Widowed Dad Raises 8 Kids Following 15 Rules Late Wife Left For Him

Inspiring Stories

A dying mother’s love list gives her grieving husband courage and her family values to live by.

What she left behind

Losing his wife Angie to cancer left a deep void in Ian Millthorpe. Not only was she his soulmate since their teens and wife of 25 years, but she was also the mother of their eight kids.

“I thought, how on earth can I cope?”

Ian Millthorpe

Yet just days before she passed, Angie had left Ian a list of 15 points to follow while raising them.

Her motherly tips include house rules (#1: “Must be in one hour before dark”) and reminders (#12: “Don’t have iron too hot for shirts”).

Her love lives on

Perhaps most important on Angie’s list is #7: “Keep going to Thornwick with the rest of the family”, where together they visit her favorite bench to lay flowers and reminisce. It’s a place Ian cherishes.

“We used to lay in that spot as teenagers looking over the bay, so it’s a perfect way to keep her involved.”

Although the pain of Angie’s loss still aches, Ian says that her memory drives him to be the best dad he can.

“I can never replace Angie – I don’t want to – but I’m determined to do everything that I can to make her proud of our family.” 

Ian Millthorpe

Angie would be proud. And the father is also an inspiration to his kids, like his daughter Jade.

“He’s been so great and supportive. It’s because of him that I want to train as a social worker once I leave school. I want to make a difference to somebody’s life,” she tells the Sun.

Honor the lost by living your best

Life post-Angie remains a struggle for Ian. His own health problems from working in the mines have taken their toll.

Through it all, he and his family all have a shared place to draw strength and courage from.

“I’m really proud. My children talk about Angie every day, what their Mam used to do, what she used to say.”

Ian Millthorpe

The loss of a loved one is painful and sometimes tests our will to keep going. Yet, as with Ian, healing can come by living how they’d want us to.

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