'You're not alone'

Publication Date26 August 2021
Publication titleBirmingham Mail (England)
Aaron Cartwright's life was turned upside down when partner Helen died suddenly from a heart attack, aged just 35, leaving behind three children.

Helen had been a full-time mum to Micheala, 15, Charlie, 12, and Jordan, nine, leaving Aaron to give up his job as a mechanic to take on the roles of mum and dad.

Earlier this month, the Birmingham Mail featured the story of Ryan Mahon who found himself a single dad to two little girls, aged just three and one, during the Covid lockdowns after his wife died from breast cancer.

When Aaron read Ryan's story, he wanted to share his experiences to give others hope

So-called 'If you need give me a call',

while grieving.

they weren't when I called. through it Aaron

"The hardest thing I've ever had to deal with was telling my son and two stepdaughters that their mum was never coming back," said Aaron, from Birmingham, who was 31 at the time.

"My advice to others would be not to be afraid to ask for help, that's one thing I didn't really do. I thought I could do it all myself."

Helen's death was particularly heartbreaking for Aaron as the couple had argued the night before.

"It was a Tuesday night and I was going to spend a couple of hours with my pals," he recalled.

"We had a bit of an argument over the phone and, when I got back late, she was already in bed. We had a quick chat on Wednesday morning before I went to work and she took the kids to school.

"Then at around 10.15am, I got a call saying paramedics were at our house

and to get back quickly. I was back in less than five minutes and I found her lying in the hallway with the paramedics. She'd been found at the bottom of

the stairs by a neighbour as the front door was partially open."

After asking his sister to help with the kids, Aaron raced to the hospital, but upon arrival he was ushered into a room and told that Helen had died.

"I can't put into words how I felt," he said, "it was just shock, thinking is this real?

"They don't know why it happened. My sister got the kids out of school and brought them to the hospital. I was sitting on the floor crying. My sister said: 'You've got to tell the kids'.

"When I did, my son picked up a chair and threw it across the room, saying: 'I want my mum.'" Helen died on May 5, 2010 from coronary artery thrombosis, a blood clot that prevents the blood supply from reaching the heart.

Social services and police visited Aaron

and suggested the children were best off returning straight to school, but he...

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