real life

A letter to my kids, before Mother's Day without Mummy.

Dear Lottie and Tom,

How you handle situations without your Mum, or questions from your friends at school, or thoughts you wake up to, wake up because of, or wake up worrying about – is ultimately up to you. But I’m here to help, when and where I can.

I’ll never know exactly what you’re thinking. I’ll only know what I can see, and what you tell me, but I’m in the fortunate position of having a good idea of how you’re processing things, and how you’re adjusting, as you get older.


I think I know how you’re feeling from time-to-time, and how you’ve travelled over the last couple of years. And how you’ve grown as you’ve begun to realise your little normal, is normal for you, but not so for others.
And for some reason, this last week has been a bit more intense than others, and I think I know why.

Mother’s Day.

A Mother’s Day that will be our third without Mummy.

Grief and true loss are personal… because a person is gone. Your own individual relationship with that person – just gone, lost forever – in person at least.

Relationships are personal. A husband and wife… a mother and child… all personal, and all different. So it makes sense that grief is personal and different for each person.

The loss is yours, and yours alone. Yours to adjust too, yours to learn to live with, and most importantly, yours to shape as you go on to do whatever you put your mind to.


Of course, I’ll be here to support you, to love you unconditionally, and to help you – but I don’t pretend to know exactly how you grieve, or exactly what you’ve lost.

So for me, Mother’s Day is about your loss and your grief. Which is why we’ll take it slowly this week and do our own little things to have fun and to remember. But we’ll also try and minimise the impact of a day, that really lasts a couple of weeks.

I want it to be a #funday, not sad Sunday. Over time you’ll work out your own approach to navigate the week, and the Day, but for the time being, I’m going to try and help you out a little bit. And try not to overexpose you to something you’re still trying to process in your own way.


To me, Mother’s Day is also about Mummy’s loss. Which might sound strange, but it’s one of the days which makes me really sad, especially when I think about what she’s lost. What could have been for her.

She worked so hard to become a Mum, she loved being a Mum, but sadly, she only ever got to have three Mother’s Days – all before you guys ever realised what they were about.

Mummy was 37 when she died, and we were just coming out of that newborn and baby period… nappies, night feeds, and jet lag-like fog.

We’d almost got through the baby stage and were starting to enjoy the two little toddlers, wobbling around the house and yard, ticking off the firsts and tripping over toys and cups of tea in the process.

Smiling, rolling, teething, crawling, bumping along on your bottom Lottie, walking, talking, more teething, toilet training, trying new foods… not trying new foods… lots of firsts.

And most importantly lots of laughs and lots of love.

In this episode of This Glorious Mess, Rebecca sparrow talks about how men grieve differently. (post continues after podcast)


Firsts for her to enjoy, for us both to enjoy… and firsts every mother saviours, remembers, and sees as another a little stepping-stone to being a good Mum. When in reality she wasn’t a good Mum, she was a great Mum.

But, the firsts stopped for Mummy. They just stopped, and she lost the chance to see more firsts.

She heard your first words Lottie, but not the excitement in your voice on your first day of pre-school. She read you your first book Tommy, but she didn’t hear ‘you’ read ‘your’ first book, ‘The Zoo’. She got up during the night to comfort you both when those first teeth were coming through, but she won’t be here to see them fall out.

She kissed your hair, those pretty little curls Lotts, but missed your first trip to the salon to see the gorgeous smile on your face. She lost the chance to be a mother beyond those first three years, and that’s why Mother’s Day is hard for me because I think of her a lot. And what she lost.

Lach with Tom and Lottie (image: facebook)

She deserved to be a Mother for a lot longer than three years and three days. She deserved more than three Mother’s Days. More than just her first, second, and third. More than what she’s lost. And a lot more firsts.

Tommy, I love you Zoo, and Potts I love you, Lotts. #TheDaddyLetters

This post originally appeared on Lach's blog, The Daddy Letters. You can also follow him on Facebook.