Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

opening up

On November 10th 2012 just after 8pm I left my friends’ home a happily married father. By 9.17pm I was sat outside their house in an ambulance, a widower in shock. I only remember the time because I noticed the hands on the clock were in the same position as when our son was born two years and three weeks earlier.

A lot of people know our story already (well at least part of it) because it was tragic enough to make national news and touching enough to keep people talking long after. This blog, however, is not really about telling the story. It’s about being a man that opens up about how it feels to lose the woman, with whom he shared eight years of his life, in an instant and what happened next.

In my shock and utter delirium straight after my wife was killed, I almost started blogging straight away (grief from sudden death does crazy things to your head). I’d always wanted to start a blog but wasn’t convinced I had anything that interesting to share.

I quickly realised I had more important things to focus on in raising a child as a sole parent than keeping a public diary. That was until I spoke to a man called Steve Smart at a charity called Care for the Family. They offer a telephone support network for widows and widowers, a kind of buddy system for when people connected by the death of a spouse need to talk to someone empathetically. He said that sadly there were very few male volunteers, perhaps because men find it hard to open up about their feelings. Fortunately for me I don’t. I use the word ‘fortunately’ because I think opening up now is going to make living in my own head somewhat less difficult in the future. That’s what the books I’m throwing myself into say anyway.

So, I’m not exactly sure where this blog is going. I’m not sure how I’ll tell my story and whether I’ll go back to the beginning or start from where I’m at now. But I can’t help but think that some poor bastard will wake up tomorrow morning, realise their wife has gone forever and that it wasn’t just a nightmare, and search for someone who can relate to the hell that they are going through. Perhaps if I keep writing they’ll find that someone. Perhaps a few more blokes will be encouraged to open up about how they feel. Perhaps the process might act as catharsis and make things easier on me. Perhaps when the next bloke calls Care for the Family there will be a few more guys to talk to.

Let’s see how things go…

80 comments on “opening up

  1. handy fishing
    April 27, 2013

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  3. mrslchen
    June 5, 2013

    Thank you for your blog from the bottom of my heart.
    My darling husband passed away on 24th May, aged 34.
    I’m 25 and now a widow. Our little boy is only 15 months old.
    I’m still waiting for the day when I wake up and don’t wish that this finishes us off too.

  4. thabiso
    June 18, 2013

    Hi, tx for the encouragememt and knowing that im certainly not alone in this journey of loss. I lost my husband in 2005 but the pain or hurt still feels like it happened today. Certain things makes it difficult to forget like now when my boys are in their teens. Wish their dad was here to talk to them from a mens perspective. Its tough to be alone and tryimg to make ends meet as a single parent.

  5. Josiah
    August 7, 2013

    I just stumbled across your blog a couple of days ago as you have said “searching for someone who can relate to the hell that we are going through”. I am not actually a widower but I lost my girlfriend just over a week ago after a short five month battle with cancer. We had been dating for right at a year and had been friends since high school. The spin your world goes into after a loss like this is confusing to say the least. Anyway have been reading off and on and wanted to thank you for being open enough to put yourself out there trying to help the rest of us.

  6. Jeff Hughes
    August 9, 2013

    Ben, it must have taken a lot of courage to start this blog and open up. I caught up with a mutual friend, Lee, who told me your story today. My wife and I lost our daughter two and a bit years ago. Contact through Care for Family helped us find others in similar situations and we joined a bereavement group in Milton Keynes.
    I’m not going to say anything trite here but just to say well done for writing the blog. I think many men do have issues at an emotional level when tragedy occurs, there is no right or wrong way to deal with grief but certainly and there is a lack of support when trying to deal with something so difficult. Take care. Jeff

  7. Jon M
    September 27, 2013

    Thank you for sharing this. I too am a widower from very sudden and tragic circumstances much like yours but instead my wife had succumbed to sudden heart failure in March of 2011. One moment she was fine the next …. she was gone and no way to revive her. Like you i reminisced on how just moments earlier I was talking to her and the night before we were laughing and enjoying each others company. I remember looking for months for something to read that would help ease the feelings I went through. I commend your blog and all it shows and stands for. For us we fight the reasons, of a higher purpose, “there is a reason”, etc; and other things said to us to try to comfort our souls. We look at our sons (mine was 10 when my wife passed), and we do what we can as both side of the parent coin. We forge forward because its the right thing to do. And we will heal. You are not alone.

  8. erinyaggy
    September 28, 2013

    Ben, I am very sorry for your loss. I lost my husband in a military training accident in 2008. He was stateside so his crash was unexpected. He has already done three deployments… My daughter was 18 months old at the time. I know that little people aren’t always easy at that age when you are struggling to even breathe.

    We have a group in the US, TAPS (, that sounds similar to your “Care for the Family” group. After a certain amount of time, we are given the opportunity and training to reach out to other survivors as Peer Mentors. It has helped me so much to know that I can reach out to recently bereaved women and let them know they are not alone.

    You are doing an AMAZING thing to get the word out that life as a widower is not easy and that young widows and widowers REALLY do exist. It seems that I am so much stronger for knowing my fellow survivors- or in our case- we call each other widsters, or widow sisters. As not all of us are married, I include girlfriends, fiancees, exes in that category.

    I am in the process of starting a blog – Maybe one day, I will have great links that we can all benefit from sources we have found helpful in our grief journey. There are so many great people out there, doing so many great things. I just want to help those who don’t know about them- to find the support that works for them.

    Once, I get going- may I have a link to your blog?

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  10. Mark Robinett
    October 2, 2014

    Been so long. I don’t know how to deal with this. First my Wife, then my Daughter. Cancer then a car wreck. I stand alone. What to do, what to do. She used to say.

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