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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 March 2012
You'll know what this book is about from the synopsis and other reviews. People talk of avoiding difficult subject matter. I urge you, whatever your circumstances, to read this book. I bought it this morning and read it in one straight sitting. Altough it details loss, it's filled with love, life, compassion, honesty and above all, self belief and hope. Mr Humphries writes without bitterness and anger about the most profound loss he is ever likely to experience. In talking about the death of his wife, the circumstances, practicalities and life thereafter, Mr Humphries has painted a memorable picture of a vibrant, loving and wonderful lady. What greater tribute could there be? Although he talks the reader through many of the details necessarily associated with sudden death, he does so with honesty and even humour. His wife will be proud of this work. His children will later have an insight into their mother and the wonderful, much loved and vibrant individual they lost. Mr Humphries helps everyone to understand why we should never avoid whatever words are needed to provide some small comfort. A bereaved person will remember and reflect for a long time afterwards. Obviously not an easy read, but an emotionally positive and ultimately uplifting experience because of the feeling that he is dealing with his loss and life thereafter in such a positive way. Thank you Mr Humphries for a memorable and thought provoking work.
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on 26 March 2012
This is indeed unsentimental, unself-pitying, practical and very stiff-upper lip. But also heartwrenching and heartwarming all at the same time.
Knowing Darren, and having met him and his lovely children, I knew it was going to be hard to read about his wife's death and the devastation it caused for them. But in a way I knew how it turned out in the end - I just had only a hazy idea of how they got there.
Well now I know - and I have have a huge amount of respect and admiration for Darren and how he dealt with it all. He sees himself as just an ordinary person getting on with things - well its situations like this that show the strength and quality that is hidden in many 'ordinary' people and that comes out is extra-ordinary situations. He has taken a crushing situation, dealt with all the twists and turns it brought him with grace and humour, and come out sadder but stronger and with the family in more or less one piece.
This book needs to be read. Not just for Darren's story, but for the way it speaks for those less eloquent. There are many people who have and will go through broadly the same experience, and who will need things to be said that they will be totally unable to express for themselves. There will be people who are trying to help others is this situations. If this book can help them make sense of what is going on, deal with the circumstances, or deal with their own emotions, it was more than worth it.
I humbly thank Darren for being so willing to expose himself in this way. I will now go and wipe away a few more tears...
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on 4 April 2012
It took me a while to write this review, as I had to take a few days to truly process what I had read.

It is not very often I give a book a 5 star review, but if just once in my lifetime I was able to give a book 10 stars, I would award it to this book without question.

This is not a story of sadness and pain, but rather a beautiful tribute to his wife, who I wish I could have known.

I have the utmost respect for Darren Humphries; not just for being brave enough to publish a story so close to his heart for the world to see, but for the way he dealt with the situation he was in. The death of a loved one is something we all have to go through, unfortunately, but I cannot put into words the admiration I have for Darren, for going through what he did and coming out the other side; something many of us would not have been able to do.

It is indeed unsentimental, but at the same time absolutely full of emotion and told in such a raw and honest way that you really connect with it. After reading this, it is very clear just how in love Darren is with his wife and how much he cares for his children, who really are lucky to have him. He has taken a subject so utterly destroying and made it uplifting and informative; while there were parts that made me cry, there were also parts that made me smile and even laugh.

The subject may put you off, but I urge you to read this book. I promise you will not forget it. It is beautifully written and utterly thought-provoking. Darren is truly inspirational.
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on 1 April 2012
It has taken me a while to write this review.

This is a courageous publication of an account of a personal tragedy. It exposes the fear of death and a reluctance to talk about it. The notes of sympathy particularly touched me as until they start coming through your own letter box it is hard to understand what they mean.

Darren has managed to document an awful time in his life in a raw and honest way. It must have taken guts to press the publish button on Amazon. I am extremely grateful to him for sharing this with us.

