Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

tough day

It would probably be easy to read my posts and think, ‘Isn’t he doing well?’ so I feel I need to be honest. If I only write when I feel strong or when I look like I’m in control then there’s no point. I’d be doing a disservice to the people who read this in grief and to those who truly want to understand how it can feel to lose someone you love.

Today’s been tough. My son has pined for his mummy all day. I’ve felt a shadow loom over me from poisonous words spread without apology by people I invited into my home. But hardest of all I just desperately miss my wife. And that same feeling seems to be hitting everyone else at the same time.

Maybe it’s the shittest day of the year or something. Ages since Christmas. No one’s been paid. Everyone is ashamed that they haven’t stuck to their resolutions. But I haven’t spoken to anyone today who hasn’t seemed more hurt than usual by our loss.

My son’s speech improves every day and with such clarity of voice must come clarity of mind. So I’m focusing on being clearer than ever with my answers to his questions. And I fully expect it to get harder before it gets easier.

29 comments on “tough day

  1. boysmum
    January 24, 2013

    ((((((hugs)))))) nothing to say that won’t sound trite……..Tomorrow is another day,x

  2. modernemeid
    January 24, 2013

    I cannot even fathom what you’re going through. I lost my younger brother in September 2012. Some days are definitely better than others… some are more of a battle than others… but I can’t imagine losing a soulmate, a love and also the mother of my child.

    It’s these raw posts like this one that makes me feel like what I am feeling a lot of the time (excruciating emotional and spiritual pain) is OK. It provides me with encouragement. You know it’s OK to have days like this, when the wound is still fresh. It has to hurt before it heals?

    I am hoping for strength for you and your child.

    Your blog has been a great source of comfort to me. I don’t feel alone and I feel encouraged to do better, to feel better and just be at peace about my brother’s death.

  3. Naomii
    January 24, 2013

    You and Jackson and Desreen’s family and friends are in so many hearts. I know this doesn’t help you right now but I do wish you all the strength you need. x

  4. Mum of 3
    January 24, 2013

    Your honesty alone is so valuable to many of us. Thank you.

  5. Roberta Yap Rennie
    January 24, 2013

    it does get harder before it gets easier, but just know it will get easier and know you and your son will be OK. It’s a tough road but when the darkness starts to lift you will appreciate the light more than ever before. with love xox

  6. Julie
    January 24, 2013

    I know what your going through, my husband passed away18 mths ago ,and yes it will get harder , but you will get through it !! You won’t think So at times , I can relate to things you have wrote , shopping like its gone out of fashion , angry , you look for a new direction , but there’s not 1 yet !! But your Little boy will give you so much joy,, and writing about your feelings ,and one day you will see a rainbow ,x

  7. bedraggledandkicking
    January 25, 2013

    I’m so sorry. Yes, grief brings some brutal days…and there is no sneaking around them, under them, or away from them…there is only one way, and that is to move through them. If only it weren’t so painful. But you are doing it. One day, one step at a time.

  8. claire
    January 25, 2013

    It’s ok to have bad days , isn’t that why you started this? Don’t listen to the negatives all I can see is how many positives you have created and I have only been watching your journey for just over a week. Inspiring!

  9. Erika Deakin
    January 25, 2013

    Hope today is a better day Benji. One minute at a time. xx

  10. sert0
    January 25, 2013

    Stay strong Benji x

  11. Nicki Davis
    January 25, 2013

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings !

  12. David Kelly
    January 25, 2013

    Ben, I hope today is a better one for you. Alas working through grief doesn’t happen in a linear graph fashion, it’s probably more like a sine waveform with its ups & downs / peaks & troughs. On those low days when in the trough, it can be really, really hard and difficult. I hope you have some kind of support network of people who you can turn to for support on such days. I can only empathise how emotionally ‘raw’ things must be for you & Jackson at the moment, so just take things one day at a time.

  13. nornironman
    January 25, 2013

    Ben, I hope today is a better one for you.
    Alas working through our grief doesn’t happen in a linear graph fashion, it’s probably more like a sine waveform with its ups & downs / peaks & troughs. Hopefully over time those troughs don’t dip so low and not for so long, but in the early period of bereavement when in the trough and feeling low, it can be really difficult to get through the day(s) and seemingly unassailable. I hope you have some kind of support network of people who you can turn to for help & support on such days.
    I can only empathise how emotionally ‘raw’ things must be for you & Jackson at the moment – just take things one day at a time.

