The first time I visited Matt Logelin’s blog, which is called Matt, Liz and Madeline, I read his post about changing his baby daughter’s diaper on the towel dispenser in a men’s room. Told in Matt’s signature broken verse-meets-instant message style, the story was comical and unfiltered, and its impact was immediate. Matt hadn’t set out to be a writer (at the time he was a project manager for Yahoo!), but the blog had given him an outlet for his poetic musings and obsessive photo taking. More than that, it served as a diary in which he recounted his fledgling fatherhood and revealed what life had been like before Maddy’s birth: how he had courted his wife, how they traveled to Nepal and Machu Picchu, how excited they were about expecting their first child. It was important to Matt to document everything because Maddy would know her mother only through her father’s words. Matt’s 30-year-old wife, Liz, had died 27 hours after she gave birth to their daughter. The cause was a pulmonary embolism that had nothing to do with childbirth and everything to do with the precarious and at times horrendously unfair nature of life.
Matt’s blog now attracts up to 40,000 visitors a day. Why are so many of us invested in a guy we don’t know, who loves thrift store duds, Amoeba Music, and dropping F-bombs? Matt’s story proves that we can rise to the occasion even when the worst possible thing happens and we think we can’t. Matt could have been forgiven had he retreated into grief, but instead he reached out. His support group of family and friends has grown to include an international audience; the virtual community he’s created provides a source of strength for others who have experienced loss. Matt left his job when he launched a foundation named after his wife that distributes money to young widows and widowers in need. His greatest single source of strength remains the three-year-old whose blond locks and round blue eyes are a constant reminder of her mother.
Matt has a memoir coming out this month called Two Kisses for Maddy, and in the April issue he writes with candor about how he became, most unexpectedly, a spokesman for young widowers. He works daily to rectify the “imperfect start,” as he puts it, of Maddy’s life. When I met him recently, he told me, “I wake up every morning and think, ‘How can I make her life great today?’ ” Read his blog and you’ll have no doubt he’s doing just that.
Illustration by Leif Parsons