Grieving husband and dad turns to writing to keep wife's memory alive and teach other children about grief

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A man whose wife died after childbirth has celebrated his son starting school by writing a book to keep his mum’s memory alive – and teach other children about grief.

Ric Hart, aged 38, was left to raise his son, Hugo, four, alone after his “soulmate”, Jade died after giving birth to her firstborn due to “a very serious omission of care” by staff in July 2018.

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The umbilical cord had been “pulled at least four times by a doctor when her placenta had not separated”, which resulted in her uterus being turned inside out. She then suffered multiple cardiac arrests, brain damage and organ failure.

Ric Hart with his late wife Jade Hart.Ric Hart with his late wife Jade Hart.
Ric Hart with his late wife Jade Hart.

The investigation found the mismanagement of an ongoing haemorrhage also contributed to her death, with regular checks not undertaken.

Her care was described as a “truly exceptionally bad” decision that would result in a “serious risk of death” – the hospital apologised.

After her death, Ric was faced with overwhelming grief, but the responsibility of raising his newborn “kept him on track”.

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He decided to channel his grief into writing a series of children’s books to explain bereavement to his son and other children who have suffered loss.

Jade Hart.Jade Hart.
Jade Hart.

The full-time-dad, from Misterton, said: “When Jade died, I wanted to fall apart.

“She was my best friend and soulmate and I didn’t know how to live without her, but I had to find a way to get through it – whenever I wanted to break down, I’d have half of her staring up at me.

“At that time, I never imagined I would get through it and get him to the point where he was ready to start school.

“It was a huge achievement and milestone for us.

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Ric Hart and his son Hugo with copies of Hugo and Daddy's School Adventures.Ric Hart and his son Hugo with copies of Hugo and Daddy's School Adventures.
Ric Hart and his son Hugo with copies of Hugo and Daddy's School Adventures.

“I wanted to write the books to keep Jade’s memory alive and to help Hugo and other families navigate grief.’”

Ric met Jade in February 2002, when he was 18 and she was 17. They had instant chemistry and a “unique and special bond”.

They married in Koh Samui, Thailand, in April 2015, surrounded by 50 of their friends and family.

The couple were over the moon to find found out they were expecting a baby after returning from a holiday in Turkey in October 2017.

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Ric Hart with some of his books.Ric Hart with some of his books.
Ric Hart with some of his books.

“Jade was so excited to be a mum,” Ric said. “We were both over the moon when we found out she was pregnant.

“She had a really easy pregnancy, there were no problems or reasons to be concerned.”

Jade was induced on July 6, 2018 at Bassetlaw Hospital after doctors became concerned about her increasing blood pressure, and gave birth to Hugo Jaden on July 8.

However, after giving birth, she began to experience complications while delivering the placenta.

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Despite being transferred to intensive care, she suffered a series of cardiac arrests and died on July 9.

“The grief was crazy,” Ric said. “I wasn’t even on this planet, but I had to look after a baby only a few hours old.

Ric Hart and his son Hugo.Ric Hart and his son Hugo.
Ric Hart and his son Hugo.

“I was only getting two or three hours of sleep a night and was visited by frequent traumatic nightmares.

“Both my family and Jade’s have been amazing and supported me through my darkest times, but I knew I had to find a way to get through this by myself.

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“I needed to find my inner strength to be the best dad I could be for Hugo. I needed to grow from my grief.

“I’d promised Jade when she was pregnant that if she was going to carry our baby for nine months, I’d train for nine months after he was born and complete a marathon, so I channelled all my grief and trauma into running.

“’I was literally running away from everything, but it was the outlet I needed.”

In October 2019, Ric completed the Yorkshire marathon in four hours, 50 minutes.

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When the country went into lockdown in March 2020, Ric was unable to get childcare for Hugo and had to stop running.

Unable to run or see his friends and family for support, he was forced to face his grief head-on, which caused him to fall into a deep depression.

He started to get his thoughts down on paper by writing several thousand words every morning before Hugo woke up – and that inspired him to write a series of children’s books to explain bereavement to kids.

The latest book in the series, Hugo and Daddy’s School Adventures, was released in September, to celebrate Hugo starting school.

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Ric said: “During my darkest moments, I never imagined we’d be where we are now.

“Hugo is amazing – he’s such a joker and always giggling.

“He’s been with me every day, so we have a really tight bond.

“Losing Jade was the most horrific thing that could have happened, but she left the most beautiful gift behind. He has her smile, it’s phenomenal.

“There have been times when he’s lying in bed next to me at night, and if I squint my eyes, it’s like Jade is there with me.

“The books are my gift to Hugo, and Jade’s legacy.

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“I had to find a way to grow from this – to find some light in absolute darkness.

“I hope one day, when Hugo is older, he’ll read these books to his children and grandchildren.

’”Although my son has to live without his mummy, he knows he’ll always have me.

“Jade would be so proud of the amazing little boy Hugo has become, and I know she’d love the books too.

“Writing the books has saved me.”

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Sales from the books go to local and national charities, with proceeds from the latest book to Misterton Primary School.

Other books by Ric include Hugo and Daddy’s Night-time Adventures and Hugo and Daddy’s Superhero Adventures.

Hugo and Daddy’s School Adventures is available on Amazon – see