Matt Accurso knows all too well what it’s like to live with grief. In April 2019, his wife of 37 years, Lauren, ᴅɪᴇᴅ in childbirth while giving birth to their fourth child, a baby boy who followed his mom at 18 days old. At the time, Accurso’s daughters, Ali, Naomi, and Layne, were 8, 5, and 2, respectively.
Matt and Lauren fell in love while still in high school and have been inseparable ever since. “She was my first love. My first everything…” says the father of 3 girls today.
“After her ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ, I felt angry with everyone and everything. Grief had overwhelmed me. I was thinking that my wife, the most loyal and good person in the world, had ᴅɪᴇᴅ while free criminals were alive,” he explains, adding, “Experiencing ʟᴏss and ᴛʀᴀᴜᴍᴀ can make you hard. It can build a callous around you. You begin to wallow in self-pity. You think, “No one has been through what I’ve been through.”
But the father of three quickly realized that his “resentment and bitterness” weren’t just affecting him. It was ʜᴜʀᴛɪɴɢ his children, who needed him more than ever. Naomi was having ᴛᴇʀʀɪʙʟᴇ nightmares. She was worried that her dad was going to ᴅɪᴇ, too.
Accurso said he began leaning into his faith for strength, just as Lauren would have. “You can allow yourself to be dragged into deeper darkness, or you can decide to be a vessel for good and a vessel for hope,” Accurso said. “You have a choice.”
It took a year before he was able to stand on his own two feet and adapt to the demands of being a single parent. Until the fateful event, he was just a dad having fun with his girls when he got home from work, without caring about the havoc they created or the rest of the household responsibilities. His wife took care of everything!
Ever since he ʟᴏsᴛ her, he has been standing by his daughters like a mother and father together, making sure they don’t miss anything. “At first, it was overwhelming, but little by little, things got easier. Not everything is always perfect, and I’m not perfect either. The important thing, however, is that we are all together and support each other, like a family.”