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Our Story Begins: The Difference A Year Makes

Our Story Begins:
The Difference A Year Makes

This week marks the anniversary of a few things that really changed my life.

The first, you may not realize, is that I started writing, right here, once a week, for Good Enough Mother in the first week of January. I don’t pretend that I help, hurt, anger or even warm the deep recesses of others’ souls here in my few hundred words each week. I have sparked a few lively debates and at times, invoked unwanted sympathy. If I’m being honest, I wanted both.

Give me a few words, dear reader, to tell you what writing here has meant for me. Where I wrote my own blog to work through the emotions and feelings that I couldn’t fathom in those first months after losing my wife, I was given a rare opportunity here. I got to tell people what they should and most importantly what they should not do for and to someone in my situation. So what can you do if you know someone in my shoes? Here are a few ideas..

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I got to shed light on the fact that minutes or hours after losing their loved one, a widow or widower has to make decisions that nobody should have to make under such pressure. I was lucky, I had family to help. So many don’t. That needs to change.

Read more:  Our Story Begins: On Bouncing Back 


I got to let people know that asking, “How do you do it?!doesn’t really help widows and widowers know how to “do it!” Yes, it’s really hard to raise four kids alone. If I’d fallen apart in the corner spouting out, “thb thb thbb bthhhh thbbb” my kids would fail and no parent wants that. I do it because there’s really no choice . . . and those kids really are worth the effort.

Read more:  Our Story Begins: The Decisions That Break You In Two


I got to show you that it’s not so hard to cook homemade meals and desserts and lunches every day. Convenience foods contribute to the epidemic of obesity in our society. We buy things because they’re easy yet my kids have not gained significant weight…they’ve even lost it…after I made their treats and desserts and meals from scratch. I even started posting some of those recipes on video. Yes, Virginia, Dads can actually cook when they want to.

Read more:  Our Story Begins: Are You A Mother Or A Martyr?


On obesity – I also told you the two words banned in my house are “fat” and “stupid.” They both put people down. Andrea gained a significant amount of weight toward the end of our marriage. She couldn’t help it, couldn’t lose it, and it hurt when people treated both of us differently because of it. I don’t pity, I sympathize with those struggling with weight. It hurts them emotionally and in many cases it’s an addiction like many others. Don’t ridicule what you don’t understand!

Read more:  Our Story Begins: Worth A Thousand Words


On that note – Dads can empathize, learn, adjust, and be more sympathetic. I don’t think guys get enough credit a lot of the time. The idea that I’m some Superman because I picked up the mantle and took care of my kids implied that I didn’t do it before. You’d be amazed how you can trust and rely on your spouse. They’re not going to do anything – most of the time – to put your kids in harm’s way. Show them that trust and you’ll get a stronger marriage in return.

Read more:  Our Story Begins: Of Bodysuits, Boobs And Boys


Lastly,  I have gained a lot in the last year. When I started writing – and you can see it in the prosaic descriptions of my marriage and life – I was hurt. I was struggling. I was truly a person who was doing his best to write a story without an outline. I was already struggling with whether my kids would see the year as the year it all went wrong or the beginning of a new way to live. I hoped it would be the latter.

I also gained friendship the likes of which I would never have fathomed two years ago. When I struggled, Rene helped me to understand – sometimes bluntly – where I stood. When my daughter was meeting me in New York for a college visit and my work kept me late . . . Ella picked her up and got her situated. Rene was there to help.

A year has brought me through the misty uncertainty of struggle. I now see our lives as an adventure. It’s stressful, goofy, funny, depressing, insane, beautiful, dark, bright, rough and absolutely brilliant! A year has taught me the biggest lesson – we’re stronger together than when we’re apart.

What about you? Have you looked at the last year? What is different? What is the same . . . and what are you going to do to change that?

More from GEM:

Ask the Good Enough Guys: What Life Lessons Are You Teaching Your Children?

Let’s Eat! Waffles And THIS For Breakfast?

Happy Birthday Good Enough Mother! (VIDEO)


Dave Manoucheri is a writer and journalist based in Sacramento, California.  A father of four, two daughters and twin sons, his blog, Our Story Begins, is a chronicle of their daily life after the loss of his wife Andrea, in March of 2011. Follow him on Twitter @InvProducerMan.

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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