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. Cathy Butterworth
    January 7, 2013

    Thank you for sharing with us all Ben xxxx

    • Jo
      January 17, 2013

      Ben we have a mutual friend who sent me your blog,
      I also feel your deep sadness, I lost my partner in a tragic accident
      in Sydney, Australia only 4mths ago. I too have a 2 year old and about to have
      our baby son due in 4 weeks. I feel frozen in time while everyone else
      continues on with there lives, even with the approaching birth I have
      had no time to think about it also because it is all too painful.
      I want to thank you for sharing your story.
      Jo

      • lifeasawidower.com
        January 17, 2013

        Thanks Jo. I’m so saddened to hear about your loss and understand that feeling of being frozen in time. Have you read my post ‘helping widows’? You might find it useful to share the lists of how friends and family can beat help you. It has been a great help to me and Jackson x

      • Andy Brooks
        January 24, 2013

        Jo – Forgive me if I’m wrong but I think you are the wife of Adrian?

        Ben – I’ve never lost anyone close but often wonder how I would cope. I wish you all the luck with this.

  2. Lyndsay
    January 7, 2013

    Truley inspiriational Ben, I have only just read your storey and I am so sorry for your loss. What your doing here is amazing keep going you have certialnly made me think about a few things in life. I hope you are ok and your son Jackson is too…thoughts are with you. Lyndsay xxx

  3. Sara
    January 7, 2013

    Your feelings are so similar to mine, your thoughts about blogging too. I remember the surreal feeling…it had to be someone else’s life. I lost my husband 11 years ago (drunk driver hit him), but just started blogging. Being a young widow, especially with kids, is hard, no doubt. I didn’t want anyone to ever feel like they had to do it alone, like I did. Feel free to look around. There might be some stuff there you can relate to (not sure anything will help you feel better, at least not yet, but perhaps). I started back in Oct with the day I lost my husband, so if you used the calendar and go back to OCT you will get a better look, rather than starting at the end. Either way, hold tight. You can’t see it now, and probably not for awhile, but you can do this. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions or vent. Nothing easy about what you are going through.
    Sara

    • lifeasawidoweurgh
      January 9, 2013

      I appreciate your honesty. In fact I crave it. The great thing about blogging is my feelings are laid bare so I don’t have to keep going over them with people – if they read it they’ll already know – and I don’t have to listen to people placating me.

      • Sara
        January 9, 2013

        I certainly am glad you appreciate the honesty. I know sometimes that is more than people can handle. I had so many questions as a new widow and no one could answer them. My experience isn’t the same as the 80 year old Gertrude who lost her Henry, husband of 60 years. It’s very different. If anything, I hoped people would appreciate the sincerity of someone who has been through the storm, rebuilt her life, and came out the other side happy. This journey as a widow/widower is a long road. We need all the help and answers we can get.

        Strangely enough, handling other people is one of the harder aspects of this process. Eleven years ago, when I was first widowed, the internet wasn’t what it is now. I looked for something like this and it just wasn’t available. I wish I would have had it then. I did journal, a lot, and have shared some of those journals on my current website.

        I am impressed by how you relate your feelings. They are cohesive, honest, and succinct, which makes them powerful. I can certainly appreciate what you have to say and how you are feeling, even in relation to people. 🙂

      • lifeasawidower
        January 10, 2013

        I really do appreciate the honesty. It’s probably becoming clear that I’m quite an open person, so I get little from people pussy-footing around me (I think you might be from the States, I hope that means the same thing there!)

        Thanks for all the comments. Each one is really helping and I’m going to revisit them in the future.

        x

      • Sara
        January 10, 2013

        I am from the states and it does mean the same thing.

        I look forward to more conversations. As you can tell, I’m sure, I like to talk–hence all the comments.

