Like any new dad, Matt Logelin was filled with joy when his daughter was born. Indeed, both he and his wife Liz were so happy, as their lives were now perfect. One day later, however, it would turn into a living hell when Liz suddenly passed away. Instantly torn between the immense joy of his newborn daughter and unfathomable grief of losing his wife, he turned to his blog for comfort.
Matt, a 39-year-old writer and public speaker from Minnetonka, Minnesota, met Liz in high school. The attraction was instant, and the pair started dating. They maintained a long-distance relationship while he studied sociology at university in Minnesota, and Liz attended college in California.
After Matt earned a master’s degree from Chicago’s Loyola University, he brought his studies to an end and moved to LA to be with Liz. On August 13, 2005, the high school sweethearts married. With their careers on the rise, life couldn’t have been much better for the couple.
Matt worked as a project manager at Yahoo!, while Liz was an executive at Disney. And their seemingly wonderful lives became even more blessed when, in 2007, Liz fell pregnant. However, the pregnancy had some difficulties that left Liz hospitalized.
Liz began to experience an extreme case of morning sickness, and doctors ordered her into bed rest. She spent three weeks at home before being transferred to hospital for a further two weeks’ rest. To keep their families and friends informed, Matt decided to post updates on his blog.
On March 24, 2008, doctors performed an emergency C-section. But after Liz spent just a brief moment with her baby, Madeline was whisked off to the neonatal intensive care unit. Matt posted on their blog, “Madeline is here! The proud parents will continue to update everyone on our beautiful baby. Look forward to even more good news.”
The next update, however, was far from good news. It was 27 hours after Liz had given birth and nurses were preparing the new mom to see her daughter in the NICU. As she climbed into her wheelchair she muttered, “I feel light-headed.” Then she passed out.
Initially, nurses thought Liz’s fainting was something common to many moms who had just given birth. But they soon realized that it was serious. As Matt was ushered out of the room, he instantly feared the worst. Somehow he just knew how critical his wife’s situation was.
"All of a sudden it hit me,” Matt told The Guardian in April 2011. “She was going to die, today, here in this hospital. And she was never going to hold her baby.” Liz suffered a pulmonary embolism – a blood clot that blocked the passageways into her lungs. Her death was almost instant.
Matt suddenly found himself torn between two extreme emotions. On the one hand, there was the immense joy of his newborn baby; on the other, there was the unfathomable loss of his wife and best friend. Raising his daughter alone was a prospect that he had simply never considered.
Matt knew that he couldn’t allow himself to become consumed with grief. His daughter needed him. To combat the loneliness he felt from having to go it alone, then, he turned to a parenting forum hosted by the Minnesota Star Tribune in his old hometown – and it turned into the outlet that he needed.
Matt’s blog, which had originally started as a home for his and Liz’s passion for travel, took on a new life. Matt would pour his heart out over what had happened: “Liz’s death has really f***ed me up,” he posted in April 2008. Sometimes, he’d seek the advice and support that was missing from Liz not being there.
The response was phenomenal. Matt built a community, not only consisting of moms offering their advice, but also young widows and widowers searching for ways to cope with the sudden death of their spouses. At its peak the blog attracted a remarkable 50,000 daily visitors.
The blog also became a platform for well-wishers to offer more tangible support. A local group of moms invited Matt to join their weekly parenting group, and when they noticed a rapid weight loss after his wife’s death, they brought him food to keep his strength up.
And what had been an outlet to write about how he was coping soon turned into an important tool in Madeline’s upbringing. As Matt told the Daily Mail in January 2013, “I didn’t intend on it becoming a scrapbook for Madeline, but it became that very quickly.”
The blog started to read like a letter to Madeline, with Matt recalling moments between him and his daughter that he may have otherwise forgotten about. Yes, what emerged was a touching, sometimes painful, sometimes funny account of a dad trying to process his feelings on his toughest days.
Yet for all its success, Matt couldn’t understand why the blog became so popular. He didn’t feel that he was any more special than any of the millions of single moms who receive no credit for single-handedly raising their children. Its popularity would, however, lead to more opportunities for the grieving dad.
In 2009 Matt quit his job and took Madeline to India for two months while he wrote a memoir, Two Kisses for Maddy. The book is a New York Times bestseller currently due for a screen adaptation. Meanwhile, he also set up The Liz Logelin Foundation to assist families whose children have lost a parent.
Today, Madeline is a happy nine-year-old who is the spitting image of her late mother. And over the years, Matt conquered his grief and was able to move on to a new relationship. Nonetheless, he still talks about Liz daily, recognizing the importance of Madeline knowing her mom.
"In many ways, it’s a love letter to Madeline and to Liz,” said Matt about the blog to The Guardian. “Liz will never read it, of course. [But] 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.”