He couldn’t help but feel like a stranger in his own home. The happy memories they shared was now replaced with nothing but darkness.
He felt his chest tightened and he struggled to breathe. He didn’t know how to move forward from this. He fell into his couch daydreaming about what could have been when a flickering light caught his attention…
Matt had loved Liz since high school. And ever since their first kiss, they had never been apart.
For ten years, their life had been like a perfect dream. He didn’t think they could be happier … until she told him they were going to have a baby. But then … she started to feel “off.”
What was supposed to be a joyous day, quickly turned into a nightmare.
The frantic drive to the hospital and rushing her in for an emergency C-section, was a panicked blur. Sitting by her side for hours was agony rather than a celebration. Instead of tears of joy, he listened to his daughter’s wails and his wife flat-line.
In less than a day, he had lost the love of his life. Matt sat in the taxi, unable to drive and barely able to cradle the perfect pink cherub his late wife had brought into the world.
Everything felt dull and grey. He could never imagine that something unthinkable was waiting at home for him.
He sat in the darkness and felt his baby girl squirm in his arms.
He desperately tried to figure out what to do. More than anything he wanted to numb the pain – to escape from the world and everything in it. But he suddenly realized that meant his daughter would also be without a father.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a tiny notification light blink on her still-opened laptop.
She had spent hours on it, crafting amazing stories and weaving tales that were better than any video or snapshot. For some reason, Matt found himself opening her blog. There were new comments.
Matt looked between the screen and his daughter, Maddy. He had a choice.
He could fall into sadness, or, he could be the father he dreamed of – and help what was left of his wife grow up. He rested his hands on the keyboard and opened the blog.
It was like his fingers moved on their own. Words and feelings poured out.
Memories, stories, and musings took shape. Over the next few months, he found himself in the same position his wife had been in – addicted to writing. But his gut told him there was more.
He poured over the comments old readers had passed on and new ones had offered.
They loved her so much and their kind words made his heart lift a little. And when he finally got to the most recent notes, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
People wrote in with sympathy and advice for the new father.
They loved his thoughts on parenting and the brutal honesty of his struggle. Things took a new, and even more astounding, turn when the doorbell started to ring like crazy.
Gifts from all over the world poured in – everything from diapers to nail clippers.
The support was overwhelming and had him in tears nearly every day. It wasn’t just gifts. People showed their love with money as well. And Matt knew exactly what he wanted to do with it.
Liz had also been a runner. So Matt, along with his town, organized a charity run – with the proceeds going to widowers and their families.
As years passed, the event and cause grew to enormous levels that went well beyond a simple 5k jog. Famous people and countless talk shows (including Oprah) took notice.
Everyone wanted to share Matt’s story. However, his little girl and writing were more important than any attention.
He took his daughter to India, which had been special to Liz. There, his book, “Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love” took shape. Their journey had already been amazing, but he still couldn’t believe what followed.
Life turned into bestseller lists, Hollywood offers, and children’s book publications.
But he never forgot why they were there and what was missing. Part of him watched with pride as his girl grew up, but the pain stayed as he watched just how much she looked like Liz. And it wasn’t just in appearance.
The young girl found her own joy in sports and running – always taking part in her mother’s charity.
He shed tears of joy when she took it upon herself to raise money for other causes as well. He knew for certain that, somewhere, her mother was looking down on them and smiling.