        Talk soon–

    • Vicky
      January 17, 2013

      Hi Sara I am so sorry to read about your loss. Please visit http://www.griefencounter.org.uk and if we can help you and your children in anyway please get in touch vicky

  4. Pete Groom
    January 8, 2013

    Hi Ben,
    Permit me to say thank you. Thank you for your honesty, thank you for sharing what must be an unbelievable burden with complete strangers.
    Thank you for not pigeon holing grief, for not generalizing it, for not attaching belief, religion or hope, because as you so simply put it, grief is individual.
    I admire you as a man and a Dad Ben. I hope more of us can be like you when faced with the same adversity.

    Best Wishes
    Pete Groom

    • lifeasawidoweurgh
      January 9, 2013

      Thanks Pete. I hope people find it useful. It’s actually helping me more than I thought it might too.

  5. Martin
    January 10, 2013

    Ben, I am truly moved by every article you’ve written.

    It’s remarkable to see how much of a positive step you’ve been able to make when your experience most likely would crush other people.

    I’m reading every article, thinking of my 2-year old son when I read and I find everything you write especially touching.

    I hope you feel proud of what you are doing, I hope you understand how much people who read this respect you, admire you and wish you well.

    You’re going to come of of this tragic experience stronger, wiser and I have no doubt about it, a truly remarkable man.

    Best wishes,

    Martin

    • lifeasawidower
      January 10, 2013

      Thanks a lot, Martin. Very kind of you to get in touch again.

  6. sylvia tidy-harris
    January 11, 2013

    The Child Bereavement Charity is also a massively valuable resourse at such a tragic time – they do a marvellous job and could well be of use to you too. Bravo on the blog

  7. jane
    January 12, 2013

    Hello. I am so sorry for your loss and it makes me so so sad that this has to happen to someone so in love. My Mother became a widow at 35. I am the youngest of 6 children and I was 4 years old at the time. My oldest brother 12. My Father was 39 and died of cancer. All my Mothers family thought she would die herself of a broken heart as they were the happiest family anyone knew. But she is strong. She raised 6 children to be well balanced and loving human beings. In my Mothers eyes she is still and always will be married to my Dad. I never knew the extent of what she went though until I now myself have a family. Two boys aged 3 and 1. I cannot comprehend how you do it. But you can and will as you have a little boy who needs you forever. I think this is what pulled my Mum through and now she has 6 grandchildren to make her smile. Sending you hope and light.
    Jane
    ps even though I grew up without my Father I always felt extremely loved and very lucky to have a great parent raising me x

  8. Naomi (@PaperLotusYoga)
    January 14, 2013

    Bless you Ben. All my love to you an Jackson. Hope to see you soon xxx

  9. C
    January 16, 2013

    Not once in the last 2 years has anything struck such a chord.

    I lost my boyfriend of 9 years two years ago to cancer and although we had time to attempt to come to terms with the fact that cancer was going to win over, the shock when it actually happened completely threw me as I realised that never for a moment did I let myself believe he would actually leave. We were just 28 years old and no matter what people said in their attempts to console or comfort, nothing seemed to be anywhere close to a reasonable or sensible explanation.

    Your blog is truly inspiring and such a courageous thing to do. Its so reassuring to know that others have the same thoughts that you do and that its ok to feel that way. There were numerous times during reading your posts that I sat nodding to myself thinking, “that’s exactly what I did / thought / said”.

    Thanking for sharing and thank you for being so honest, I wish I’d been able to read your words 2 years ago and I know you will help so many people that so sadly will be faced having to continue life without their best friend.

  10. Jeanette
    January 16, 2013

    I still feel like I died the same day as my beloved husband, but today you have given me the courage to try to live again. To see your lovely wife’s smile on the television with you and your son was heartbreaking, but reminded me of my husbands smile and laughter…..”my true love have my heart and I have his”, she would be so proud of you.

