Every married couple dreams of the day that they go from being Mr. and Mrs. to Daddy and Mommy. Matt Logelin and his wife Liz had wanted to become parents for quite some time before she became pregnant. But for Matt, his lifelong dream ended up turning into a nightmare.
High School Sweethearts
Matt Logelin and Liz, whose last name was originally Goodman, met in their senior year of high school in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The two lovebirds were immediately drawn to each other.
Jet Setting Romance
After graduating from high school, the two maintained a long-distance relationship for four years, since Liz was studying in California and Matt decided to study at a local university in Minnesota. However, their love always remained strong. The two shared a major sense of adventure in common, and they decided to embark on a few major international trips. Matt proposed to Liz during a trip to Nepal, and the couple also spent almost a full year traveling through India.
All their friends agreed that they were a perfect match for each other, as their personalities complimented each other. Liz was vivacious and outgoing, and her job as a senior level executive at Disney suited her friendly and high energy personality. Matt worked at an Internet search engine, and was more reserved and quiet than his social butterfly wife. However, the two found strength in their differences and brought out the best in each other at all times.
After being engaged for a year, the couple decided it was time to tie the knot. Liz planned everything down to the tiniest detail for the perfect white wedding, and due to her perfectionist Type A personality, she handled everything while Matt was able to sit back and chill. They married on August 13, 2005, with all of their family and friends in attendance. It seemed to be the ideal start to a charmed life together…but they didn’t know what lay ahead.
After the wedding, Matt decided to make the big move from the Midwest to the Golden State of California in order to be with his new bride. Liz had to live in Los Angeles in order to have her job at Disney, and since Matt worked in the high tech industry, his job meant that he could change his geographical location and keep his job. The two settled into married life and pretty soon, it was pure marital bliss.
Bun In The Oven
After being married for two years, Liz gave Matt the news he had been waiting for – she was pregnant! Matt was overjoyed at the prospect of becoming a father, and at age 30 with 12 years of romance with his wife under his belt, felt like he was at the perfect stage in his life to enter parenthood. In an interview, he said, “I always thought I’d be a good parent alongside Liz.” However, life didn’t go according to plan…
Trouble In Paradise
Pregnancy is supposed to be one of the happiest time in a married couple’s life, but things got off to a rocky start for Liz, even in the early stages of her pregnancy. She experienced constant and severe nausea, which made things difficult in her every day life. Though she planned to work during her pregnancy, doctors ordered her on bed rest. When that didn’t help, she was admitted to the hospital for three weeks of supervised bed rest.
While Liz was in the hospital, Matt decided to start a blog in order to keep their family and friends updated about Liz’s condition. However, there was only more bad news to report. Liz ended up having an emergency C section – unexpectedly – which meant that their daughter was delivered a whopping 7 weeks premature. Their baby, Madeline, was rushed off to intensive care. Matt kept up a brave face and posted the details on his blog, but had a bad feeling…
Storm Clouds On The Horizon
About 24 hours after the birth, nurses prepared Liz to visit her newborn premature baby in the Intensive Care Unit. She had been resting in bed, recovering from the emergency surgery, up until that point. She was a generally healthy woman, but when she stood up for the first time to walk after the C-Section, she announced the room that she felt dizzy and weak. Though logic would say otherwise, Matt immediately felt in his gut that something was wrong…
Out Of The Ordinary?
Liz actually ended up fainting, though luckily she passed out as she was lowering herself into a wheelchair. Matt felt frightened, but the nurses were dismissive of his fears and said that “It happens all the time” and he shouldn’t worry. But Matt just couldn’t shake the feeling that there was a major problem, and after a few minutes, the nurses rushed Matt out of the room while doctors and specialists swarmed around his beloved wife Liz.
A Living Nightmare
It turned out that the sinking feeling in Matt’s gut had been right all along. Liz’s fainting wasn’t normal – it turned out that she had a pulmonary embolism, which means that a blood clot lodged itself in her lungs, and often leads to death. In an interview, he said of the moment, “All of a sudden it hit me. She was going to die, today, here in this hospital. And she was never going to hold her baby.”
Matt’s worst fear came true when his wife was officially pronounced deceased, the day after she gave birth to their daughter, Madeline. Matt was completely overwhelmed by conflicting emotions – intense grief at the loss of the love of his life, who he’d been with since high school, and happiness – at the birth of his first child. Matt realized the game had changed – He was going to be a single father. He said, “Doing it alone had never occurred to me.”
A State Of Shock
It’s a totally unimaginable situation to most people. Losing your spouse and gaining a new member of the family – your first child – all in 27 hours is just something which can’t be comprehended. Although family and friends offered their support, Matt was at a loss with how to deal with the situation. Things quickly took a dark turn as he struggled to cope. In an interview, he said “he thought dying himself might be the only way through his pain.”
