Never Be The Same
Their house didn’t feel the same anymore. It was cold and empty, it was hard to believe that it used to hold so much happiness. His heart felt like it could combust at any second. He had never experienced this kind of pain before.
How was he ever going to move on from this? He stared into the distance, pinching his eyes shut when he thought of all the things they would never get to do together. But just then, a blinking light caught his attention.
Happier Than Ever
Matt had his eyes set on Liz since they were in high school. After their very first kiss, they were inseparable. They lived a fairytale for ten years, and everything was perfect between them.
Life surely couldn’t get any better than this. Matt thought that nothing could ever make him happier, but he was wrong. Liz informed him that she was pregnant and he was beside himself with joy. But soon, Liz began feeling “off”.
Liz updated her blog often, her pregnancy certainly wasn’t an easy one. For all her life, Liz had been extremely active and healthy, but now, the pregnancy was starting to take its toll on her body.
Her morning sickness was severe and she had to spend two weeks in a hospital. Because of this, her pregnancy was classified as “high-risk”. But when their big day finally came, Matt watched as his entire life crumbled in front of his own eyes.
Day Of Celebration
It was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives, but it soon turned into a nightmare. Matt recalls the drive to the hospital and the rush for an emergency C-section as a frantic blur.
He sat by Liz’s side for hours on end, it was agony. It was supposed to be a day of celebration. But all he heard was the sound of his baby screaming and his wife flat-line.
Baby Maddie was born that day and she weighed barely 3 lbs. 14 oz. Matt could never have imagined the horrific and tragic tradeoff he would have to face.
As soon as she was born, Maddie was rushed to neonatal ICU, which meant that Liz only got to see her baby girl briefly. She wanted to hold her, but the doctors ordered 24 hours of bed rest before she could do anything else. But that was when something tragic happened.
It seemed like days had passed, but finally, 24 hours had passed and Liz was allowed to go into the neonatal ward to see her baby daughter.
Matt and Liz couldn’t wait to see Maddie. Matt helped Lizz into her wheelchair when she softly said, “I feel light-headed.” That was when her fragile body went limp in his arms.
She Was Gone
It was 27 hours since their baby was welcomed into the world, and Matt’s life had just torn itself into bits. Liz had suffered a rare pulmonary embolism and she was gone at the young age of thirty.
With tears in his eyes, Matt recalls, “She was never going to hold her baby.” He had just lost the love of his life and he didn’t know what to do.
Dull And Grey
She was gone forever. Matt sat frozen in the taxi. He couldn’t drive and he was barely able to hold his and Liz’s little baby.
The sky was blue, but everything felt dull and grey through his eyes. He didn’t know what he would do when he got home, but he had no idea what was waiting for him.
Make It Stop
He had never felt this overwhelmed before. He now had a baby to raise all on his own. It felt like his pain and grief were about to swallow him whole. What was he supposed to do? How could he make the pain stop?
He felt numb as he went through his motions. He did what he could to take care of the baby. He was completely unaware that Liz had left him one final gift.
Numb The Pain
He sat in the dimly lit room and felt his small baby squirm in his weak arms. He desperately wanted to know what he was supposed to do, but he felt so terrible.
He wanted to numb the pain, he wanted to escape the world and everything inside of it. But he couldn’t leave Maddy 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 snap shot. 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.
His Own Words
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.
Lots Of Support
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 And Donations
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 though. 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.
Celebration Of Hope
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.
Memoir For Liz
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.
Like Mother Like Daughter.
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.