  11. Alex James
    January 16, 2013

    Full of admiration for you Ben and so pleased that you are capturing your wife for the future. I have worked with families pre and post bereavement for years and much of my work has been about continuing the bonds. Talking openly crying together and sharing feelings will keep the precious way to communicating open in future. No parent wants to distress their child but sometimes we need to allow them to see our sadness so that they can express their own.I have tweeted you , if I can be of any assistance please do contact me in confidence at
    alexjames@bereavement.co.uk
    wwwbereavement.co.uk

  12. Sheraz
    January 16, 2013

    Hi Ben,

    I only caught a few seconds of your interview on the BBC this morning and instantly recognised you as I remember reading the news about your tragic loss late last year and feeling very sad about it for you, your son and your family, to say the least. I made note of your name and I have now started reading your story.

    “Started” because I am scared of reading about your story since then as I already have tears in my eyes. Scared because it is taking me back to when I lost my own mum when I was 16, over 18 years ago now. Whilst it was not caused by an uncontrollable accident the pain was excruciating and still is, although the frequency has diminished and I now try to remember the good times and imagine what she may be like now and what she would think of my life and life in general. I feel immense pain for your son as well but I can also tell that with a father like you he will grow up to be a lovely boy and respectable man his mum will certainly be extremely proud of wherever she may be now.

    Your blog may also help me understand how my father felt and may be feeling today, although his relationship with my mum seems to have been different from yours with your wife.

    Keep strong and hold your head up, even when you feel you can’t go on any longer, know that your wife looks down on you with a big smile and immense pride for having met such a gentle and caring person. She will always be there with you and your son.

    Good luck!
    Sheraz

  13. Claire Habel
    January 16, 2013

    You’re so brave and doing such an amazing thing by sharing your story. I’m going to pass your blog on to friends who i know could do with the type of support that comes from the empathy you talked about in your interview. Take care

  14. Neil
    January 16, 2013

    Hi

    I watched your BBC interview and was amazed by your composure and erudition so soon after being bereaved. I was widowed 9 years ago when my son was 15 months old, and would be happy to share my experiences if that would be useful to you. As you said, thankfully there are very few men in our position. Certainly I never encountered another male who had been left holding quite such a young baby. I particularly identified with your story about the rage you sometimes feel when your son has a tantrum.

    Take care
    Neil

    • lifeasawidower.com
      January 16, 2013

      Email me at benjamin.brooks-dutton@hotmail.com. I’m going to try to start a group up for men who have gone through similar loss. So sad to hear about yours.

    • Vicky
      January 17, 2013

      Hi Neil I am so sorry to read about your loss. Please visit our website http://www.griefencounter.org.uk. We are a charity dedicated to supporting bereaved families and certainly support many bereaved Dads sadly, we bring them together at workshops, days out etc. I know from speaking to them way at a difference it makes. Perhaps with the support of people like you and Ben we can start a Dads only group. Please feel free to get in touch. All the very best vicky

  15. Sarah
    January 16, 2013

    Hi Ben

    I watched your life changing story this morning on BBC breakfast. It really struck a chord with us as we sadly lost a close friend of ours on New Years years after her two year battle with breast cancer. She sadly leaves behind her 3 year old twins and her wonderful husband. Her funeral is this Friday. When the time is right I will definitely pass your blog details onto her husband as I know he feels alone and very overwhelmed at this moment in time.

    Your son is very lucky to have such a strong father.

    Best wishes.

    Sarah

    • lifeasawidower.com
      January 17, 2013

      Thank you, Sarah. I’m sure he will still be in the stage where he doesn’t think anyone or anything can help but if he gets the slightest bit of comfort or empathy from the blog in future then I hope you can take some comfort in passing it on x

  16. Daniel
    January 16, 2013

    My thoughts are with you Ben, I’m very sorry to hear what has happened, and you are a brave man for writing this blog and opening up your feelings, some people would go mad and verge of the rails, but this is a constructive way to put your feelings across, I can not even begin to comprehend the way you are feeling.
    You are not alone.

    Regards

  17. Louise Pearson
    January 16, 2013

    Benjamin, Thank you so much for sharing your story. My sister died of cancer just over two years ago leaving an 18month old and 4 year old (boys). I can empathise with the pain of your loss having seen it from my brother in law who lost a wife and mother. I have emailed your blog to him tonight since he loves to talk too.

