He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Everything around him felt cold and empty. Especially the house. It felt like it could never hold happiness again.
His heart ached as he wondered how he could ever move on from this. He stared into the distance as he thought about everything that had happened, and what he would miss. But that was when a blinking 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.”
Liz kept everyone updated in her blog, but her pregnancy wasn’t an easy one. Although she had always been healthy and active, the pregnancy was taking a toll on her body.
She had severe morning sickness, and, after a two-week hospital stay, her pregnancy was classified as high-risk. When the big day arrived, Matt’s world crumbled around him.
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.
Little Maddie was brought into the world that day, weighing barely 3 lbs. 14 oz., but Matt never imagined the tragic tradeoff he’d face.
Because Maddie was rushed to neonatal ICU, Liz had only seen her baby girl briefly. She couldn’t wait to hold her, but the doctors ordered 24 hours of bedrest before she was allowed to move. Then, tragedy struck.
After what seemed like an age, the 24 hours passed and Liz was allowed to go into the neonatal ward to meet Maddy.
Excited that they could finally go and bond with their baby, Matt was helping Liz into her wheelchair when she whispered “I feel light-headed.” Suddenly, she went limp in his arms.
Just 27 hours after welcoming their baby into the world, Matt’s whole life broke apart. Liz suffered from a rare pulmonary embolism and lost her life. She was just 30 years old.
“She was never going to hold her baby,” Matt recalls tearfully. With his wife suddenly ripped away from him, he didn’t know how he could go on.
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.
Matt was completely and totally overwhelmed. Now, he had to raise Maddy and face life on his own. Unbearable grief and pain seared through him and threatened to swallow him whole.
He numblly went through the motions – taking care of the newborn as best he could. Little did he know, Liz had left him a final gift.
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.
Matt made the blog his own, renaming it “Matt, Liz and Madeline: Life and Death, All in a 27-Hour Period.” As he read and wrote, he felt the weight of his wife’s tragic death begin to lift.
Matt’s outpouring attracted thousands of readers per day, and the blog would prove to be so meaningful for Maddie further down the road.
Matt had created something truly inspiring from the tragedy, and it gave him a new sense of purpose. Parents and other widowers from all over the world rallied to the blog to offer support, love, and share their parenting tips for single parents.
Then, the blog took on a life of its own. It was transforming into something so much more than words of support.
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.
“I never imagined that people would care about us the way they do,” Matt said. He had amassed a loyal readership among his avid supporters and decided to do something more.
He decided to do something to honor Liz’s memory, and a group of of his strongest supporters helped him make it happen.
Liz had also been a runner. So Matt, along with his town, organized a charity foundation in Liz’s name. The Liz Logelin Foundation began organizing 5-K runs and walks in their hometown.
Matt gave all the money the foundation raised back to other widowers he met through his blog. When Liz’s birthday loomed nearer, Matt decided to do even more.
The Liz Logelin Foundation, which was run by volunteers, held a Celebration of Hope gala on September 17th, the weekend before Liz would have had her birthday.
The event was called 5K Walk/Run/Hope Around The World. Matt had transformed what would have been a painful period into an opportunity to celebrate the time his wife had been alive. But the story doesn’t end there.
Matt’s blog and tribute to his wife became a testament to his resilience during the darkest time of his life. It had given Liz’s passing meaning.
As years passed, the Liz Logelin foundation and cause grew to enormous levels that went well beyond a few simple 5k jogs. Famous people and countless talk shows (including Oprah) began to take notice.
Everyone wanted to share Matt’s story. However his little girl and writing were more important than any attention.
“In many ways, it is a love letter to Madeline and Liz,” Matt explained. “I want Madeline to know that her dad didn’t just curl up in a ball and start drinking heavily. I want her to know I was out there, doing as much as I could for her, and trying to make her as happy as I could.”
In 2009, Matt took Maddy to India – a place that had always been special to Liz. India was particularly significant because Matt had taken Liz there for their honeymoon.
While he was in India, 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.
To Matt’s surprise, his book “Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love”became an instant New York bestseller. And, in 2016, it caught the attention of none other than Hollywood actor Channing Tatum.
Rumors began to circulate that Tatum was going to take on a film adaptation of Matt’s book as executive producer and main actor. But, what about Matt and Maddy?
After Matt’s memoir became a bestselling hit, Matt co-authored a children’s book called “Be Glad Your Dad… (Is Not an Octopus!).
The children’s book is a G-rated version of the “would you rather” game, with stunning illustrations by Jared Chapman. OF course, the book got rave reviews.
Although his life had turned into bestseller lists, Hollywood offers, and children’s book publications, Matt 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.
Matt’s blog was a tool for him to reach out and ease some of the pain, but it also became an important mental scrapbook for Maddie as she grew up.
Maddy turned 10 in 2018 – ten years after her mother’s tragic death. Although Maddie only met her mother once very briefly, she has come to know her through Matt’s pictures and stories.
For ten years, Matt has done everything he could to try and surround his daughter with happiness and love and honor the memory of his late wife.
His story resonated with so many other people that it became a valuable example for others going through loss. Matt picked himself up and made the best out of a terrible situation.
Maddie found her own joy in sports and running – always taking part in her mother’s charity.
Matt shed tears of joy when she took it upon herself to raise money for other causes outside the foundation as well. He knew for certain that, somewhere, her mother was looking down on them and smiling.