This was a tough read for me but I am glad I had the chance to read it and sad that I never had the chance to meet maite.
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on 29 March 2012
On the face of it, i guess this is an unusual choice of a read for many people. The subject matter of coping with the unexpected death of your wife would not normally appear in a best sellers list. However this is one of the most thought provoking books I have read in a very long while.

How the author managed to record so rationally his thoughts at a time of tremendous grief I do not know but it has made me reflect on the importance of ensuring those close to me who I love are made of aware of this regualrly.

I would recommend this book to all
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on 26 June 2012
I downloaded this book onto my kindle as it came up as a freebie and was kind of relevant in some way to my own situation... it was quite a poignant read for me as my husband is currently terminally ill and i found this book really helpful. The author writes so honestly and without too much emotion and i fully understood where he was coming from with this, you do form a certain detachment in order to cope with the death or pending death of a loved one... and i related to many of the 'thoughts' and feelings he had that we rarely find expressed by people as they may seem inappropriate or unusual at such a time ... the mind is a strange thing with its many and varied coping mechanisms.

I though it a well written and courageous story ...

I recommend this its a great read
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on 3 April 2012
I've been struggling over reviewing this book for days. Simply because I don't think I have the words to do it the justice it deserves.

This is exactly the kind of book I would normally avoid reading. I am one of these types that likes to try to pretend to herself that by avoiding reading about issues like these means that I will never have to deal with it. Rediculous of course.

A few years ago my mother tried to sit me down and tell me in a practical way where I could find everything (insurance documents etc) in the house were anything to happen to her or my dad. I had a childish reaction to it and refused to have the conversation. Like if I could avoid talking about it then it wouldn't happen. After reading Darren's book though I have a better understanding about the importance of this stuff and have spoken to my mother about us having that important discussion soon. I want to thank Darren for having the courage to write this book and for giving me the courage to think about sorting this stuff out with my parents.
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on 29 March 2012
When a writer of fantasy/Sci-fi shares his thoughts and emotions of his real life for a year, after his wife died so unexpectedly, in the form of a diary, it was a privilege to read it.
It was informative and helpful, dealing with the coronor, funeral services, bank, building society and financial problems caused by sudden death as he said.
It was also a beautiful tribute to his wife.
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on 1 April 2012
When reading the diary of a widower in his mid-40s (his late wife having been even younger), you probably don't expect to laugh. But this diary does have plenty of humour. Not for the sake of raising a gratuitous laugh, it would seem, but for the sake of just plodding on with life, in spite of the loss sustained by Darren and his two young children.

Throughout this diary, Darren expertly guides us through the aftermath of the sudden loss of a spouse, from the sheer horrors of shock and loneliness, to observations on the differences between 'British' and 'Latin' responses to death, to the mundane practicalities of picking up the pieces following a tragedy.

It's the practicalities that got to me the most. I mean, HOW does one go about accessing the bank accounts of a deceased young woman who left no will? WHERE does one arrange a funeral, and HOW is it paid for? WILL life go on as normal for an understanding 8-year old boy, and a non-understanding baby girl? In writing - and sharing - this diary, Darren explains (and battles with) these realities and procedures.

This diary is NOT a weepie. It's fundamentally sad, for sure, but Darren's observations and struggles are stark and realistic, rather than schmaltzy and emotional.

A must-read for all, especially those of us who feel as though were are a long way from a 'normal', old-age death.

Now if you excuse me, I'm off to call a life insurance broker...
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on 30 March 2012
I have read this book in a time of bereavement for my family (not anything like Darrens situation, but one of loss all the same) and I have found it probably one of the most uplifting and thought provoking books I have ever read. Yes, it is heart wrenching in places, requiring lots of tissues and the occasional break from reading. But it is so much more than a story of grief and tragedy. It is an inspiring story of love and about how to move on should the unthinkable happen.

Darren is an inspiration and Tony and Sarah Jane are very lucky to have him as their Dad.

I hope that this book does exactly as Darren intends and makes people think about the future, it certainly has done that for me.
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