Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

sod’s law

After a disastrous attempt at a holiday earlier in the year, I swore to myself I would stay at home for the rest of the year. I was doing so well. In the space of a month I’ve turned down the chance to go to both the Canaries and the States. Something told me Cornwall was a safe bet.

So yesterday we climbed into a hire car in King’s Cross and hit the road. Said hire car was wearing my son’s breakfast before we’d even got out of the NW postcode zone. As were he and I.

‘Waste not, want dog’, our canine friend thought, lapping up my son’s regurgitated porridge as my friends and I tried to clean him up in the street.

Like most children the tears quickly became laughter and he thought it fit to immediately graze on a pouch of mushed up mango and another of banana, followed by a couple of biscuits. It felt wrong but the little fellow must have been hungry and he seemed happy with his choices. He managed to keep them down too and soon started bossing us all around so I could sense we were back on track.

Until we weren’t.

Readying ourselves for a day in the Cornish sunshine, I bathed him and got him dressed. Very quickly. Quicker than usual because I didn’t want him to notice something was wrong. He’s got chicken pox.

So we’re on our way back to London less 24 hours before we arrived at our wedding weekender destination. We won’t see out friends get married and I won’t wear the new clothes I bought to avoid the potential pain of adorning the suit I both married and buried my wife in.

After the last trip we went on involved a trip to casualty and a child so unwell we had to stay indoors nearly all week, it’s hard not to stray into the indulgence of the question, ‘Why me?’

But I always get to the same answer. ‘Why not me?’ Strictly speaking that’s another question but we could be here all day and as I haven’t had chicken pox before I might not have the energy to waste.

See if it rains on your wedding day, it’s not because you’re a bad person. It’s just the weather.

If you break your leg just before you’re meant to walk down the aisle, it’s not an omen. It’s just bad timing.

And if a child’s temperature hits 41 degrees just before he’s due to get on a plane, or chicken pox the next time his father tries to emancipate the two of them for the weekend, it’s not because the world is conspiring against them. He’s just being a child.

It’s all just Sod’s law.

I’m not going to say I don’t feel like falling to my knees, screaming at the heavens and pulling my hair out from its roots, but at least he’s got the little bastards out the way before I try to plan our month away to somewhere someday.

That day just got pushed back another year though. I haven’t got enough hair left on my head to risk another failed attempt.

The photo below us by my new friend Harry Borden


8 comments on “sod’s law

  1. HerMelness Speaks
    May 3, 2013

    Yes, at least he can now tick chicken pox off the growing up list. Wait until you get to first broken heart…but you seem stressed enough. We’ll pick that conversation up sometime anon.

  2. Alyson Andrew
    May 3, 2013

    its so true, I have 3 girls and no matter what happens one of them is ill either just before or on holiday, we had to postpone a trip to NY as my middle child had chicken pox, it does just happen and usually at the most inopportune moment!

  3. laurabwilliamsdesigns
    May 3, 2013

    * sigh* chicken pox…. one of the simpler passages through childhood. maybe you were supposed to spend just some quality daddy/son time right now.

  4. sharron
    May 3, 2013

    such a way with words Ben . your right,just Sods Law x

  5. Jo
    May 3, 2013

    The law of sod that I try to characterise as “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I hope you don’t find this offensive. So sorry to hear your break didn’t work out…

  6. Avril Lamb
    May 3, 2013

    Oh I feel for you, I really do. It is right now that you need a break from the hard stuff, the six month mark is when the fatigue of ‘keeping going’ really sets in and if you could only have had a bit of time out to re-charge your battery ….

    So sorry that it just keeps clobbering you. Hunker down, and hope Jackson is feeling better ever so soon.

  7. Bill Wright
    May 4, 2013

    Wishing you a 3rd time lucky Ben

  8. LaDawn Clare-Panton
    May 7, 2013

    I can only imagine the exhaustion and exasperation you must feel. And yet the loving embrace with which you hold your son demonstrates no anger or frustration. I see only a love so deep it will never fail to touch everyone around you. Wake up every morning. Put one foot in front of the other every day. Eat well. Sleep deeply and often. Laugh loudly even more often. Cry sometimes quietly and sometimes not. Ask for help when you need it and even when you think you don’t. Don’t ever give up. And thank you for making me feel this morning.

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