  14. Tracy
    January 25, 2013

    My husband died six months ago, I have four children, the youngest being 2 and 1. I totally understand about questions and explaining, it’s so hard when they are so little. And yes this time of year isn’t great, I’m struggling too as are lots of others who are widowed also. Day by day, hour by hour if you have to… Hang on and let’s hope spring comes soon and we will all feel a bit better… Hugs. Tracy x

  15. Alex James
    January 25, 2013

    Wake up each morning breathe in and out , put one foot in front of the other, a step at a time and moment by moment
    Thinking of you both

  16. Michael ( Blue ) Fisher
    January 25, 2013

    I know what you are going through my friend, I lost my wife of 34yrs. to cancer in 2011 and I still cry most nights. People say that time heals, but at almost 60yrs. I don’t think I’ve enough time left.


  17. Jo
    January 25, 2013

    Hi Ben, I worked at Red but never had the privilege of working with you. I also live in West Hampstead and think about you, your family and your loss every day. I have been moved by your blog beyond words. I just wanted to tell you – to add my comments to the millions of others – that you are a hero. You might not like the tag, but you really are. You are making life just a tiny bit more bearable for thousands of people out there – whether they are men who have lost wives, sons who have lost fathers, or mothers who have lost daughters. You are an incredible person, and what you are doing (and what you have done already) is amazing. I wish you and your son strength and peace. Even when you feel at your loneliest – please don’t forget that you have an army of well wishers out there, who are with you. You are in the hearts and minds of the nation x

  18. widowsdontwearblack
    January 25, 2013

    It does get harder. The support network shrinks as everyone gradually goes back to their normality. Your world has had Semtex placed underneath it and initially you’re in this post bomb aftermath. As the dust settles you realise there is no normality to go back to only a new reality that you have to work hard at creating.
    I’ve lain weeping into my carpet at the hopelessness of it all. How my babies, Evie was 22 months and Isla was nine weeks, will never know how wonderful their daddy was and how I will always be jealous of those who have the complete family set. It’s hideous. But those bad days have got less. I am nearly anyway on and inhale gradually ticked off all those hideous calendar dates, the birthdays and anniversaries, that should have been shared. I have one final one to go. His death. I seem to cope with those big dates by not thinking about them until they come so who knows how it will be. However, my bad days are so much fewer. Evie’s speech now is so improved she can floor you with a comment about her daddy and how he did this or that or loved that song. But now instead of weeping I smile and am so proud that she remembers. And she does because I talk of him every day.
    I haven’t been to see anyone about her. She has those tantrums that you ponder on in one of your posts and I think I need to bring her in contact with other children that have gone through similar. There is a charity called winstons wish that does that that i need to call but this Monday, through my blog, I am meeting a girl in a similar position to mine. She has kids the same age. I hope it helps me and my girls. I hope your blog does the same for you. Mine has been a lifeline. It’s therapy, it let’s people know how you go without having to repeat it and it finds you people going through the same awfulness.
    I wish you so much luck, strength (hate that word though) and empathy. Yours, Nic

  19. whittle
    January 25, 2013

    I lost my Wife in October only just sinking in, that she is never coming back. I have 2 Children, it is difficult to get out bed every day, but still do it. Everyone has been giving, great support and comfort (apart from 2 people) it does help. I just need people to talk at the moment, about my Wife,but it is important to talk about other things as well. Keep doing the blog.

  20. Alison kerrigan
    January 25, 2013

    Today my friend is going through the very traumatic time of loosing her 1 year old son. It has brought the grief of loosing my husband nearly 4 years ago (then 34) flooding back to me and the extreme intensity of it.
    The hopelessness and exsaperation is almost too much to handle at times, but somehow we manage to grasp at something so small that we slowly but surely grapple our way back up. As time passes the grip strengthens and it becomes easier to cope.
    We never stop the aching in our hearts for our loved ones, but we learn to live side by side with it and it becomes our new kind of normal.
    I have read the previous blogs and they all have wise words.
    Know you are far from alone, keep exploring the positive ways of coping and hope it will bring you a deeper knowledge and compassion for life, which I know it has certainly given me.
    Alison kerrigan

  21. Steven Snell
    January 26, 2013

    i,recently lost my wife and although people think i am coping well there are times when the grief and dispare creep up on you and hit you like a sledge hammer.I read your story in the Sun during the week and agree that it is ok to get upset in front of your children! I have a 17 year old duaghter and a 13 year old son and we made a pact straight after my wifes death that we will not get upset alone,so thats what we try to do. However this does not always happen and i find myself getting upset at our loss on my own.
    Having said all of this i owe it to my late wifes memory to stay as strong as i possibly can for the sake of our children.So as the old saying goes just take one day at a time and hopefully you and your son can build a new life for your selves even though this may not seem poissible at the moment.
    Keep up with the blogs which i will now try to follow in the coming weeks and maybe they will not only help you but also other people like myself.
    Steven Snell.

