Ric Hart, 36, lost wife Jade soon after the birth of their son, Hugo, and has taken to writing about his journey as a single parent and widower.
His first book, Hugo and Daddy’s Night-time Adventures,is written as a poem and linked by colourful illustrations to capture moments a child might experience after the death of a parent.
Ric said: “A few months after Jade had passed, I told myself it would be vital how Hugo interprets and grows up without his mummy.
“Lockdown gave me the push in my mind to make a start on my ideas, turning negative trauma into positive magic in the sky at night. The book will help Hugo in so many ways going forward.”
He added: “I’d never written before, so this was massively out my comfort zone, but that's what life’s all about.”
Like many single parents, lockdown also brought new day-to-day difficulties for Ric.
He said: “It was extremely challenging. It took me back to the isolation I was in after losing Jade. I would write around 5am every morning before Hugo woke up. It brought many tears, but I needed to deal with my grief head on, not bury it.
“I needed focus and to rely on my inner strength, ensuring we both had a good routine. Hugo was developing well and we were taking advantage of the countryside.”
Ric also found the time to write another two children’s books and an autobiography covering his experience for grown-up readers, all due out in 2021, as well as a website about Jade’s life.
The next book for children will be Hugo and Daddy’s Thailand Adventures, reimagining the trek Ric and Jade took in 2015 which ended with their wedding.
The autobiography, Pupy Love – an affectionate misspelling the couple shared in notes to each other – will be out in February, and covers their tale from childhood sweethearts to the present day.
While Ric’s primary focus is on telling the story for Hugo, he has also given copies of Night-time Adventures to Misterton Primary School and the county library service.
He said: “I knew it had a place to help other kids come to terms with loss. I have had a lot of feedback already on how it has inspired people to believe there's a way out of grief.
“We just need to follow our hearts and make the loved ones we have lost proud.”
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