This post is part of the ‘Tales From The Other Side Of …’ series. There are so many stages, achievements, milestones and heartbreaks we go through as parents and whatever we are experiencing, whether good, bad, exciting or terrifying, it’s always nice to know someone else has already done it and come through the other side. To find out how you can get involved and share your story/tips and tricks click here. Today we have the lovely Debbie from Squidgydoodle with a tragic story of loss but also an inspirational tale of using that experience to create a better life.

How do you cope when your whole world is ripped apart? How do you cope with the loss of your husband when your baby is only 5 months old? Find out how Debbie managed to claw her way back and shape her life in a way that honoured his memory and belief in following your dreams

I had everything I’d ever wanted.

I’d found the love that exists in films and fairytales. I had a newborn baby with these huge eyes that looked at me with utter love, trusting that I would protect her.

I was struggling with the usual conflict of an ambitious mum. A mum who knew her place in the world of work, but was suddenly holding a child who didn’t follow company policy, wasn’t aligned to the company goals and really didn’t care whether she hit her sleeping targets!

Despite that though we were happy. We could see a long future together as a family, watching her take her first steps, learn to ride a bike, fall in love, fall out of love and be told by her Dad that you shouldn’t settle, that you’ll find your one.

Then our world fell apart.

My husband, aged 40 yrs, complained of a feeling like a stitch. He went to the doctors, which was weird, as he never went. He was a fit guy who had just cycled from London to Brighton for the British Heart Foundation.

An X-ray showed fluid on his lungs, so he had tests done. We went to get the results a few days later and he was admitted to hospital immediately. He had every intention of going to work for a meeting, so was really shocked. He appeared to be perfectly fine. A week later he died from bile duct cancer. It had spread everywhere.

Our daughter was only 5 months old.

She hadn’t even learnt how to roll, let alone take her first steps. Just before he died I asked him what he would like to be able to say to his daughter when she grew up. I wrote it down for her. It was one of the most painful conversations I’ve ever had to have, but I’m so glad that I did. She really cherishes those words and so do I.

I feel incredibly lucky to have had him in my life. He was an amazing man, full of love, with a passion and a joy for life that was infectious. He lived life in a happy bubble. It is because of his positive outlook that I managed to get up each day. Babies don’t appreciate the need to grieve and now I was all she had. An army of friends and family felt my pain as though it was theirs. They held me up when I fell down.

I remember having this overwhelming fear that next week might not happen. I’d lost my future in the space of a week, so I lived the first year of our lives afterwards on fast forward. I held onto his friends tightly. I travelled everywhere with our daughter; France, Spain, Ireland, Denmark, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand… I wanted us to live as much as we could, before something bad happened.

I gradually started to accept that I could plan.

You can’t maintain life at that speed forever. I still struggle to think beyond a few years. My husband dying made me realise that we don’t always have time. He was a big believer in finding something you love and doing that for a job. His Mum had died quite young and it had shaped the person he became. I returned to work after my maternity leave, but felt very lost and had a lot of guilt about the snatches of time I spent with our daughter. My husband hadn’t had time with her.

I felt I owed it to both of them to do something different.

I would love to say that I just got on with it, but it took me 4 years. I fell in love again and fell pregnant. I decided that it was time to change career, so that I could spend more time with my children.

I have a background in Art and Design, so I launched a business running art workshops and parties for children. The business has evolved and I now sell craft boxes and party boxes for children. I know what it’s like to be a busy parent who has limited time with their children. Squidgydoodle craft boxes are perfect if you’re a busy parent, as it allows you to enjoy quality time with your child, encouraging their creativity. You don’t need search the house for the right art equipment, or spend hours looking on Pinterest for ideas. The craft box is packed full of fun, creative ideas.

I get time with them.

It’s a juggling act, but I fit my work around life with them. I get to do the school run. My kids help test new art and sensory ideas for my craft and party boxes and tell me which ones they like best.

Each milestone is still a painful reminder that my eldest daughter’s Dad is not here, but she very proudly tells people she has two Dads. We talk about him a lot, I tell her about all our happy memories and how much he loved her.

She still looks at me with those huge eyes trusting that I will protect her. All I can do is give her all the love in the world and show her that even when you think that there is no hope that you can find a glimmer, if you just look hard enough. I tell her we live in an amazing world that’s there for us to explore and that happy memories last a lifetime, even when we’ve gone.

