Matt and Liz Logelin were elated when they found out that Liz was expecting their first child – a girl. That euphoria was short lived, however, as an unexpected tragedy turned everything upside down. In the throes of grief, Matt Logelin could have never anticipated the series of events that would soon follow and change his life forever.
After an impromptu meeting at a gas station, a fairy-tale love story began. Sparks flew from that moment on, and the two were inseparable after that. Until it was time to go to college…
Enduring Long Distances
Liz was going to study in California while Matt chose to stay closer to home at the University of Minnesota. The pair endured a long-distance relationship. After graduating, Matt took a Master’s Degree in Chicago. He was then contemplating the prospect of pursuing a Ph.D. when he made another life-changing decision.
Matters of the Heart
After all those years apart, Matt couldn’t stand to be away from Liz any more. So in 2005, he packed up his belongings and moved halfway across the country to be with his love in L.A. From there, Liz and Matt traveled the world. Matt got down on one knee, and proposed to Liz in Nepal.
Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them
On August 13, 2005, Matt and Liz tied the knot. The newlyweds were excited to start the rest of their lives together and things seemed to be going great. Matt was a project manager at Yahoo! and Liz working as a financial executive at Disney. Yet there was more to come.
And Baby Makes Three
Two years later, the pair was elated when they discovered that Liz was pregnant with their first child. The expectant couple excitedly prepared to welcome their new arrival, but little did they know, an heart-wrenching turn of events was waiting just around the corner.
Launching a Blog
Their friends and family back in Minnesota couldn’t be there for every exciting step along the way, so the soon-to-be-parents started a pregnancy blog to keep their loved ones in the loop. One of Matt’s favorite photos of Liz was where the future mother is smiling pointing to her tummy. The excited parents had no idea, however, that soon, this picture would become part of an unexpected national stir.
Not the Easiest Pregnancy
Liz was happy, but her pregnancy was difficult. She had severe morning sickness and concerned doctors eventually ordered her to rest in bed for a few weeks. Matt continued to update the couple’s pregnancy blog but never could have expected how this would turn out.
Rushed to the Delivery Room
It was seven weeks before Liz’s due date and suddenly she was rushed to the delivery room. Her pregnancy was called high-risk, by the doctors. Finally, it was actually time for the baby to come out. However, the baby was nearly two months premature and Liz had to undergo an emergency C-section operation. On March 24, 2008, Mat and Liz Logelin’s lives changed forever.
A Brief Look
After a successful surgery, the pair welcomed daughter, Madeline (Maddy) Logelin, into the world weighing barely 3 lbs. 14 oz. The new parents were elated and Liz saw their beautiful baby girl briefly. However, because she was born premature, the hospital staff quickly took her to the neonatal intensive care unit. Meanwhile, Matt took to the blog to announce the birth: “Madeline is here!” he wrote to his family and friends.
Waiting to Hold the Little One
Liz couldn’t wait to hold her new daughter. However, doctors demanded that she needed more hours of bedrest. This was the moment they had been waiting for. Finally, the three of them would be able to have some much-needed bonding time. But then, tragedy struck.
A Terrifying Blur
Matt helped Liz carefully into the wheelchair when suddenly she whispered“‘I feel light-headed” and collapsed in his arms. Matt knew that something wasn’t right. Doctors and nurses rushed to her side and suddenly he was shown out of the room. Left alone, the new father was now fearing the worst.
27 Hours After Birth
“Suddenly there’s this ‘code blue,’ people rushing past me,” Matt recalled holding back tears. “All of a sudden it hit me,” he tearfully told The Guardian in 2011. “She was going to die, today, here in this hospital. And she was never going to hold her baby.” Only 27 hours after giving birth to Madeline, doctors had confirmed that a deadly blood clot had traveled to Liz’s lungs and caused a rare, fatal pulmonary embolism.
In just one day, Matt had gone from a proud new father to a heart-broken widower. He was so excited to fill the pregnancy blog with happy pictures, but instead, his next post was a heartbreaking one. Mere days before, Matt had written an elated birth announcement for Madelin. Now he now found himself typing a heart-wrenching obituary. “Five weeks ago … things were perfect,” he mournfully wrote in the blog entry entitled “Liz.” “On that same day, my world fell apart.”
