Ric Hart's Story
In the run up to Father's Day, we wanted to share WAY Widowed and Young member Ric's story about coping as a widowed dad. He also helps to share some of his tips and advice for coping as a widowed
Following a tragic series of circumstances, Ric lost his wife Jade shortly after giving birth to his son Hugo. Since then, Ric has been writing his way through grief and recently published a book called Pupy Love about his life with Jade and the steps he took after she died to provide hope and growth for himself and Hugo.
Ric takes up the story…
"In July 2018, I lost my best friend, my soulmate, my wife. Following a tragic series of circumstances, Jade died shortly after giving birth to our wonderful son, Hugo.
Jade was the kindest most thoughtful person I will ever know. She always lived for today, and always knew how to brighten someone’s day. Our connection from age 18 onwards was truly a unique one.
Following a very difficult nearly four years (Hugo’s birthday is on the horizon for 8 July), I found taking action on all my ideas in lockdown the best decision I could have made. It provided huge therapy for me in an extremely challenging time, but allowed me to do what I intended - and that was to shout about Jade and who she was to the world, but also to have hope for Hugo through the creation of the Hugo and Daddys Saga of books. For sure this has given me huge hope and growth throughout my grief.
If you are deep within your own grief after losing a loved one and are finding it hard to express how you feel, writing a journal or creating a book could be the answer for you. It certainly allowed me to go to every part of our lives together and also gave me huge hope for Hugo’s future and also mine. It provided me personally with the therapy I needed during lockdown and lit the fire back up inside me.
I also created a website in memory of Jade and knew this was the missing jigsaw to my book creations. The main purpose of this was for Jade’s memory to always be available and live on – but also to bring friends and family together to share images of a beautiful soul.
Dealing with Jade's inquest this year has been extremely challenging, but now it’s over, I need to step forward to find peace and acceptance of the outcome. It’s time to focus on my son and creating special memories going forward with him, and also to focus on me and stepping forward into a new chapter into my life."
How have you coped as a widowed father over the past four years?
"I had to dig deep within my soul after the horrific loss, shock, trauma, and really find a way to believe that my deep inner strength would pull me out of the black hole I was in. I took that first step and here I am today."
What are some of the main challenges you've faced raising Hugo on your own?
"The growth of Hugo, not knowing what to do and when when it came to bottle feeding, nappies, sleep, eating, night time, growth changes, the lot basically. I guess I winged the lot… Amongst my loss of Jade at birth, this has been one hell of an anxiety journey. I guess it still is. I also feel setting boundaries was a challenge. This was non-existent certainly at the start of my loss, but is growing and becoming more defined as Hugo gets older and my clarity and decision making are becoming more concrete. Doing your best to be a mum and dad and also be good cop and bad cop isn’t easy, trust me."
What are some of the things you're most proud of over the past 4 years?
"I’m so proud of running the full marathon in memory of Jade. I’m so glad I went all the way on that journey for her. I’m also very proud of becoming a book author, having now written four children’s bereavement books and with my 5th on the horizon in September 2022 Hugo and Daddy’s School Adventures. My autobiography Pupy Love donated profits to WAY.
I’m also proud of Hugo and the boy he is growing up to be and proud of all the decisions I made. It’s allowed me to understand and gain better clarity and focus on where myself and Hugo are heading."
Do you have any tips for other young widowed dads out there?
"Find a way to be in the present, only focus on the day you're in. Always find time for you, gather the best people around you, who have genuine interests in your growth and where you're heading. Protect your energy and always provide time for self care, which for me has been so crucial throughout my steps.
Find a way to make your lost loved one proud. Life isn’t about forgetting about your loss and just moving on. It’s about dealing with it head on the best possible way, and doing something that allows their life to shine on forever. Writing books was my step in doing this, which provided to be amazing therapy for me but also a legacy for Jade and hopefully for Hugo too. We can all find our way, this was mine."
Thank you so much to Ric for talking to us and for sharing your story.
Jade’s website www.jadehartpupylove.co.uk
You can also follow Ric on Instagram at @hugoandricstravels and @richardhart786
Ric's books are available on Amazon.