  18. Sarah-Jane
    January 16, 2013

    “Life is short and we never have enough time for gladdening the hearts of those who travel the way with us” – Henri Frederic Amiel

    I took this from A Little Book of Comfort, one of many things that watered down the sadness I felt from my bereavement.

    Good luck with this blog Ben, I’ll certainly be following your journey

    Blessings to you and your boy x

  19. x_ROSH125_x
    January 17, 2013

    Hope you and your son find the strength to get thru this time.

    All the best

    R

  20. Samantha Morgan-Petrie
    January 17, 2013

    Just watched you on itv, so thought I’d have a look.
    It’s very inspiring what your doing, my thought are with you and your son
    xxx

  21. Amber Connelly
    January 17, 2013

    Thank you very much for sharing your story and honesty so openly. I lost my husband last June, he was aged 33, me.36, as he had a bleed on his brain whilst we were on holiday in Devon with our 2 year old son Zack. Matt lost his life after an 8 day battle in a drug enduced coma and sadly died on the 06th June. He has left me the most precious gift in our son and you saying about your son biting on your shirt to make a train or talk about Mickey Mouse really made me smile as that’s exactly what Zack does. He is my spirit, my strength, my reason to try and carry on. Matt was he love of my life and its just so hard to try and carry on each day, but we do because of them.

    Being a single parent is so hard when you didn’t sign up for this role. We chose to start a family as we all do, to do it together. it’s hard to hide the loss and sadness as I just don’t want to do it all by myself, picking schools, making sure Zack makes the right choices, the list goes on. But I will and Matt is at the fore front of every decision I make for our son.

    You are a true strength to others and I wish you all the very best, Amber xxxxx

  22. confidence
    January 18, 2013

    Hi Ben,very well done for this courageous move you have taken.So what are you doing to enable the little not to feel the demise of his mum ? considering the relationship he had with his mum.

    • lifeasawidower.com
      January 18, 2013

      I’m not doing anything for him not to feel it. I believe he needs to. I’m being honest about what’s happened. Being consistent too. He doesn’t understand fully yet but I don’t want to change the story in future. I just want to stick with the truth. We talk about her every day.

    • lifeasawidower.com
      January 18, 2013

      I explain more about dealing with my son in later posts

  23. Elizabeth turner
    January 19, 2013

    It is not often that stories in the guardian leave me sobbing but yours did. Good luck to you on your journey with yr son.

  24. marie
    January 19, 2013

    Hi Ben I come from mauritius, very sad when I saw you on television talking. My dad lost my mum in childbirth when I was only two years old, and the baby died as well. I just wanted to reassure you that you will be ok. Put your trust in god to draw strength from him. God bless – bye.

  25. Yomi
    January 19, 2013

    Hi Ben,

    I understand cos I’ve been there. My wife died at childbirth and that just turned my world around. I was 30 and that was 16 months after our wedding My boy was born without complications so he’s healthy and doing well. It’s been an interesting 5 years since then and I still think I’m dreaming…..
    Thanks for your blog, it’s making me decide to volunteer for the bereavement charity. My faith has helped lots, think I’d have gone bananas without it….
    Thank you for bringing this out in the public sphere!

  26. michael springer
    January 19, 2013

    Damn ! Inconcern of what happend, firstly it was my birthday on that day, secondly there are no words i could express to comfort the widower or his famaliy or his inlaws, but the bloke has done well in copeing as he has outlined in his post…

  27. emma
    January 21, 2013

    Thank you for your honesty, for being vulnerable with your pain and inspiring others to keep going through dark times. I cried when I read the Guardian article at the weekend , sitting in the middle of a pub. I cried for your loss and for your bravery , for your honesty and your tenacity, for the way you love your wife and your son. I can’t pretend to imagine how you feel. It just made me want to wake up my daughter and hug her.

  28. Pingback: open letter « life as a widower

  29. Lunar Hine
    January 22, 2013

    There’s a book specifically for young widows and widowers (‘young’ as in younger than when you might expect to lose a spouse) called ‘I’m Grieving as Fast as I Can’. It helped me.

