Dad Marks First Birthday With Son Since Wife Died With Homemade Nightclub
Losing a partner brings a heartbreak that for most is unimaginable. But when Joe Holmes lost his wife Katy to cancer, he had to find the strength to carry on and care for their son, Stanley.
Katy, 31, passed away in July 2019, just a few months after having been diagnosed with bowel cancer. Since then, it has just been Joe and Stanley.
And earlier this month, Joe, from Kent, marked his first birthday since his wife tragically died.
Usually, Joe would have enjoyed a night out with his family and friends, but despite the lockdown he wanted to do something special for his little boy and instead brought the nightclub to them, with Stanley - just three at the time - even manning the door.
Speaking to LADbible, Joe says: "He had the time of his life 'clubbing' and has asked to do it since, which we kind of did anyway sometimes at the weekends.
"We will just put the tunes on and dance around the living room."
You can watch their full 'night out' here:
Joe says that while it's the hardest thing he's ever had to do in his life, Stanley has been his rock this past year.
"In terms of coping with her death, it's been hard but Stanley has been amazing," the 34-year-old continues.
"Having him has helped me keep a level of normality and structure to life - a purpose."
And Joe says he has always been honest with him about what happened to his mum.
He explains: "The day after she died I sat him down on his bed to tell him and his first words to the news were, 'I'll look after you, Daddy.'
"We talk about her every day and always say goodnight to the photos of her above his bed.
"He really does understand. One of the things I was uncertain on was how much to tell him. I ended up telling him everything as I thought it was important for him to understand and not wonder if she was coming back.
"Telling him properly was the best thing I did as he fully understands."
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Katy worked for Kent Police and had been in the force for about 10 years before she died.
Since her death, Joe has marked a number of their milestones.
"Gradually, these things get better but the big days are always the worst," he says.
"Our wedding anniversary was three days before her funeral and I went to see her in her coffin which was obviously not how I wanted to spend it.
"Then her birthday in September was really painful as I just wanted to spoil her like I usually would.
"She was very special, but she didn't realise how special she was."
He adds: "It's made me realise how perfect life was before her death. It makes me wish there could be another chance to have those times back again.
"I'll never take anything for granted."
And now Joe wants to reach out to other men who are going through the same things as him, to offer them support and advice in coping with life without a partner.
He says: "I would really like to help other single dad's out there. I work full time and now look after Stan and the house, etc, and manage to juggle. So for any other dads out there, if they want to reach out to me, they can DM me on Instagram.
"Everyone has different support levels and strength, but you've gotta cry when you need to and smile when you need to."
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