When Richard Johnson’s partner ran out, leaving him to bring up their one month old daughter, Persephone, alone, he could not have imagined the struggle he was about to face. Scared and daunted about what was to come, he turned to the internet, and social media in particular, to help him through the early stages of bringing up children. After searching around various self-help pages online, he stumbled upon a Facebook page called Life of Dad. This page turned out to be a fantastic resource for Richard, and earlier this month, he wrote a post on Life of Dad’s Facebook wall to thank them.
This message has subsequently been like and shared tens of thousands of times in just a few days. Richard’s story resonated with many other single fathers struggling to bring up their children alone. One person commented: “Not only do you sound like a great father, but also a compassionate person. It probably hasn’t been easy for you, but I think you deserve extra props for speaking like a true father & man on behalf of your daughter’s situation/relationship with her mother.”
Shortly after the story went viral, Richard spoke to Yahoo Parenting, telling them:
“At first, when I was alone, I was so depressed that I didn’t want to see a bunch of happy couples with their kids. But as I came out of that, I was checking Life of Dad and saw there were other single dads out there. There’s such a terrible stereotype of deadbeat dads, but I know that’s not always the case. Sometimes people are dealt a terrible hand, and it’s inspirational to read their stories.”
Recently, Richard has moved in with a friend, who is also a single parent, and the two of them share the duties between them. “We are each other’s rocks,” he says. “I watch her son when she is at work, and she helps me out.” The relationship is, Richard insists, purely platonic.
“I look forward to every day because it’s so incredible to see her. She smiles when I look at her. She’s my best friend and my little shadow. I talk to her about everything – I know she doesn’t completely understand what I’m saying, but one day she will. I take a lot of pictures and write to her every day, so one day she can look back and form her own opinions about what happened and hopefully she won’t have any anger. People on Facebook say she’s lucky, but I’m the lucky one to have her.”
Bravo, Richard, and good luck!