Thank you so much Debbie for sharing your story with us. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard and terrifying it must have been for you to lose your husband so young. The way you have finally been able to move forward and create a life for yourself and your children that honours how precious this life really is, is truly inspirational.

squidgy doodle logoYou can find out more about Debbie and the amazing craft boxes she creates on her website and blog Squidgydoodle as well as on the following social media channels:

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16 thoughts on “When Your Whole World Is Changed In An Instant

  1. Oh gosh I have tears. How sad and so sorry for your loss but I’m so happy something wonderful has come out of it and how lucky your eldest his for proudly telling people she has had two dads in her life. I can’t imagine how hard this must have been #FamilyFun
    Kayleigh recently posted…The First Trimester of my Second PregnancyMy Profile

    Posted on 19 March, 2018 at 6:43 am
  2. I’m so sorry for your loss, I couldn’t help but cry reading your story. I love the idea of the craft boxes and definitely want to try these out #FamilyFunLinky

    Posted on 19 March, 2018 at 8:44 am
  3. So sorry for your loss, sounds so hard to cope with but also sounds like you have managed amazingly and given your daughter all the love, support & memories of her dad that she needs x #FamilyFunLinky

    Posted on 19 March, 2018 at 9:28 am
  4. What a heartbreaking and touching story. I’m really glad yo have read it. Thanks for sharing
    Daddy poppins recently posted…IKEA: Heaven or HellMy Profile

    Posted on 19 March, 2018 at 10:48 am
  5. So sorry for your loss, and thank you for sharing such a powerful post with us. #familyfunlinky
    Rabbit Ideas recently posted…Organising Resources-Guest-The Willow TreeMy Profile

    Posted on 19 March, 2018 at 2:53 pm
  6. Oh Debbie! That is tragic! I’m so glad your daughter has your husbands last words. I wish you peace and happiness. #familyfun

    Posted on 19 March, 2018 at 3:22 pm
  7. Oh my goodness you have been through so much but I really admire your positivity. We do indeed live in an amazing world. #FamilyFun
    Spectrum Mum recently posted…Week in Photos #24My Profile

    Posted on 19 March, 2018 at 7:34 pm
  8. Wow what a strong lady. A moving and inspiring story. #familyfun

    Posted on 19 March, 2018 at 9:05 pm
  9. Wow! I just can’t even imagine how tough those first few years must have been. While this story is sad it is also a uplifting in that some that good came out such tragedy. It sounds like a really wonderful and fun company. #familyFunLinky recently posted…Love to Learn– Geography Craft ideaMy Profile

    Posted on 20 March, 2018 at 10:12 am
  10. This made me cry! What a difficult thing to have to deal with, I cant even imagine. The writer is so painfully honest, what an amazing woman!

    Posted on 20 March, 2018 at 10:33 am
  11. I’m so very, very sorry for Debbie and her daughter’s loss – what a thing to have to cope with ever let alone with a 5 month old. How strong Debbie is that she managed to rebuild her life and change direction. Wishing her all the very best with her business. Xx #familyfunlinky

    Posted on 20 March, 2018 at 4:47 pm
  12. What a heartbreaking story but such amazing courage to turn her life into something so positive. Craft boxes are such a great idea! #familyfun
    Julie Downes recently posted…9 Things We Love About Staying At HEHP, DorsetMy Profile

    Posted on 20 March, 2018 at 7:58 pm
  13. Debbie that’s incredible. Utterly heartbreaking. I’d fall apart. How amazing to turn life like that on its head. I couldn’t imagine it, it’s a privilege to be getting to know you and finding out more about your craft boxes. A true inspiration! X
    Karen | TwoTinyHands recently posted…The Letter G #FamilyFunLinky #ABC123ChallengeMy Profile

    Posted on 20 March, 2018 at 11:35 pm
  14. What a powerful story. I can’t imagine how hard that must of been, we just take for granted that the people in our lives will always be there.

    Posted on 21 March, 2018 at 12:40 pm
  15. Oh wow, gosh… This was very emotional to read! So sorry Debbie for the way your first husband died, how horrible. But very inspirational to here how you’ve got through it and now created your business, as well as found new love and had a second child.
    I can recognise that feeling of owing someone to live life as fully as possible, as well as the thoughts of that there may not be a tomorrow. My half-brother died in an accident a couple of years ago, not long after a family friend had passed unexpectedly, and then another relative also died tragically a few months after that. Death became so much more present than it had been before then, and it has certainly affected me. I hope I can use it in as positive a way as you have! x #FamilyFunLinky
    Malin – Sensational Learning with Penguin recently posted…Back to the Beach, by Bus!My Profile

    Posted on 25 March, 2018 at 9:36 pm
  16. Oh I am so sorry to hear this but so amazing that you did something amazing out of this. The squidgy doodle boxes are so lovely. I wish you all the success in the world with this.

    Posted on 11 April, 2018 at 8:21 am