A Bittersweet Realization
In the blink of an eye Matt’s world was shattered. The 30-year-old simultaneously found himself to be a grief-stricken widower and a new father. Left navigating the confusing rollercoaster of emotions he was overcome with, he had to cope with being a father on his own whilst mourning his soul mate.
After the funeral, the new father rushed to the hospital still in his suit to be with hi daughter. Coping with the sad reality, Maddy was released from the hospital and the new father could take her home where he wished so much that his wife would be waiting. “When I finally got to bring Madeline home for the first time, I felt the house alive again.”
The first few weeks after Liz died were truly impossible. He couldn’t bring himself to remove any reminders of her or his wedding ring. When he went out with Madeline, he found himself comforting strangers who were saddened by his response to where the baby’s mother was. “She passed away the day after the baby was born,” he’d say.
Coping with Reality
“The hardest thing about being by myself after Liz died was just not having her around me, when she wasn’t here to share in the joys of having our brand new daughter with us.” Still struck by grief, Matt knew he had to do his best to raise Maddy and make his wife proud. He started posting to an online parenting forum hosted by his hometown newspaper, The Minnesota Star Tribune. But that wasn’t all.
Extreme Highs and Lows
He also reopened his and Liz’s pregnancy blog into a personal parenting blog and found some solace in the writing process. The single father poured his heart out and soon something unexpected happened. His honest writing helped Matt find some relief. As a single parent and widower, he also sought out the support of other parents to related to and who could provide support during the intensely difficult time.
A Transformative Process
“I have great memories of Liz and I can tell her all about these things.” But Maddy wasn’t the only one who would see it. “Some minutes, I am extremely happy and there are other minutes when I am so down I don’t know what to do. That’s what I try to convey through the blog,” he has said. Before long, the blog transformed again into something that would have lasting effects on him and his baby.
An Overwhelming Response
Matt thought the blog, which was now called “Matt, Liz and Madeline: Life and Death, All in a 27-Hour Period,” would be a meaningful virtual scrapbook for Madeline when she grew up. Yet it became an unexpected Internet phenomenon. Matt was receiving useful advice. He had also created a place for other parents in similar situations to related to one another. In addition, the forum was attracting tens of thousands of page views a day and about 1 million to 1.5 million visitors per month.
Easing the Pain
The blog had produced something inspiring and incredible out of tragedy. It served as a therapeutic outlet and also a place where the single father could get advice from others. The online community also got together for something truly heartfelt. Complete strangers were so touched by his story that they started to send in a variety of items to help ease the pressure of the situation and help the single dad focus on raising his child and dealing with his grief.
Matt received toys, diaper bags, formula dividers and even hair clips after he wrote of his fear of not dressing Maddy in the way Liz would have wanted. They soon received so many gifts. “I never imagined that people would care about us the way they do,” he said. With the help of some of his regular readers, Matt eventually set up a charity organization in Liz’s name and did something incredible with it.
The Liz Logelin Foundation
Run by volunteers, the Liz Logelin Foundation organized fundraising events like 5-K walks and runs in her memory. One event raised $4,400 that was intended to go to Matt and Maddy. However, Matt envisioned another way to honor his wife’s memory. “Matt asked me if it was OK if he gave away all the money that had been raised for him and Madeline to the widows and widowers he had met through his blog,” recalled the foundation’s co-executive, Rachel Engebretson. “They didn’t have the same network of support and he wanted to help them.”
A Love Letter
As the time passed, Matt Logelin was struck how much his daughter Madeline resembled his late wife. He realized that his blogging had not only been vital for his survival but held a greater purpose. “In many ways, it’s a love letter to Madeline and to Liz,” he said. “Liz will never read it, of course, I want Madeline to know that her dad didn’t just curl up in a ball and start drinking heavily. I want her to know I was out there, doing as much as I could for her, and trying to make her as happy as I could.” He didn’t intend to keep the blog active forever….