  22. KEN 698
    January 27, 2013

    You can shed a tear that she has gone
    Or you can smile because she has lived

    You can close your eyes and pray the she’ll come back
    Or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left

    Your life can be empty because you can’t see her
    or your heart can be full of the love you sharred

    You can turn your back on tomorrow and live in yesterday
    or you can be happy in tomorrow because of yesterday

    You can remember her and only hat she’s gone
    or you can cherish her memory and let it live on

    You can cry and close your mind,be empty and turn your back
    Or you can do what she’d want: open your eyes


  23. natalie
    January 28, 2013

    just want to say that you are amazing and so brave xxx

  24. Jet Black
    January 28, 2013

    The honesty when you’re having a tough day is so welcomed. People in a similar position need to recognise and have their own difficult feelings validated and honoured.

  25. Karen Halk
    January 29, 2013

    its been 5years and 7 months since I lost my son to cancer …a mother should never have to watch her child die, and people just dont know what to say or do and even cross the street to avoid you …they say time is a healer …in my experience you merely learn to cope better with situations, to hide it better from others who you think must be fed up with ‘your’ grief by now…..we have pictures of Ryan everywhere …every room in the house …me and his siblings talk to him every single day …it keeps him alive in our minds and hearts and stops the memories from fading …as I don’t want ever to forget a single thing …keep on talking to Jackson as if his Mums still there, I do believe it keeps our loved ones so much alive ….& its a game of snakes and ladders grief ! we take 3 squares forward then hit a snake and we are right back where we started …but as long as we keep moving forward one day an acceptance comes and when we think of our loved ones we just smile & smile

    take care xx

  26. Fred
    January 29, 2013

    I came across an article in today’s Metro about your blog and really wanted to read what you have shared. I lost my husband unexpectedly when I was 31 and 7 years on, there is still such a huge sense of loss, which is now not as deep-seated as when I first heard he had passed away, but nonetheless, remains ever tangible. I was also in a state of complete shock and numbness initially but gradually started to feel angry/sad/hopeful on various days of the same week. This was pretty much the way it was for some time.

    Who would have thought that emptiness could feel so heavy? I dreaded all the dark days which were so difficult to get through but these were especially hard when I was surrounded by people who really did not care and clearly did not care to understand or sympathise.

    That’s when you have to cling on to the people who matter and deal with all the mixed feelings you have as part of the pair who has been left behind. It is important to carry on but sometimes, the thought processes in your head do not translate into some kind of action.

    When I was bereaved, I used to keep a journal and when I read some of what I had written previously, I see what a long journey it has been (and continues to be) and how solitary, for the most part.

    However, sorrow and anguish are both things we find a way to endure in order to eventually recover from such a loss.

    Remember that you are not alone and that one day, you will definitely be counting more good days than bad ones.

  27. Sharron Gordon
    January 30, 2013

    I remember this last year and I remember thinking to myself.. jesus christ what an awful thing to happen to your family. I very rarely read the Metro, but it was on the table next to me in the coffee shop this morning. I read your article and wrote down the website….
    I am so glad that you decided to do a blog because you read these things and you never hear anything ever again unless you are directly connected to the family or you live nearby.
    You dont have to know someone to care about how they feel or how they are coping.
    I am a parent too… I can only imagine how you feel… and that hurts.
    You had beautiful memories of Desiree, that was comforting to read and I truly mean that.
    Your not on your own Ben , although there will be times when it may seem that way, but there is a lot of people out here that remember this and a lot of people who care about you and your son

  28. ButterNut
    January 31, 2013

    It must be hell going through this. And I know that sometime or other, we will all have to.

    Maybe the kids are your salvation? I don’t know what mine will be when the time comes as we don’t have any. But I guess, I’ll find a crutch some way or another then.

  29. MS P
    January 31, 2013

    All who are missing the ones we lost please read,
    What Hope for Dead Loved Ones?
    “If a man die, shall he live again?” asked the man Job long ago. (Job 14:14, King James Version) Perhaps you, too, have wondered about this. How would you feel if you knew that a reunion with your loved ones was possible right here on earth under the best of conditions?

    you are always in my prayers

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