By Contributing writer Meggin Juraska
As a reader of Matt's blog for three years and a volunteer for the Liz Logelin Foundation, I knew Matt's story well. Or at least I thought I did. Then I read his book Two Kisses for Maddy and realized it is so much more than simply a rehash of his blogs. He writes about his 12 year relationship with Liz and how they built their life together. Matt draws you into their romance and you can't help but feel that it was like a fairy tale. Even when Liz struggled through her pregnancy, you could feel the joy and anticipation they felt as they were about to become parents.
The book, which was officially released on April 14th, tells Matt's story of love and loss. Just 27 hours after their daughter Madeline was born, his wife Liz died of a pulmonary embolism. Left with crushing grief and a premature baby, Matt poured his heart and mind out on his little maintained blog. His traffic started to increase as news of Liz's death spread and over time a community formed in his comments. These so called stranger friends lifted Matt's spirits, praised his and Maddy's accomplishments and eventually worked with him to begin the Liz Logelin Foundation, whose goal is to “financially assist widows and widowers with young families” as they “deal with the loss of their loved ones, and struggle to move forward.”
In Two Kisses for Maddy Matt opens up to his readers about Liz's death in a way he had not on his blog. It was difficult to read, not just because Matt describes it in such a raw, heartbreaking way, but because you can't help but feel like you are about to lose a friend. Throughout the book Matt's descriptions of Liz give the reader a feeling that you KNEW this woman, that she was someone you could have been friends with, someone you'd loved to have known. As I read about the two funerals for Liz, one in LA where they resided and the other in their hometown of Minneapolis, MN, I felt like I was part of the mourners. Matt's honest and open style of writing makes you feel like you're right there along side him and his family.
Just like she was the sunshine on Matt's darkest days, Madeline lights up the pages of Two Kisses for Maddy as well. Because of her, Matt says, he was able to move through the first year without Liz. He talks of late nights and long days learning to care for Maddy. Like all first time parents, he needed support. He found much of it from his blog readers. They gave encouragement and advice, and sent gifts of diapers, formula checks and, in one unfortunate case, the fixings of chicken soup. Blog readers sent a closet full of clothes for Maddy, but Matt enjoyed shopping for her almost as much as shopping for new music every Tuesday (music is a huge part of Matt's life and plays a large part in the book. I recommend downloading the songs mentioned for a hauntingly beautiful playlist to accompany the story.) He writes about choosing outfits that Liz would love instead of the tomboy looks he'd prefer to dress his beauty of a baby in. As each milestone of his first year with Maddy passes, Matt describes his joy in watching their child blossom without sidestepping the bittersweet feelings that Liz was missing every one.
Reading Matt's blog is not a prerequisite for enjoying Two Kisses for Maddy. This book is for anyone who has ever been in love, wished for love, or lost a love. There's hope and triumph in Matt's story, just as much as there is sadness and heartbreak. The story of this man, woman and child is one that any of us could picture ourselves in and is one that should inspire us to live every day with abandon.
Two Kisses for Maddy is available at Amazon.com and other major retailers. The authors will donate 7% of his royalties (7 was Liz's lucky number) from sales of the first edition of the book to the Liz Logelin Foundation. If you wish to make a contribution, please visit the foundation at www.thelizlogelinfoundation.org Matt Logelin's blog can be read at www.mattlogelin.com. It's very sad and raw but also hopeful and beautiful. I cried quite a bit but probably no more than when I shockingly discovered my name in the acknowledgements. Matt has inspired me for three years now and I am proud that our family has made an impact in his & Maddy's lives. I hope you guys will read it.