor thing was left alone quote a bit and any walk I did with him meant I needed to drag the whole family out me.. Nice on a weekend but not nice trying to fit that in before school.

I know Helen would want the best for him and for us so he is in the right place.. with a lady who loves dogs, can give him constant attention and walk him for hours.

Facing a new year as a Widower

 

Facing a new year as a Widower.

It would be so easy for me to say how glad I will be to see the back of 2013 since it brought immense sadness to my life. But actually as ever I look at the positives rather than the negatives..

Of course it will go down as the worst year of my life so far… Caring for my wife and watching her get weaker and weaker by the day and then watching her last breaths. A truly awful time that I will never ever forget.

However, in 2013 I was able to express to Helen how much I loved her and we were able to spend some very special moments together. This again is something I will never forget. The simple fact that Helen knew she couldn’t have been loved any more by anyone else when she died made our parting that much easier to bare.

In 2013 Helen was relieved of all her pain and suffering. A human can only take so much and if it wasn’t going to get easier then the end result for her was sadly the best.

In 2013 I surprised myself in how I have dealt with the loss and how strong I have actually been. I learnt how strong I can be through the years of helping us all get through the cancer journey but this was an even greater test. Even knowing that 2013 would be Helen’s last didn’t even come close to preparing me for it yet I think I am doing pretty well.

In 2013 I have watched in awe as my children continue to grow into very happy, fun and caring kids all while dealing with the loss of their mummy. When I told them Mummy was dead they never understood the magnitude of what that actually means. Neither did I actually and they probably still don’t. No child should have to face what they have had to deal with at such an early age yet although we have had some tough times they are coping amazingly well.

In 2013 I turned my sadness/story/positivity into a Blog and wrote 39 Blog Posts that reached 155 countries across the globe. It’s constantly helping many people as others sadly face similar circumstances.

In 2013 I have met some amazing and inspiring people in the same boat as me who have all helped me through this difficult time more so than anything else.

In 2013 I pushed myself and achieved one of my dreams which was to be on stage in a musical. It wasn’t the west end or anything; rather with a local amateur group and I sang and acted in front of people which was always a huge fear of mine. But I still just done it because I could.

So although 2013 has been awful in many ways there is lots to be thankful for and lots to take away from it. I wish Helen was here with me and the kids but the simple and sad fact is that she isn’t and I can’t do anything about that. I will just continue to be thankful for the time I had with Helen and for all she has given me.

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I personal feel like a different person to the one I was this time last year. I feel somehow empowered to do the things I really want to do and live the way I want to. I am less driven by money and procession but rather about the gratitude of what I have in life.. I have air in my lungs, my health and 2 amazing healthy kids so for me that is the main things in my life. I now know more than most that nothing lasts forever so I want to enjoy what I have when I have it rather than waiting for the right moments.

2014 will be more about helping the kids get through and me building my new life following the path I have been given. One day I will die so I may as well make the most of what I have.

Oh and I probably need to shed a few pounds too 🙂

Happy new year to you all x

 

9 months after Loss

 

Just over nine months have passed and somehow Christmas is just around the corner. How has that happened?

Although those nine months have flown by… so much has happened which feels quite strange as I also feel that my life has been at a standstill.

Taking my life from that one moment that I meet the woman of my dreams my life has been a roller coaster. We get engaged, get married, buy a house together and have a baby all in a very short space of time but it all just felt right. Life couldn’t have been more perfect. From there however the road we were on changed direction dramatically with the diagnosis of Cancer and then our happy lives swerved from perfect to a simple fight for survival.

One key aspect I have noticed is that the cancer related memories I have although so very easily accessible in my head are not at the forefront. This leaves me with the significant memories of all the happy milestones that we reached together and a life full of fun and laughter.

Recently though I find myself thinking about how I have got to where I am now in my life. I sit at home all alone wondering how on earth my life has turned out this way. Why have I lost my wife and how have I been left here alone with my 2 children. I obviously know how it’s happened but it feels very surreal how final the events of the past are.

Reality kicks in more and more as time goes on and I am reminded of it daily. My children always say they miss mummy and want her back and the only thing I can reiterate again and again to them is that she isn’t coming back. Even saying that myself is quite unbelievable and a hard hitting reminder of the harsh reality of life…  My Life

Helen now feels so far away. A distant memory.

