Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

dear mummy

This is a letter written on behalf of my son, Jackson, to mark his first Mother’s Day without his mum. I plan to write such letters and place them in his memory box each year until he is able to draft them himself. This Mother’s Day, Jackson and I are supporting the BBC Radio 4 appeal for Winston’s Wish, the charity for bereaved children, which has helped us both through the difficult months since Desreen was killed. Click here for more information or to make a donation. You can also hear the appeal on BBC Radio 4 at 7.55am & 9.26pm today.

Dear Mummy,

I just wanted to say hello. I want to say it to you person but I know that I can’t. I miss you lots and I think about you every day. I know you used to write letters and cards to people all the time so I’m going to start doing the same.

Things have been pretty busy here, lots of guests have been round. Nanny is looking after me more than ever. I sometimes give her a little whack or one of those looks that only you and I know how to give because she keeps that cloth you hate hanging in the shower. She does lots of cooking and cleaning but someone still needs to keep her in check now that you’re not around.

Granddad comes over every week. He’s as chatty as ever. He knows a lot about trains and he’s bought me a track that we play with at his house.

Uncle Ant is watching out for me too. Not sure what’s going on there though because he comes round with toothbrushes as gifts and then eats all my sweets. I’ve got my eye on him.

Grandma and Keef have been staying too. Keef keeps calling himself Granddad but I like Keef best. They both looked after me while Daddy went off on his run. Keef makes bath time fun and I like squeezing Grandma’s nose.

All of your friends are looking after me too. Maz is fun at soft play and Olly gives me ice cream and helps me count motorbikes. Caz makes chocolate cake and is having twins and Lee has got cool trains. Annie makes us our dinner and Paul gives me fun stuff to play with. Cathy has introduced me to dinosaurs. Zac and Laura bought me my first remote control car the other day, which is yellow. I know all my colours now too and I can count to ten in Spanish. My favourite numbers are finco, ocho and di-EF!

We’ve been on holiday as well. I wasn’t well but had a nice time with Albie. Olive, Lee, Woody (silly Woody) and Katy helped look after me while I was poorly and we all missed you being there. Olive dyed my pyjamas pink in the wash. You’d probably like them because you like boys in pink but I’m pretty sure you’d have said that she wasn’t allowed near my clothes again.

Uncle Mat, Auntie Michelle, Sophie and Lucy have been here too. We had a nice time in the park and I ate more ice cream. Uncle Nick came too and we played with my trains. Lots of other people have been round with presents and cards and flowers. There have been almost as many deliveries arriving as when you still lived here!

Nursery is going well. It’s nice to get out the house and play with all my friends. I’ve got my review in a couple of weeks. I hope I get a pay rise! I need a new spring/summer wardrobe, Mummy!

Scooting’s going well, I’m faster than ever, and I’ve got more trains than I know what to do with. James is my new favourite, I’ve gone off Thomas a bit and I can’t decide if I like the old TV series more than the new, but I’m two-years-old so I can change my mind as often as I like.

Daddy and I went to the aquarium the other day to see some fish. I wanted to get in the tank with the big ones with fins but Daddy wouldn’t let me so I went to sleep soon after we got there. He made me walk over this thing where we could see big fish swimming underneath. There was no other way in and it was a bit scary – we’d never have got you into the building!

I went to Annalise’s birthday party yesterday and played all day. I still don’t like fruit or veg unless they come in squeezy pouches so I just ate chocolate buttons, chips and cake. Arlo’s birthday is coming up soon too and I think it’s fancy dress.

Anyway Mummy, I love you. I wish you could be here with us today. I wish you could be with us every day.

Big kisses and cuddles from your favourite boy.

Love,

Jack-Jack xx

10 comments on “dear mummy

  1. peter
    March 10, 2013

    so nice 🙂 Thinking of you both

  2. Lucille
    March 10, 2013

    Too cute!

  3. Hayley
    March 10, 2013

    In floods of tears! Thank you for the release! My Dad died when I was sixteen, then my brother when I was 28 ( he left behind a three and a half year old, who incidentally is a gorgeous funny and intelligent 22 year old now) and this is my second Mothers Day without my dear Mum, it still doesn’t take a lot to bring all that sorrow and sadness back to the surface!! This letter is beautiful and Desreen would have loved it and be very proud of you both.

  4. Annie
    March 10, 2013

    Just want to say I heard you on the radio appeal and thought I know that guy. I hope you understand when I say you bring Desreen to life in all that you write – ever since finding your blog I have felt I’ve been reading about three people every day. Jackson, when he is old enough, will have such a treasure trove of your words to help him make sense of his early years.
    I loved his picture the other day.

  5. Roxanne Providence
    March 10, 2013

    Brilliant idea. Des would approve!

  6. Nina
    March 10, 2013

    Cried and cried. What a wonderful heartfelt letter. I almost believed that Jackson had written it! Although I did not know Desreen, from your blog I feel like I do and I’m sure she would be so proud of Jackson. Mummies are so special. Jackson is lucky that his daddy, family and friends will keep her memory alive for him. You are an inspiration.

  7. Cath
    March 10, 2013

    Wishing you both some moments of happiness today with the memories of your lovely wife and Mum that no one can take away xx

  8. Liz
    March 10, 2013

    This is beautiful, Ben. Thinking of you this Mother’s Day. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  9. Suzy
    March 10, 2013

    Exactly like I imagine a 2 year old to write,wonderful understanding seeing life through yr sons eyes x. X x

  10. tone
    March 11, 2013

    Your an inspiration Ben. you’ve helped me gain some closure on a few things of my own. Desreen would be proud of all that you are doing. love to you and little Jackson. xxxxx

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