Just over two years ago, Matt Logelin experienced the happiest moment of his life when his daughter Madeline was born. Twenty-seven hours later, his heart was torn apart by the sudden death of his wife. The culprit was a pulmonary embolism, and it happened before she had the chance to hold her baby.
Between being best friends, world travelers and the excitement of a starting a new family together, life had been perfect for the pair. “We were together from high school to the day she died,” Matt says. But after the tragedy, Matt faced an entirely new, uncertain future alone as a single father.
That’s when Matt’s blog came in handy. He used it as an outlet to express his daily struggles, his despair of losing his wife, and his venture as a new and single dad. His website caught the eyes of thousands who commented on his posts and delivered support, encouragement and empathy. As Matt’s story spread, so did the compassion from others. “People donated diapers and clothing, and while I could have played the ‘poor widower’ part forever, I didn’t,” Matt recalls. Instead, he launched the Liz Logelin Foundation to help other families who have lost a spouse, life partner and parent. “I want Maddy to see that you can always turn a situation around and help others, even though it may be the harder route.” In March 2011, Matt’s story will hit an even larger audience when his book Two Kisses for Maddy is released. The story recalls Matt and Liz’s life together and his first year with Maddy.
Despite the triumphs that have occurred since Liz’s tragedy, Matt always keeps in mind his ultimate goal, which is to ensure Maddy “knows” her mother. “I have saved everything, from her shampoo and perfume to her clothes, so Maddy has a way to connect with her mother,” Matt says. He also desires to show her the world, teach her about different cultures and demonstrate how to be a citizen of the earth. Being that Liz and Matt trekked the world together, it comes as no surprise that Maddy has already traveled to six countries. But Matt knows parenthood is also about appreciating the small things close to home. “I love exploring the world through her eyes. As adults we forget the joy of watching a worm,” Matt says with a laugh.
After all he’s been through, Matt has a different perspective on parenthood than some parents. “I find the joy in her temper tantrums,” he says, “and I never take her for granted. She’s what helped me get through the last two years.”
Advice for other dads
Matt also urges other parents to get off the couch and play with their children. He says getting out with the kids is good for both parent and child. “I take Maddy out every weekend,” he says, “When we go to Griffith Park here in Los Angeles, I put her in a backpack and go hiking. Afterward, she gets to run off her energy at the playground or ride the carousel.” When asked what advice he has for other dads, Matt says, “Never take your kids for granted, and never complain about them. Children should never be looked at as a burden.”
“My mother always said, ‘You never feel love like the love of a parent until you become one,'” Matt says, “and she was right.”