The roller coaster ride that the grief process takes me on continues with full force. The highs are higher and the lows are lower. One minute the world is my oyster and I have the will to do anything and everything then the next all I want to do is shut myself away at home with my kids, lock the doors, shut the blinds and just be left alone in my safe little bubble.

I have no idea what the point of this Blog Post is to be honest. I guess it’s a simple post telling people how I feel just after 9 months on….

Widowers Wedding Ring

 

Over the time of living in my new world as a widower there have been many questions that I needed to find answers too. Most of the questions I had are very common for people in my position so I plan to try and cover off some of these questions in this and future  blog posts with the hope that they help others find their own answers.

The first one is about the Wedding Ring and what on earth you do with it.

It’s these types of things that people think about when they have lost their husband/wife. Probably not something you would expect to think about until you are actually in this position though.

Should I keep it on my wedding finger?

Should I take it off completely?

Should I move it to another finger?

Should I melt it down to something else?

From my experience with my time on the WAY Foundation Facebook Page this question came up a lot and the answers were very varied. Some people not wanting to remove it at all. Some removing it straight away. Others leaving it on until they found someone else. This is certainly a personal decision for anyone and there is no right or wrong.

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For me though there were some clear facts that helped me make my decision…

I was no longer a married man. This in itself is a massive realisation to deal with but it was fact. The vows I took on my wedding day included. ‘in sickness and in health until death do us part’

So as I am the kind of person who thinks black is black and white is white; If it’s grey then its’ grey and so on. In my brain you should only have a wedding ring on if you are married. After all that’s is what it means isn’t it. A ring on your wedding finger means you are married.. No ring means you are not. Now I know it’s not that simple but to me it is.

The other deciding factor was that my marriage and my wedding ring means everything to me. I meant all of my vows, I loved Helen and will continue to love her forever.

So personally I had to remove the ring from my wedding finger. It just didn’t feel right being there but at the same time I wanted to keep it on to remind me of my wife and the love we shared.

It now resides on the third finger of my right hand which is where I want it to stay forever.

As I said before this is a very personal yet important decision for any widow and there is no right or wrong answer. This is just my thought process and my decision.

 

A different meaning of the word Mum

 

A different meaning of the word Mum

One thing that I always really struggle with now is the word Mummy. For me and mainly for the kids the real meaning of the word mum is now totally different and will be that way for their whole lives. Everyone has a Mum don’t they??

It’s very hard as a parent in this situation because I want nothing more than to make sure my children are happy and I would do anything for them and give them what they really need. But…. The one thing my kids would want more than anything else in the world is their mummy and that’s the one thing I can’t give them. That in itself is a life sentence that I find hard to swallow.

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Olivia tonight was sad again and really wanted mummy. While I was explaining again that Mummy could never come back I had this feeling bubble up in my stomach about how I would feel if I could have her back. I felt pure excitement, elation and happiness at that thought but then I started to listen to my own words…. “She is never coming back” Needless to say Livy and I were on the sofa crying together.

 

I will say it again.. everyone has a mum don’t they? Now I certainly know first hand this isn’t the case but it just seems that is the way. I guess because I now live very much in a Mums world.. they are bloody everywhere I go.

School runs, School events, Birthday Parties, Play dates.. generally all Mums. Luckily all the mums are really nice so we all get on well but I know its very strange for the kids. All their friends have Mum’s. All their friends say “mummy” and someone answers to that name….. Ooops that part has just made my eyes moist.

My kids will probably never say mummy again and have someone respond……. maybe they will but that meaning will still be different.

As Olivia is still very young I do think not having a Mum will just be a way of life.. It will be just how it is but there are times when I see Olivia craving that type of relationship. Again I can give her most things in life but I can’t be a mum.. As gentle as I am I will never be as gentle as a mum. I can’t even take her into the girls toilets which I know she loves to do. Most times when I am with friends Olivia will always find a mum or a woman to cling too. She loves that female company and I am happy to let it happen as that’s the one things I can’t give her.

Marley is different. I know he misses mummy just like Olivia but he is younger and I have always been a massive part of his life. He does get very sad as well though.. why wouldn’t he? He still missed those gentle mummy cuddles that I can’t give him.. I try though but I always have to end it with a daddy squeeze.

So…. the word Mummy.. such a precious important word that so many people take for granted.. I know I have many times but it’s one word that means the world and is irreplaceable.