“At the end of 2016 we thought my wife was getting better; she was cancer-free and then she passed away just before Christmas, all of a sudden really. Since then I’ve been looking after the children.”
After his much-loved wife died of cancer, Dad was left to raise 7 children on his own. Newly bereaved and with children ranging in age from 15 to 5, Dad found it difficult to cope.
“It’s quite busy being a full-time dad. And we’re still grieving for my wife. I’m going through counselling. I feel the children’s grief as well…That’s the basis really, why I was referred to Safe Families. They said they could help me.”
Volunteers take the younger three children out so Dad can get things done. Dad walks his dogs with another volunteer and has a chance to talk and get things off his chest. “The volunteers have been helpful, just being friends really. A lot of me family and friends are working. The only time I’ve got to myself is when the kids are at school and a lot of my family and friends are working at that time. It’s been really helpful to have somebody there really
Dad feels really appreciative of the support and the extra mile the volunteers have gone in their busy lives. Once, Dad says, the volunteer Family Friend rang him to see how he was, even when the volunteer himself was poorly.
The volunteers also take the entire family out when they have a church event for what Dad calls “a special day out”.
Dad says having the volunteer support “just makes things a little easier. I can’t plan for the future and just live day to day, but I know support’s there if I need it. I’ve not made it, the sense of loss is still there but it’s made me feel a bit better.”
Dad feels very strongly that it’s vital for fathers to be actively involved in their children’s lives. “My Dad was an absent father, he was with me Mum but I never saw him…I’ve seen other dads not taking active part in their children’s lives.
“Sometimes I think society doesn’t value fathers as much because we aren’t hands-on most of the time or we’re sort of viewed as less of a parent than the mother. It makes me angry, that’s a bit of sexism really. Even when my wife was alive I tried to do it was much as I could. It’s important to be an active father, we can’t leave it all to the mother. Enjoy your children and being with your children.”