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Dear friends, let me tell you

by Tim Overdiek

MONDAY, March 1 – The weather is gorgeous this morning. In response to the sun on my face, I decide to send my friends an update on our doings and to break the somewhat uncomfortable silence. I realize that that I occasionally take antisocial advantage with my answering machine, and without a qualm; but, presumably, my friends don’t know that.  So, here goes:

Dear Friends,

Let me tell you how we are doing.  In a nutshell: the sun is beginning to shine, at least from time to time. The rays are faint, but still. Little by little, Sander, Eamonn and I are starting to crawl out from under the enormous shadow that was so cruelly cast over us at the end of October and that movement feels good. We’re not there yet, not by a long shot and I can’t say that everything’s fine. That’s certainly not the case. We miss Jennifer terribly and we still cannot understand why this happened. We will probably never understand why.

Yet we know that we have to move on and that we can do it. The three of us are unbelievably close. In a sense, this is a very precious period in our lives, to which I automatically add that I’d give anything not to have to be going through it. I wouldn’t wish this nightmare on my worst enemy. And that’s what it is – a bloody nightmare.

Now, four months later, we have picked up the thread of our lives. For us, at least, nothing will ever be the same.  We keep busy with school, with work, and with the day-to-day concerns. As of three weeks ago, we have also had the help of E, an American au pair who we got to know while we were living in Washington D.C.

This means that we have both more stability and more flexibility in our lives during these hectic and emotional times. We also have a weekly appointment with a psychologist and there are people at school the boys can call on. I’m fortunate in having a number of friends whose support I can rely on and who know where to find me if I want to be found.  

I know that many people think of us regularly and that gives me strength. I also realize that I haven’t always had the energy to pick up the phone or to respond to emails. When you’re deep in shit, you want to be alone and when everything’s going your way, you want to concentrate on the good things. Now, as we’re slowly but surely readying ourselves to reconnect with the world, we are aware that in the meantime many of you have gotten on with your own lives.

Thus, I wanted to send you this little note. We want to hear from you, even though we might not always respond immediately. We want to hear how things are with you and yours and all about those things that are part of everyday life.

On the other hand we would really rather avoid having to cross that awkward and painful barrier of: ‘I really want to know how things are with you and the boys, but I’m afraid to ask.’

Please talk to us about the ordinary things, what ‘s going on that makes your life pleasant or unbearable – that’s the way it goes, as I’ve discovered. Life does go on.

Our life does too. In fits and starts: now and then there’s a positive development and then you fall flat on your face, again.

Just wanted you to know.

Warm greetings,


Author Tim Overdiek is a journalist from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where he lives with his sons Sander and Eamonn.  His blog, Diary of a Widower, describes the first year after his wife, American born Jennifer, mother to two young boys, died at the age of 41. It was launched on November 2, 2012, exactly three years after the first entry and provides the almost daily diary entries by her husband.  Visit his website for more information: https://diaryofawidower.com