The Year Milestone
Matt was blown away by the response to his blog and all of the opportunities that it presented. Matt and Maddie were now also heavily invested in helping others in similar positions. But the two would soon start on a new path that would again change things in a big way.
Going Full Circle
In 2009, Matt decided to take leave from his job to pursue something unforgettable. With Maddy by his side, the two traveled to India where Matt wanted to take a couple of months to write a memoir. Matt and Liz had traveled there a year after their wedding so he wanted to do it with his daughter. Their two months there gave him the time and space to write his memoir Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love. The book became an instant New York Times bestseller, and there was more good fortune in store.
Another Chance at Love
The same year that Matt’s book about his first year as a widower and single dad was published, it seemed that love was in the air again for Matt. He started dating Brooke Gullikson, who volunteered with the Liz Logelin Foundation. The two had met the previous year at one of the organization’s annual fundraiser runs. Brooke said she knew nearly instantly that Matt was the one. Finally, things seemed to be looking up for the widower.
The Word Got Out
When Brooke moved from Minnesota to Los Angeles to be with Matt and Maddy, he felt the need to post an explanation on his blog. Underlining that he hadn’t replaced Liz, he wrote: “But even in my darkest … moments there has been happiness and with Brooke now in our lives, there’s even more happiness.” While the couple had initially wanted to keep a low profile regarding their relationship, the word soon got out. However, not everyone was as enthusiastic. While most of Matt’s blog readers were supportive, others were more critical and accused him of having “swept Liz under the carpet.”
Going Their Separate Ways
Brook conducted an interview with Parenting.com in which she opened up about her thoughts on being a “replacement mom.” By the summer of 2013, things between Matt and Brooke fizzled. Matt then took to Facebook to confirm in a now-deleted post that the two had gone their separate ways. Although thing didn’t work out with Brooke, life still had more surprises for Matt and love wouldn’t be lost on him.
A New Romance?
After the break up with Brooke, Matt took some time alone. However, rumors began to swirl about him dating Lizzie Molyneux, a writer for the animated series Bob’s Burgers. The rumors seemed to be confirmed when the two appeared together at a benefit comedy show for The Liz Logelin Foundation in the fall of 2016. Nonetheless, inquisitive fans discovered something wonderful.
A Secret Ceremony
Matt Logelin and Lizzie Molyneux had largely kept information about their relationship under wraps to protect their privacy. However, fans discovered a wedding website for Matt Logelin and Lizzie Molyneux. The pair had secretly wed in Palm Springs, California in February 2018. And while Matt Logelin might prefer to be discreet on his private life these days, his chronicles about Maddy have caught the eye of one particular A-lister.
Back in 2012, the Lifetime network considered making a screen adaptation of Matt Logelin’s book The Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love. The plans to have writer Marta Kauffman at the forefront of the TV movie project, however, didn’t materialize.
Word started to circulate that Channing Tatum was going to take on a bigger-budget Hollywood film adaptation of the book. The popular actoris said to serve as executive producer and might even start in the pending father-daughter drama. So where does it all leave Matt and Maddy?
The Long Process
Although Matt has experienced more than his fair share of pain, the unexpected path that life has taken him on certainly provided an meaningful and humbling experience. He continues today, as a guest speaker at multiple grief and widowhood summits and as a guest-columnist for Glamour magazine. And how is Maddy doing?
Maddy Logelin turned 10 years old on March 24, 2018. That date also marked 10 years since the tragic passing of her mother, Liz. In spite of the tragic circumstances of her past, her father and extended family have done everything to surround her with love and happiness.
Moving Forward Without Forgetting
Along with asking her father about what her parents used to do for fun together, there was one question that really choked Matt up. “Daddy, did you hold my mommy’s hand when she died?” she innocently asked one day. Matt said he did his best to explain things to his young daughter, “but what I said will never take away what happened that day.” Looking back on the exchange, Matt revealed that Maddy knew what he needed to hear and then said: “Daddy, I love you.” To which he returned: “I love you too, Maddy.”