  30. vvvijay
    January 22, 2013

    Just read the posts in the Guardian… Brought tears to my eyes, really pulled on the heart strings. Thank you for sharing. I wish you and your son the best.

  31. Eddie Earl
    January 23, 2013

    I was really moved by your story, your choice of words when discussing Desreen with Jackson are very thoughtful, it is so important and something I had never really considered.

    Any of us could be in your situation in the blink of an eye, it was so good that you had an enjoyable day together, this has further reinforced to me that you should always cherish time with your loved ones and to live in harmony because you never know when the opportunity to retract a hurtful word or action will be snatched from you.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    My best wishes to you and Jackson

  32. Aparna
    January 23, 2013

    Hi Ben,

    I am woefully ill-equipped to offer any words of comfort. But, honestly, very moved by your posts. Writing from India, where the social norms and the way people are allowed to cope with tragic situations, is so different and in a sense more controlled (for the lack of a better word), it is heart warming to see your up-front approach to dealing with the day-to-day issues for yourself as well as for little Jackson.

    Any words of commiseration would sound platitudinous, I fear. Even then, Ben, I am truly sorry for what happened. But someday, I hope you will be able to talk about and recollect happy memories for Jackson, without a lump chocking the throat or the eyes brimming over. Here’s wishing peace and happiness for you and to little Jackson.

  33. Becky
    January 23, 2013

    I’ve just found your blog via last week’s Guardian article and though I really can’t think of anything of particular significance to say I feel compelled to say something.

    Simply: you are a wonderful father and Jackson is very, very lucky to have you. It sounds like you’re doing an incredible job with him and despite never having met Desreen there is no doubt in my mind that she would be so proud of you both. She sounds like a truly lovely lady and everyone who knew her must miss her immensely.

    Until very recently I lived in West Hampstead, no more than 2 mins away from the site of the crash, and I remember that evening clearly, thinking how horrific it was and how unfair life can be.

    I’m thinking of you and Jackson. All the best for the future x

  34. Nelio Ponte
    January 24, 2013

    Hi Ben your story is very sad and it just brings back my mummy’s death 11years ago it’s very hard when you lose some one that that you think wil be with you for Long time . Even today I can not believe she ad gone for good . Life is never the same after that . I whis you all the best . You are doing great
    Keep in touch
    Nelio

  35. Bambi Montgomery
    January 29, 2013

    Hi Ben,
    I think what you’re doing is great. Too many people bottle things up after such a tragedy. I was widowed 18 months ago. Came to London to spend time with my daughter and my husband took ill back in Cape Town and died before I could get back so I understand where you are coming from. I wish you and Jackson a wonderful life going forward.
    With best wishes,
    Bambi

  36. Juliet
    January 29, 2013

    Lost for words, just finished reading the article in The Guardian it’s pretty tragic but also beautiful, thankyou for sharing this the very best for you both xx

  37. Emilie Adams
    January 30, 2013

    Dear Ben,

    When I first read about your wife’s accident in the papers in November, it automatically struck a chord with me. I knew how you felt. I too live in London and was bereaved unexpectedly last year following a freak road accident. It made the paper too. Rob my husband of 17 years and soulmate of 23 years died last March at the age of 42. We had three boys of 13, 10 and 5 at the time.

    Naturally when I saw the article about you writing this blog in the paper again today, I was drawn to it like a magnet. I speak about my situation quite openly but have not shared any of it directly with anyone in a similar situation. This forum made me realise in a heartwarming moment that I am not alone. Further, I too like to write about my experience and find it strangely cathartic. I have not posted or published any of my thoughts yet but maybe this blog will be my springboard.

