If you buy one book this year, let it be
In the nicest possible way, I wish with all of my being that I’d never heard of Benjamin Brooks-Dutton.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he’s a great bloke and since he works in PR, I guess there’s a chance our paths might have crossed somehow, somewhere, sometime anyway.
But not like this.
I wish I’d never heard of the guy.
I wish I’d never learnt how his world turned upside down one November day in 2012.
And I wish I didn’t want to meet his wife Desreen just from reading this book.
Because I think she’s amazing – as a woman, wife and mother.
Because I think we’d get on really well.
Because, the reality is, our paths are sadly never going to cross.
After the most perfect family day in November 2012, as the couple walked along a pavement with their 2 year old son Jackson in his pushchair, Desreen was knocked down and killed by an out-of-control-car. And in that moment Ben became a widower and sole parent at the age of 33, only one year after the couple had married. Who could foresee that the same vicar who had happily married Ben and “Dessie” would be presiding over the funeral of a beautiful woman, gone too soon just one year later?
In an attempt to cope with his grief, Ben set up his lifeasawidower blog which has, to date, received over a million hits.
He’s now written It’s Not Raining, Daddy, It’s Happy – which tells how he and Jackson have coped over the last year.
I started reading the book to support Ben and what he’s trying to achieve. The irony? It’s ended up supporting ME.
For a book that’s largely about grief, it’s a powerful and compelling read, but perhaps what’s surprised me most is how life affirming it is. It’s an amazing story of love – between Ben, Desreen and Jackson and would be hugely helpful to anyone experiencing grief of their own.
But on top of that, it’s celebration of LIFE.
Ben’s eulogy at Desreen’s funeral is included in it’s entirety and serves to show what an amazing woman she was, and how we can all learn from her. She totally embraced life with open arms. If anyone lived life to the max, she did.
The reality is, NONE of us know how long we’ll be here and this book is a brilliantly written reminder that life is such a fragile gift and we need to LIVE IT.
If there’s one book you NEED to read this year, it’s this one.
For Ben. For Desreen. For Jackson. For YOU.