Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Helping other widows and widowers

When I starting writing this blog - six years ago now – I didn’t count helping other widows and widowers amongst my motives.

I’d lost my wife, and Max his mother, around two years before I started putting letter-shaped pixel to screen.

In those two years my focus, and functions, had been severely limited and didn’t extend much past child rearing protocols.  I managed distractions, embraced them enough to catch a break and some perspective, and combated them when my child really needed my best attention.

Then blogging joined my catalogue of occasional worthwhile pursuits.

I’ll be forever grateful for the suggestion.

It meant I had somewhere to put down my thoughts, my experiences.  Somewhere to discuss situations, a way to better process information and also encouraging the valued input of others.

It was helping me.

I never really thought it would help others reading it.

But it seems it did, and still does.

Emails come in from all over the world, for example, at the weekend they came from Spain, Singapore and Somerset (I should check if any of them would put up with a visit from us).

It’s sometimes very difficult to reply to them all, not least because of time, but because many of the people who’ve been motivated to find Single Parent Dad have stories and situations to share that really need my very best, and finding the right words isn’t always a breeze.

My heart gets conflicted.  Half of it warmed by comments that my writing has in some way helped or inspired someone, the other cooled by the sad realities that are being shared.

One of the mercies I feel I was afforded in abrupt widowhood was that I escaped the inevitability of death, knowing it was on its way, and I was going to have to deal with it.

Darren, who recently got in touch with me, hasn’t been so fortunate.

His wife, Lynn, was diagnosed with cancer at the tender age of 31.  After treatment they were told that children were an impossibility.

Despite that, Lynn did get pregnant and four-years-ago gave birth to their son, Matthew.

A rollercoaster ride of emotions I’m sure, one worsened by the news soon after Matthew’s birth that his Mom’s cancer was terminal.

Four years and more treatment have passed, and Lynn’s condition has more recently been diagnosed as worsening, and Matthew and his dad, Darren, are left with the very real realities and daunting prospects of dealing with that.

On the advice of others, Darren has started a blog.  He doesn’t quite know how much he’ll be writing there, if it will become a permanent thing or what he’ll be writing about, but I thought the least I could do is to try and share it with people who’ve helped me enormously along my own journey.

You can visit Darren’s blog, Here is now, at

Hope you can be as much help, internet, as you've been to me.

Go do your thing.