A story of grief by a man and a boy

thank you

This is really just a short message of thanks.

My blog,, has been active for nearly nine weeks now and as I approach that milestone I’ve started to reflect on what that time has brought.

After the first few days of writing, the blog had 5,000 views. This week that figure has grown to 400,000. I could never have anticipated that kind of number just over two months ago. But actually the numbers don’t matter. All I really set out to do was to try to help guys left in similar situations to me, widowed young and caring for children without a mum, to find empathy. When some of those unfortunate men told me that my shared stories and experiences helped, I made a promise to myself to continue.

But then something suddenly occurred to me. I’d opened up because I wasn’t daunted by the idea of expressing my emotions publicly. Many other men are. So whilst hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people have been in touch, it’s the guys who are reading privately and remain invisible to me that also matter so much. These people might not ever be at ease talking about their feelings, but knowing that their feelings aren’t completely unique to them might just help make them feel slightly more human again. So this week, it’s with these people in mind that I continue to write.

But I also want to give a nod to the incredible openness I’ve observed online recently. Male, female, young and old, I see people sharing stories, connecting and helping one another through loss every day. Whether it’s in the blog’s comments, the Twitter feed, Facebook page or the emails I receive from well-wishers, I am left astounded by how much people continue to show that they care.

So thank you for reading, both privately and publicly. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for the comments. Thank you for the advice and the expertise. Thank you for guest blogging. Thank you for helping one another. Thank you for opening up. Thank you for caring about each other. And thank you for caring about me and my son.

Here’s to lots more to come.

With love from Ben and an unusually sleepy Jackson.


13 comments on “thank you

  1. Barbara Fleming
    March 15, 2013

    And thank you for talking about your and your little boy’s grief so openly. Love to you both xx

  2. Naomii Chaplain
    March 15, 2013

    Thank you Ben.

    Thank you for crafting such a beautifully written blog that articulates feelings people have never been able to convert into words themselves.

    I , like you, am quite open about my emotions and ordeals but my other half who has lost not one but two previous girlfriends aged 28 is very closed off when it comes to his feelings surrounding his pain and grief and I have watched his facial expression which is the equivalent of “I know that feeling!” or “Exactly that mate!” so many times when I have passed him your blog to read. He now asks me every couple days if that “geezer’s written any new posts I can have a look at”.

    So powerful. I hate to use this word, but, so “useful”. Such a crutch.

    A sometimes gutwrenchingly sad journey is also punctuated with wit, humour and lovely facts about the superwoman that was Desreen.

    Mounds of love to you and Jackson as always. x

  3. laurabwilliamsdesigns
    March 15, 2013

    There are special people that are put on earth to endure extraordinary circumstances so that they can inspire and heal others. You are such a person. Your honesty is brutal at times and more than touching. Thank you for saying the things sometimes I am even too scared to think. Bless you and your beautiful boy.

  4. SarahM
    March 15, 2013

    Bless you Ben. You’ve brought tears to my eyes again. I will continue to avidly follow your blog. It brings much sadness at times but also enlightenment, and that’s so rare. I hope it helps you, and brings joy to you as it does for so many others xx

  5. Lottie Skuthe-Cook
    March 15, 2013

    THANK YOU and well done for managing to build such an amazing community and sharing with so many people your innermost feelings in such a great way.

    Yours and Desreen’s beautiful son has a mother to be proud of but oh boy, a father to admire and be very proud of too!

    My boys were 2 and 4½ when their father suddenly passed away 8 years ago and there is not a day that passes we wouldn’t give anything in the world to have him back but we have now learned to live our new life and enjoy it too and part of that journey has been openness and pride.

    Love and strength to you and Jackson!

  6. lottiesc
    March 15, 2013

    THANK YOU Ben for creating such an amazing community and sharing your innermost feelings and experiences in such a direct and great way!

    Yours and Desreen’s lovely boy has got a mother to be proud of you’ve helped us to understand AND OH BOY does he have a father to admire and be proud of too! With being so open and direct I believe you are giving Jackson the permission to do the same on his journey to grow up, you are teaching him to show emotions and that it can bring great strength to do so. Not many boys are tought that today!

    I would say I understand the importance of a boy looking up to his father as my boys were 2 and 4½ when their father suddenly passed away 8 years ago and there is not a day that passes without my boys talking about him with great pride! We have all three managed to learn to live our new life and find joy and happiness too however the loss remains the same and will never change.

    Lots of love and continued strength & courage to you and Jackson!

  7. Cathy Butterworth
    March 15, 2013

    Ben the blog is so amazing, through your strength and courage you have managed to help so many people. Dessie would be so proud of you as I know Jackson will too. Love xx

  8. macrothings
    March 15, 2013

    No “thank you” Ben (with a big man-hug from the men).

  9. Cath Barnes
    March 15, 2013

    Thank you Ben for being the voice of all us thirty something’s with young kids who have lost our husbands , wives or partners xx

  10. karen mistlin
    March 15, 2013

    Wonderful, touching words.. a beautiful picture, a reflection of who you are with your precious son. By being able to communicate your feelings so openly and honestly, you will have opened the door for so many to do likewise….a gift to many to be able to feel freer to express themselves.

  11. Cath
    March 15, 2013

    People really do care Ben. You have touched so many lives with the lovely stories of yours, Desreen and Jacksons lives before and since the loss of your beautiful girl. I have belly laughed at times and wept at others at your honesty . Your words speak volumes and hopefully other men will be encouraged to share privately or publicly their thoughts and feeling. Thanks to you for bearing your heart and soul. I lost my Mum almost 4 years ago, I was aged 49. I dont know what its like to lose the love of your life but what I find heartwarming about your posts is that they speak to all us who have lost someone we love.. xxx Thanks so much 🙂

  12. Sarah Martin
    March 15, 2013

    Oh, I really wish they had a Like feature on this blog. I really like macrothings short but succinct comment. He puts it so well xx

  13. lesley
    March 15, 2013

    Thanks so much Ben and everyone who has taken the time to comment on Bens blog. They really do help me through every day. I no longer feel like no one understands what it feels like to be me. Oh and Jackson is beyond cute !

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