Chris Davis and his son Harvey
Chris's first Christmas as a widower
Single dad Chris Davies is facing his first Christmas without his wife Jo who died last June. Chris explains how he and his son Harvey are managing, and how an online support group has helped him cope.
This year Christmas for Chris Davies and his six year old son will be different from previous years.
Chris say: "A typical day now is quite different from how it used to be.
"And being young and widowed at the same time is a little strange, and very lonely.
The challenge of Christmas
"There's a difference between being a single dad and a widowed dad. It is quite scary. And I'm in charge, because I never have been - but now I am!"
And events such as Christmas present their own challenges.
Chris and Harvey
Chris explains: "I'm trying to find a pattern that works for me and Harvey to get through our 'firsts'. We got through the first wedding anniversary without Jo, Jo's birthday, and we're about to get through to the first Christmas - lots of firsts that haven't happened before, but we're working with."
Chris has found help and support online, thanks to a website called the Way Foundation, for the widowed and young.
"I remember when Jo was ill seeing a documentary about it, and storing the name in the back of my head. And I don't think I'd be here now without it.
"It's fantastic to be able to touch base with people and know you're normal, even though people are at different stages [of their grief]. It's great to be able to say, 'can anyone help', and 'this has happened to me'."
"She's everywhere I look in the house"
Of all single parents, only 1 in 10 of them are single due to death. And, according to the Way Foundation website, in the Dorset, Hampshire and Isle of Wight area there are 3,000 single parents under the age of 50 who are single because of the death of a partner.
But Chris knows the memory of his wife will live on. He says, "She's everywhere I look in this house, in Harvey, in the DIY that she made me do! And in the home that she made for us. Sometimes I feel like we're just living in it, that we're just waiting for her to come home. But she's not."
Listen to Chris talk to Julian Clegg on BBC Radio Solent's Breakfast programme, along with a contribution from bereavement counsellor David Semark-Jullien from Eastleigh Bereavement Service in Hampshire.
last updated: 21/12/2007 at 09:22
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