A story of grief by a man and a boy

new year

This is a Facebook post from my personal account that I wrote just before midnight on New Year’s Eve. 

2012. Almost half of our son’s life. Our first (and only) wedding anniversary. Tickets to the athletics at the Olympics that very same special day. The year Jackson discovered he loved a little plastic train called Thomas more than most human beings. The pride I felt in witnessing my wife start her own fashion business with an old friend. The humanist wedding of the year. A new job and a big promotion. Unforgettable holidays with some of our best friends. Countless great times with all of them. Beautiful babies born who don’t yet know how lucky they are to have inherited such top friends.

And then tragedy and loss that has touched so many lives.

But it would be a disservice to my wife to say 2012 was a completely shit year.

In October Desreen asked me to buy Jackson a commemorative London 2012 five pound coin as a memento of an amazing year that he wouldn’t remember but that we could explain that he was a part of.

It just struck me that we can follow that same gesture of remembrance into 2013 and beyond for his sake.

So yes, it was the year his mum died, but it was also a year when she had the opportunity to show him how much she loved him every day. And it was the year she always put him first.

So for those who continue to be part of his life, let’s focus on the good times we all shared this year. I know he’ll come to cherish the memories as much as we do.

Love to you all for 2013. Here’s to remembering the good times and planning new ones xx

14 comments on “new year

  1. Su
    January 23, 2013

    Very well said Ben!

  2. EA
    January 23, 2013

    who helps you look after your son?
    Has your wifes mum moved in with you guys?

    its okay to ask for help you know.

      January 23, 2013

      I’ve got loads if help thanks. In fact I’m planning to write a post about it.

  3. ladygenevieverose
    January 23, 2013

    Such a wonderful way to look at things. Jackson is very lucky to have a Father who can keep such a positive way of thinking after such a tragedy. Knowing how much his mother loved him and these remembrances of the time they spent together is the greatest gift you can give your son. Desreen would no doubt be incredibly proud of you.

  4. Mike M
    January 23, 2013

    Isabel Allende wrote this and it seems to be exactly what you’re saying Ben…
    “There is no death, daughter. People die only when we forget them,’ my mother explained shortly before she left me. ‘If you can remember me, I will be with you always.”

    Thinking about you a lot these days fella – my mum died suddenly when i was a child and she was almost never spoken of again. You are doing the greatest thing for Jackson.

    – all the best, Mike M

  5. Fernanda Howsam
    January 23, 2013

    I was deeply touched by your story.
    I work with young children in the NW area and have 12 years of experience. I would very humbly like to offer you my help if you need an extra pair of hands with your baby.

  6. Lance stancliffe
    January 24, 2013

    Hi, just read the newspaper about you your wife and son.
    As i type this my eyes are full and can hardly see what im typing.
    I wish you and Jackson all the love i have, yes its a British thing to hold back, but why?? It truly touched me and i wish you and Jackson all my love.
    All the best.

  7. Pauline Elwell
    January 24, 2013

    ii am a widow, I lost my partner of 23 years nearly 6 years ago and we had 3 children, who were older than Jackson, they were 12, 15 and 20, I also never cried in front of my children as I felt I had to be strong for them and cried alone at night. I am just letting you know that time is a great healer and things do get better and that you will always remember your wife. All the best for the future, Pauline

  8. Amy
    January 24, 2013

    I never buy the paper as I tend to always be to busy to read it, today I’m not sure why I picked it up but I did. I’ve just read your story and it touches me and makes me feel better knowing that I am not the only person who feels this way. Although I’m female I also believe in staying strong and I’m still struggling with letting go, asking for help and crying in front of people. I admire your strength and bravery and your son is clearly so lucky to have you as his father. I am 32 and 18 months my husband was killed in a hit and run, I have been left with my two little angels who are now 6 and 4. I’ll continue to read your blog and already you have bought me some comfort. I really do admire you and wish you and your son all the best.
    Amy xx

  9. Giorgia
    January 26, 2013

    It’s a wonderful thing you are doing for your Son. He will really appreciate knowing how much his Mother is loved.The most important thing you can do for him is keep her memory alive and I think you’re never going to fail on that one. I hope you are truly gaining strength from your little boy he sounds so lovely. x

  10. Sweetcheeks1
    January 27, 2013

    You’re very right! It’s all about celebrating life. My friend passed away in December very suddenly, her sister came up with the idea of, rather than giving her beautiful clothes to charity (which is a lovely thing to do, it just didn’t feel right for her, & that’s fine) we (her sister & 2 close friends) are going to cut swatches from all her clothes and make pillow cases for her 2 little boys. The hoody she wore to go into have her son, the shirt we loved to see her in in work, and even her pj’s! Neither of us can sew like, but we’ll get there & I’m rather looking forward to numb fingers & cramps because I know in years to come they will be treasured.

    I’m reading everything you write, following you on your journey & praying for you and your boy. if only you knew how much strength you’re giving people x x x

  11. Sharron Gordon
    January 30, 2013

    your a credit to both your wife and your son x

  12. Annemarie
    February 3, 2013

    I’ve just read your story in a magazine and I was really moved by your strength and courage. What has happened to you and your son is awful.but you must be thankful that you both survived and are here to keep Desreens memory are an inspiration.xxxx

  13. Pingback: conflicted year | Life as a Widower

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