By Joe Colquhoun
The dangers of reflections
In 2008, Matt’s wife had just given birth to a baby girl.
Due to unforeseen complications, his wife died an hour later. A blood clot the size of a golf ball was found in her leg. Matt was destroyed, what was supposed to be the happiest day of his life quickly turned to into a living nightmare.
He had no choice, he was entering fatherhood on his own. He could barely take care of himself, let alone a child. He felt lost and had no idea where to go next. So, he decided to write a blog.
He only ever intended it to be read by his family and friends. He wanted to make sure they knew him and his daughter were doing okay. He was buying baby formula from the supermarket, taking his daughter to the park and learning how to cook healthily. Basically doing the things Dad’s are meant to do.
Some months pass and Matt is easing into the role of being a father. Unexpectedly however, his blog began to get traction. Local news outlets picked up on his weekly entries. For a moment, people knew Matts story. He received heartwarming emails from strangers, had food and basic necessities delivered to his house, but like many instances of ‘fame’, the moment was fleeting. People lost interest and his story was buried. Or so he thought.
A decade later Matt was back on his feet. He’d moved across the US to live in Illinois, his daughter was approaching her 10th birthday and Matt was in the process of getting re-married.
One morning he woke up to a phone full of texts and missed calls from his friends and family.
“Hey, why are you and your first wife at the bottom of this newspaper article?”
Matt found the article in question. He scrolled to the very bottom of the sketchy website and found a tiny ad under suggestions. The words “wife died and the next day husband finds her secret..” was written underneath a picture of them both in hospital.
He was mortified.
Why had this awful time in his life resurfaced as some shitty clickbait ad? Why hadn’t they contacted him first? And who was behind all this?
Upon clicking the link, he was re-directed to a website filled with equally sketchy ads, all of which served no relevance to his story. He was lost, the texts and calls kept coming in but he had no answers.
Over the course of two days, 18 different websites had created around 20 different versions of the same ad. The only thing to have changed was the title, each one equally as weird and untrue as the next. Matt and his deceased wife were going viral, his story a hot commodity to websites dedicated to creating fake stories for clicks.
He sent out emails and made phone calls to every single website looking for answers. He heard nothing for a week, until early one morning he got a response.
To be continued.. maybe.