Holding It Together
However, Matt knew that getting lost in his grief and using an unhealthy crutch like alcohol to deal with the pain would only lead to more heartbreak for Madeline, who already was in the unfair position of losing her mother before she was even two days old. The last thing he wanted to do was leave his daughter parentless – “The thought of our child as an orphan turned my stomach, and I hated myself for even thinking something so selfish.”
Seeking An Outlet
Matt knew that he couldn’t keep his feelings bottled up inside forever. After a particularly tough interaction with a stranger, when a well-meaning woman asked “Where’s Mommy?”, Matt knew he needed a release for his grief. From Los Angeles, he posted to his hometown newspaper The Minnesota Tribune‘s parenting forum, saying: “I’m a proud new father … doing it on my own (my wife passed away the day after our baby was born). It’s been a tough two weeks.”
Alone No More
The administrators of the forum were deeply moved by Matt’s post, and contacted him privately. He agreed to do an interview with the newspaper. When he returned to his hometown for Liz’s memorial service, he saw rows and rows of newspapers at the airport, featuring him on the first page with the headline: “Without Liz, but not alone.” The story was a huge hit among readers, and all of the sudden, readers flooded to Matt’s personal blog.
Matt’s little blog, which he had started to keep family and friends updated about Liz’s pregnancy, suddenly blew up. At its peak, the blog was receiving more than 50,000 unique visitors a day. Matt was stunned and moved to see that his personal story touched the lives of so many people, even those who didn’t know him and Liz personally. Matt was comforted by kind words and condolences pouring in from strangers all over the world…but that’s not all that came.
The Kindness Of Strangers
Quickly, the tone of the correspondence Matt received from readers shifted from sympathetic to highly practical. Many mothers started writing to Matt, giving him helpful parenting advice. Many other people who’d lost spouses – both recently, and those who’d been widowed for years – also began reaching out to him. Finally, readers set up a separate donation blog and began sending him things that he said he “never would’ve known I’d need,” like tiny nail clippers and formula measuring dividers.
A New Journey
But the attention on Matt’s blog wasn’t a short lived phase. After he won the hearts of so many readers around the world, it was the confidence boost Matt needed to begin a new journey. He quit his job and decided to return to India – where had traveled with Liz before they were married – in order to write his autobiography. He took his nearly two year old daughter along for the ride, and started pumping out the pages.
Matt’s book covered what you’d expect – the horrifying moments of confusion and grief following his wife’s death, but it served more of a purpose than that. “Figuratively speaking, [the book] is my Taj Mahal to her,” he explained in a 2009 interview. “I’m doing what I can to bring that legacy back for her.” The book was a massive success, even just after its release – it was on the New York Times Bestseller List for more than one full year!
The Big Screen?
It wasn’t long before Matt’s book attracted the attention of some major Hollywood power players. He entered talks with Marta Kauffman, the creator of the TV show Friends about making a Lifetime TV movie from the book. However, things took an even better turn when A-List star approached Matt, interested in making his book into a big screen movie! According to the rumor mill, the two are still in negotiations so there’s no sign when production will actually begin.
Liz Logelin Foundation
But Matt, a modest midwestern born and bred boy, didn’t let all the fame and glamour of Tinseltown go to his head. He never forgot the tragedy that catapulted him to star status, and decided to start a foundation in honor of his late wife, appropriately called the Liz Logelin Foundation. The charity’s mission is to help all children who have lost a parent, and every year, the foundation has a star-studded gala which raises money for that cause.
Having one foundation to help children who lost a parent just wasn’t enough for Matt Logelin. He founded Camp Widow, a retreat designed for the surviving parent. The camp provides a small break from the pressures of daily life for those who’ve lost a husband or wife, and provides them a safe space to meet others in the same situation. Matt knows better than anyone how healing it can be to speak to someone going through the same grief.
Despite his massive contributions to the charity world, Matt still doesn’t rest. The man is super passionate about helping others who are going through the same things that he endured, so he often speaks to the media about the dangers that can befall post-partum women, and discusses what it’s like being a single father. He presented a speech at National Conference on Widowhood, and his essays have been featured on the radio show Voice of America’s Healing the Grieving Heart.
A Bright Future
Maddy looks just like her beautiful mommy – and she isn’t shy about asking whatever she wants to know about the mom she tragically never got to meet. According to her dad, she’s an inquisitive nine year old, who often questions him about what he and her mother used to do for fun, and is full of endless questions regarding her mom’s personality. With a loving dad like Matt by her side, the future is looking pretty good for Madeline Logelin.