Traditionally, new parents experience all of their firsts together; from bringing their newborn babies home to learning the ins and outs of round-the-clock infant care, the exhausting work of being a mom or dad is shared with a second parent and spouse.
When new dad Matt Logelin brought baby girl Maddy home from the hospital, though, he was both overwhelmed and heartbroken. His wife and childhood sweetheart, Liz, had died from a rare pulmonary embolism just 27 hours after giving birth to their daughter; he’d become a widower and a single dad all in a span of less than two days.
It was a heart-wrenching experience trying to raise his new daughter all on his own, attempting to keep her loved and cared for while finding the appropriate time to grieve.
What he never expected, though, was that the most important support system for working through his grief came from the internet—and all thanks to a blog his wife had started for their family and friends.
The Logelins had met in high school, surviving a long-distance relationship during college before getting married and traveling the world together.
The couple had been elated when they learned they were expecting their first child in 2007, and Liz had suggested that the couple use Matt’s personal blog, which had been previously used for simple observations on work and life, to keep family and friends back home in their native Minnesota updated on the pregnancy.
Everything had been going well until Liz was put on bed rest for three weeks, then rushed in for an emergency C-section seven weeks before baby Maddy was due. Although the birth seemed to go well, allowing the new parents to meet a 3-pound-11-ounce (approx. 1.6-kilogram) baby girl a few months early, Liz collapsed after being wheeled down to the NICU to hold her baby girl for the first time. She passed away not long after, leaving her husband reeling with mountains of new responsibility and more grief than he could have ever imagined.
For weeks, Logelin was torn between the conflicting emotions of elation over his new baby and grief over his late wife. Finally, he decided that he would try to work through the process of grieving through writing—and started to update his blog again, hoping for closure.
What he’d never expected was the amount of support he received from strangers on the internet.
“I just wanted to give [our families] visual proof that I was succeeding,” he admitted during an interview with the Rachael Ray show.
Instead, he started to receive both physical and verbal support from strangers worldwide.
People sent him care packages with formula coupons and diapers for Maddy, sometimes even sending him beer for himself to help him get through the trying times. Those that didn’t send physical packages left words of encouragement as well, sending him advice on how to navigate single parenthood and letting him know what a great job he was doing.
The blog slowly served as a form of therapy for Matt, who eventually decided to start a non-profit foundation in his wife’s name. Now, not only is he successfully parenting his adorable daughter, he’s working to raise money for the Liz Logelin Foundation—which provides resources and finances for families with children who have lost a parent.
The death of his wife was easily the most heartbreaking time in his life for Matt, but the outreach from the world through his blog was a source of comfort and healing. “In many ways, it’s a love letter to Madeline and to Liz,” he admitted.