    My world was turned upside down on 24 March 2012. I could not believe that the man I loved so much was no longer there to look after us and I really did not know how I was going to cope on my own.I am not a particularly needy person but in the past I always found it difficult to be on my own with the children for a week-end while Rob was on a ski break or a business trip, let alone for the rest of my life. But thanks to my amazing boys and a hearty dose of positive attitude, I have somehow coped as best as possible in the last 10 months. When a young family is struck by such a tragic event, you have to readjust and it inevitably brings you closer together, the family unit becomes more solid. The bickering arguments take a back seat, it makes you more patient and understanding, helps you focus on what is important (and that’s not about who is going to empty the dishwasher!)

    I draw my strength from that. I take one day at a time, deal with what I have to deal with that day, tick things off my list and thrive on little achievements. You would not believe my inner pride when I managed to check the pressure on the car tyres all by myself or change the ink cartridges on my printer! I also try not to lose my sense of humour. A rainy camping safari holiday with lots of little upset tummies or a good night out with my girlfriends talking nonsense and making outrageous jokes about random topics does wonders for your mental health!

    I still think about Rob day and night and sometimes it is still a struggle. Christmas without him was tough as it must have been for you, as were all our birthdays and anniversaries. But I have been able to have a happy party at the start of January to celebrate what I hope will be a better year for us and this was like a breath of fresh air. When I’m down, I force myself to stop thinking about what I have lost and concentrate on what I have left: An amazing family and wonderful happy memories going back 23 years.

    If you are still reading Ben (sorry this turned out to be a bit longer than expected), thank you for doing was you are doing. I won’t say you are ‘brave’ as I hate that word when people use it for me, but you are definitely special and from what I am reading I know that in spite of your grief your son and you will be ok.

    With warmest regards to all the recently bereaved readers.

    Emilie

  38. Mavis donor
    January 31, 2013

    Hi am Mavis. I read your sorry in reveal magazine and am so sad for you and your lovely son . God bless you and your son and remember desreen is always looking down on you both. Be strong.

  39. Nikki Marriott
    January 31, 2013

    Hi Ben, I’m so sorry for your loss. I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer on the 28th Nov 2012 after being misdiagnosed twice. One day before my baby turned 1 & two weeks before my other ‘baby’ turned 3. Being secondary it’s deemed ‘incurable’ by western medicine. So, determined as I am to live for as long as humanly possible, I do have in mind that my beautiful husband & divine children may well end up in the same position as you & your son. My husband does not open up or ask for help so when/if the time comes I will point him in your direction & hope that he can gain some strength, support & invaluable resources from it. Keep up the great work. Nikki x

  40. Jas
    February 2, 2013

    Ben
    I understand how difficult it is for you. It has been 10 years since I lost my husband. My daughter was 2 at the time. Although people on the outside see me as happy, inside I am still broken. Everyone else carries on with their everyday lives whilst your own is shattered. I have good days, even good weeks, but then suddenly something will hit me and I will have a really bad day. You never get ‘over’ this, but its just something you have to learn to live with. My daughter has kept me going and makes me laugh, as I’m sure your son will do.
    Sending you both my best wishes.

    Jas

  41. Nicola Mullan
    February 14, 2013

    Hi Ben,

    I just saw your interview on This Morning and was brought to tears; I am sorry for your tragic loss. I too am a young widow having lost my husband Aidan at the age of 30 under tragic circumstances. I feel it’s a little ironic actually that I happen to hear your story as it was today 4 years ago that Aidan proposed, and I had just posted a message on Facebook reminding people of my heartache and loss, as everyone just seemed so loved up and happy!! I constantly feel that its so unfair that we were robbed of such happiness. Aidan died aged 35 on 31st July 2011 having fallen into a river and drowned, following a football match and night out… We were due to celebrate our first wedding anniversary on 19th August 2011, but we had been together almost seven years. My life was shattered in an instant…our plans, hopes and dreams completely banished…all feelings you are only too familiar with I’m sure..

    I think you Blog is a great idea, as I often feel that we (young widows) are a minority, and I know personally it has helped me speaking to a few people who have experienced similar losses.

