The Healing Hands of Strangers
For Logelin, the outpouring he received from strangers online inspired him to do the same in return.
"From the moment I started writing online, people sent clothes for Madeline, money, gift certificates, even beer," Logelin says. "But there are so many people who have it worse off than me. I realized we needed to get these people help."
The Liz Logelin Foundation is the result of that community of people who rallied around Logelin and his newborn daughter. "I wanted to do something with the money and gifts we were getting, because I was going back to work and didn't need the extra help," Logelin says. "In September, I jokingly said we should start a nonprofit. By January, we filled out the official paperwork."
The nonprofit foundation's mission is to ease the financial burden faced by widows and widowers with dependent children. While the Liz Logelin Foundation will help both men and women, Logelin says the group recognizes that the majority of people who are affected by the death of a partner or spouse are women.
"There are a lot of women who are either underemployed or they're stay-at-home moms, and that was the plan for their families," Matt says. "When their partner or spouse died, they lost their insurance, income, everything. Plus, they had to change their world view completely."
Potential recipients are invited to apply online, provided they meet the list of qualifications. The amount of support given to recipients will be determined by the foundation's board of trustees, and eligibility is for a period of up to one year following the death of the partner or spouse.
In October, Logelin will live in India for almost two months in order to write his first book, Adventures with Maddy: A Memoir of Love, Loss and the Extraordinary Community That Healed Us. The book will chronicle his experience online and offer advice in dealing with grief and loss. Logelin says he'll have a nanny with him to help care for Madeline during his time abroad—a woman who was a reader of his blog and became a trusted friend. Watching his home during that time is another blog reader-turned-confidante. Logelin is quick to point out that he trusts his readers "implicitly" and says his life could not have turned out as it has without these strangers by his side.
"I'm a normal guy trying to get through a terrible situation," he says. "I get through it with the help of a lot of people I didn't know before. Now that I know there are other people in that kind of need, I have to help them. That's all that matters to me now."
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