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Saturday, 29 June 2013

How blogging helped one man face his paralysing grief...

What is it really like to be a widower and lone father to a two-year-old son?  Earlier this year I mentioned  a  new blog set up by Ben Brooks-Dutton after the tragic death of his young wife Desreen. The phenomenal interest that followed  took everyone by surprise generating 300,000 blog views in five weeks and five days.   Ben had decided to talk about his grief in a way that most British men would find extremely difficult; day by day he analysed his  feelings with an honesty that resulted in a huge following.  So this week, as Ben received a blog award from mumsnet, I decided to go back and find out how Ben was coping just seven months after his life changed forever.

Desreen, a fashion agent, died in November last year only 14 months after the couple were married. She was killed when a car mounted the pavement in West Hampstead near their home.

What really comes over from reading Ben's blog is the innate sense of humour that has prevented him from drowning in his sorrow. And, of course, the  wonderful healing power that emanates from his young son, Jackson Bo Brooks-Dutton. In a recent post he explains how empty life would have been without him.

I’d have missed him squeal with joy when he saw a field of cows through the window.
And I’d have missed him reaching for my phone to show the table of chatty women sitting next to us a picture that he loves.
“That’s my mummy!” he shrieked adoringly at them out of nowhere.
‘And that’s my boy!’ I thought, my breath taken away by the pride he confidently showed in the parent he’s not seen for seven and a half months. The parent he’s starting to understand that he’ll never see again.

"That's my mummy!" The picture that Jackson loves on my phone.
“That’s my mummy!” As proud of his mummy as she was of her son.

'There's nothing wrong with being positive while grieving, says Ben, as if speaking out to an unseen and largely misunderstood audience.

Now comes news that  that Hodder and Stoughton will be publishing Ben's story in 2014 as lifeasawidower wins the Fresh New Blog award from mumsnet.
I love you, Dessie. You still give me my drive and you still make me laugh x

Screen shot 2013-06-22 at 09.36.42

 Photographs and quotes with kind permission of Ben Brooks-Dutton


Linda Mitchelmore said...

Gulp! What can I say? Heartbreaking and hopeful in equal messure. What a man he is .... his son has the best dad, that's for sure.

Jane Lovering said...

What a fabulous way to ensure that the memory of his wife lives on! Brave, brave man - I could never do anything like that. More power to him, and I hope he and his son have amazing lives!

Guernsey Girl said...

Thanks Linda and Jane - he was just so gracious when I asked if I could use his wife's photo - why did it have to happen to such an amazing man?

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

oh my ! how beautiful she is and how sad but how wonderful their son has such a great daddy.
been missing a bit myself because my baby brother is in hospice. sigh.
thank you so much for your visits and your encouragement but you are the one with the talent (())

Guernsey Girl said...

Oh Francie, I'm so very sorry about your brother....sending you lots of warm thoughts xx