Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

painful motivation

I ran the London Marathon yesterday. Years ago, a friend asked if I’d ever fancied doing it before and I said no. That was partly because I thought I’d end up losing too … Continue reading

April 14, 2014 · 8 Comments

mother’s day

Dear Mummy, Happy Mother’s Day. This will be my second one without you and I’m not even four yet. All the other children at nursery made cards for their mummies … Continue reading

March 30, 2014 · 10 Comments

the couch

I’ve started seeing a counsellor again. I first tried psychotherapy a couple of months after my wife was killed but it just didn’t work out. I suppose I had it … Continue reading

March 13, 2014 · 19 Comments

two’s company

I’ve been feeling very lonely recently and my loneliness isn’t really allayed by the company of others. I’m led to believe this sensation is common amongst the widowed. I think … Continue reading

March 11, 2014 · 29 Comments

nervous breakdown

Around this time last year I went on holiday with my best friends and Jackson. It didn’t go too well. I’m not sure why I thought that a week in the … Continue reading

February 22, 2014 · 5 Comments

special friendship

I took my little boy out for a walk this afternoon and ended up in the local library in an attempt to warm up after discovering that it was freezing … Continue reading

January 25, 2014 · 5 Comments

subtle moments

I went out for dinner with an old friend last night. Jackson wasn’t too pleased about me leaving the house, allegedly because he was concerned that it was my bedtime … Continue reading

January 17, 2014 · Leave a comment

cover story

Last week I felt the sudden pang of an emotion that I haven’t experienced in a very long time: excitement. It took me entirely by surprise not least because it … Continue reading

January 15, 2014 · 8 Comments

distant friends

I got a call from a friend on Friday who was phoning to let me know that an ex-colleague of ours had died. The last time I ever heard from … Continue reading

January 13, 2014 · 8 Comments

twelve days

A few weeks ago I launched a rather scathing attack on Christmas in a post I published on this blog. I was feeling exceptionally low at the time, and perhaps … Continue reading

January 2, 2014 · 7 Comments

first thoughts

As much as I try to understand what is going on inside my son’s little head, I’ve come to realise that it’s impossible to really know what a toddler is … Continue reading

January 1, 2014 · 3 Comments

mirror image

I took the picture of my wife on the left at Christmas in 2010 and the one on the right of our son today. It’s beautiful to still be able … Continue reading

December 26, 2013 · 3 Comments

nativity play

One of the things I really struggle with as a widowed dad raising a toddler alone is that I find myself constantly questioning what my son’s behaviour would be like … Continue reading

December 19, 2013 · 7 Comments

mindful happiness

Since starting this blog almost a year ago, I’ve been pretty outspoken about my distaste for many of the clichés and platitudes so often offered as comfort to the bereaved. And … Continue reading

December 16, 2013 · 11 Comments

happy christmas

Having lost my wife late last year it probably goes without saying that 2013 has been an unhappy year for me, save the joy our little boy has continuously brought. But … Continue reading

December 12, 2013 · 7 Comments

christmas angel

This week I decided to give Christmas a go. This time last year my wife had only been buried a week, and yet somehow I felt more determined to try … Continue reading

December 8, 2013 · 18 Comments

mood swings

Most people can’t remember much about being a toddler; it’s much easier to recall memories of being a teenager. Sometimes I wonder whether one of the reasons we forget our … Continue reading

November 17, 2013 · 7 Comments

truly privileged

I took on a train journey with my son yesterday. It sounds like a simple, everyday kind of thing to do and it was once. But some things that used … Continue reading

November 14, 2013 · 7 Comments

helping parents

An article appeared in today’s Daily Telegraph about an issue that has been making headlines for several weeks – government plans to reform Widowed Parent’s Allowance (WPA). Currently the allowance is made … Continue reading

October 28, 2013 · 20 Comments

birthday boy

Jackson, my boy, as you’re three today, There are two or three things that I’d like say. There are one or two things you might never have known, And there … Continue reading

October 17, 2013 · 35 Comments

postfatal depression

After recently spending an enlightening weekend at a residential camp led by the child bereavement charity Grief Encounter, which was primarily devoted to children who had lost a parent, I began to … Continue reading

October 11, 2013 · 21 Comments

in training

When my wife first died late last year, one thing that really struck me was just how many presents our son received. Everyone was so generous but I couldn’t help … Continue reading

September 27, 2013 · 10 Comments

the boss

My last post received lots of really helpful comments about dealing with my son’s grief-related anger. So useful have they been, in fact, that he’s actually been much better today. And perhaps … Continue reading