    Your son is a credit to you, and I’m sure both him and the wonderful memories of your wife keeps you going. People often say to me ‘you’re so strong, I don’t know how you do it’, words that sometimes anger me as I would think, should I be doing something different? But through counselling support from Cruse Bereavement I have became braver and reply that I don’t know how I’m doing it either!!! But I don’t have much choice other than try to keep going on, as hard as it is every single day. I am continually filling my life full of things for survival, and I only hope some day that I can start living again, and not just surviving.

    Nicola

  42. Charlotte
    February 14, 2013

    Dear Ben. I read your article in The Style Magazine last week and felt utterly compelled to visit your blog. I am sort of lost for words, what I want to say is simple, you are an incredibly brave and inspirational man, and I wish you and Jackson from the very bottom of my heart all the health and happiness for the future. I hope that one day I meet someone who has the same capacity for loving someone as you do for Desreen. Your little boy is going to be so incredibly proud of you. x

  43. Melanie McLean
    February 24, 2013

    Hi Ben, I just read your story in a magazine and thought I would look for your website. I am deeply saddened and touched by your story. I am 31, have been married for almost four years and I also have a two year old son. I cannot imagine the hurt you must be feeling and how difficult this time must be for you, especially in consoling your young son.

    I would like to wish you and your son my best wishes for the future and may every day become a little easier for you both.

    Regards
    Melanie McLean

  44. Evelyn
    February 24, 2013

    Ben, I have just read your open love letter to your beautiful wife that was in The Sunday Times a few weeks ago. I cannot imagine your grief but know that your wife will be remembered always, by so many people. Although I never knew her, or know you, l believe she would be extremely proud of you, as I am sure your gorgeous son Jackson is and will continue to be as he grows up. All my best wishes, Yvonne x.

  45. Antonia Godber
    February 26, 2013

    Ben what an amazing blog. I am heartbroken for you. What an inspiration you are and so brave. I think you are incredible. A long journey ahead for you and for Jackson. Your lovely wife would be SO proud of you. My mother died when I was ten and my twin brother and sister were eight and my dad managed to get through the nightmare that was losing his wife and raise us by himself. Things got easier and he healed day by day. It is going to be ok. You are both going to be alright. Much love, Antonia xxx

  46. Jo
    March 2, 2013

    Hi Ben a friend referred me to your story, thankyou for sharing. I too lost my partner of 10 years and husband of 11 days on the 4th may 2010 in a tragic jetski accident. We too had a beautiful little boy Theo who wasn’t quite 2 years old. I wish the very best for you and your son. God bless. Jo.

  47. karen
    March 10, 2013

    I just stumbled on to this blog and found this heartbreaking story. This is very touching and sad. Ben, i am so sorry for your lost. God bless you and your family.

  48. Sue Tabbitt
    April 9, 2013

    Bless you, Ben. I lost my husband in 2006 – he was just 34 and our children were 4 and 2. Ours was sudden too. There is a flurry of activity on Facebook just now in a series of closed groups aimed at different stages of the grief process. The core one, which I’m sure you are aware of by now, is the WAY Foundation group. But there are also spin-off groups for others who are further along. If you want to know more, you can find me on Facebook: Sue Tabbitt.

  49. First of all I want to say wonderful blog! I had a
    quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing. I’ve had trouble clearing
    my thoughts in getting my ideas out there. I do enjoy writing
    however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how
    to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Thank you!

    • lifeasawidower.com
      April 23, 2013

      To be honest I hadn’t really thought about it. I don’t set aside any particular time for it. Having a toddler who goes to bed later than he should and a full time job doesn’t really allow me to indulge much. I usually find the urge or the thought that leads the writing just comes and I either make a note at that very moment for later or just write immediately. If it doesn’t come I just save it for another time.

  50. The Mummy Scripts
    April 24, 2013

    Ben, your blog is inspiring and moving. I feel truly honoured to be in the shortlist category with you. It has led me to your wonderful writing and I am so grateful for that.

    • lifeasawidower.com
      April 24, 2013

      Thanks so much. I promise to take a look at yours too. Congrats on the nomination x

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