September 26, 2013 · 15 Comments

burst bubble

This is a guest post by Kathi Palitz Kathi is 33 years old and mother to three daughters. Her middle daughter, Vega, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in January … Continue reading

September 19, 2013 · 8 Comments

but nothing

‘Are you going to be okay with all this?’ These days I get asked this question every time I attend any social occasion that involves more than four people. I … Continue reading

September 1, 2013 · 19 Comments

dream on

Grieving for two can be a heavy load. The minute I get a little respite from my own pain, my son will do or say something that totally floors me … Continue reading

August 18, 2013 · 8 Comments

birthday beats

Today’s my 34th birthday. This means I’m now what I said I feared most when I gave my wife’s eulogy – older than she ever got chance to be – … Continue reading

August 12, 2013 · 31 Comments

time out

This whole blogging business is still pretty new to me. Having set up my site without giving it too much thought, I never really got chance to explore any guidelines … Continue reading

July 29, 2013 · 22 Comments

what if

What if we’d never left home that day, What if we’d travelled a different way. What if we’d gone by taxi not train, What if we’d only had starter not … Continue reading

July 22, 2013 · 26 Comments

eight months

The day after I started writing this blog I published a post entitled Imagining It as a way of responding to the frequent comment, “I just can’t imagine what you’re going through”. Six … Continue reading

July 10, 2013 · 8 Comments

marginalised grief

By the time my grandma passed away this week she had come to terms with her death. She had been suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, a scarring of the lung, which made … Continue reading

July 9, 2013 · 7 Comments

grief encounter

My mind is racing this morning as it has been all through the night. My head is so full of thoughts that I can barely decide how to commit them … Continue reading

July 7, 2013 · 11 Comments

park life

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how sad I felt seeing my son so happy in the park. About how his first joyous experience of a bouncy … Continue reading

July 5, 2013 · 4 Comments

spelling boobies

I used to laugh a lot at the stark contrast between human behaviour back home in the north of England and life in London. The best way I can sum … Continue reading

June 26, 2013 · 21 Comments

breathtaking boy

I always hate the idea of train travel with my son. It’s the not knowing how he’s going to behave that bothers me. I pray he’ll sleep for the whole … Continue reading

June 25, 2013 · 15 Comments

father’s day

It’s Father’s Day in the UK today. For those of us who are lucky enough to actually have a father, it’s probably a time to send a card, pick up … Continue reading

June 16, 2013 · 10 Comments

toddler grief

In January this year I wrote a feature for The Guardian about my experience of telling my son his mummy was dead. I guess at the time I hoped his pain would … Continue reading

June 11, 2013 · 16 Comments

involuntary chuckle

One of the many reasons I hate being a widower is that it’s just not me. Sometimes when I read back what I’ve written I get annoyed at what a … Continue reading

June 10, 2013 · 10 Comments

primal scream

In the weeks following my wife’s death I was consumed by fear for our son’s future. How would he react? How would I tell him what had happened? Could he … Continue reading

June 9, 2013 · 5 Comments

inverted commas

Five months ago this week I set up this blog with just one intention. I wanted to help other young widowers find someone who could relate to the hell they … Continue reading

June 5, 2013 · 21 Comments

taking liberties

Dear Desreen, I’m writing to you to ask for forgiveness. I’ve just done something that I can barely excuse. I’ve closed your loyalty card at Liberty. And the luxurious London … Continue reading

June 4, 2013 · 13 Comments

school years

My wife always measured people’s age in school years. I was “the year above” her even in my thirties despite the fact that we were born just eight weeks apart. … Continue reading

May 30, 2013 · 2 Comments

day off

Some mornings I wake up and wonder, ‘Should I have a day off from grief today?’. A whole day when I don’t analyse my loss, write about it or read … Continue reading

May 28, 2013 · 19 Comments

playing happy

This is a fourth guest post by my two-year-old son, Jackson Bo Brooks-Dutton. In Jackson’s fourth post, he shares his views on moving from the last home he ever shared … Continue reading

May 23, 2013 · 3 Comments

heavy happiness

The sun was shining on us today. I woke up feeling okay and decided it was time to get out and play. Being ill for a fortnight has not only … Continue reading

May 19, 2013 · 13 Comments

dear mummy

Dear Mummy, This shot was just days before we had to say goodbye. Daddy couldn’t wait to show you but sadly he never got the chance. It’s been nearly six … Continue reading

May 10, 2013 · 12 Comments

tough question

On Friday my son woke several times in the night riddled with a fever brought on from chicken pox. However hard I tried, I couldn’t get him to swallow the … Continue reading

May 5, 2013 · 11 Comments
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