MICHAEL ROSEN reveals the one lesson he's learned from life

It’s best to tackle one thing every day: MICHAEL ROSEN reveals the one lesson he’s learned from life

  • Beloved author Michael Rosen, 76, has written 140 books of poetry and prose 
  • In the March 2020, he had caught Covid – and was in a coma for 40 days
  • READ MORE: Children’s author Michael Rosen reveals how writing his new book helped him finally deal with grief of losing his son

Michael Rosen, 76, is the author of 140 books of poetry and prose, and is our former Children’s Laureate. In March 2020, he caught Covid and was in a coma for 40 days. He lives in London with second wife, Emma, and has four children and two stepdaughters aged 18 to 46. His son, Eddie, died age 18 in 1999 from meningococcal septicaemia.


When you’re in hospital they own you, but when you come home, you’re on your own. So I had to own my frailty and pretend I was stronger than I was. I had a tracheotomy that wasn’t healing and I was trying to walk. The vision in my left eye was impaired. My left ear was a dead loss, so I had to use a hearing aid.

My wife, Emma, said, ‘Let’s just sort out one thing at a time.’ She laid it out logically and calmly, and it cleared my mind to think about it that way. So now my mantra is: tackle one thing a day.

When I came out of hospital, I couldn’t remember things. I’d take a list to the supermarket and it became a joke. Emma would say: ‘What did you forget today?’ So I turned it around. I would go for cat food from the shop, and when I got it, I would congratulate myself.

Michael Rosen, 76, is the author of 140 books of poetry and prose, and is our former Children’s Laureate

Somebody said to me that death is hard to handle. But, actually, it’s grief that’s hard, not death. There’s an impulse in people to want to tidy it away. The hardest bit is that recovery process and making peace with death.

In my new book I write about what happened when my son, Eddie, died. I was doing a gig; I came home, Eddie was ill and went to bed, and then he was dead in the morning. You see, I’ve said it in one sentence. In fact, it was stretched over 24 hours, and then the weeks after, and to fully grasp the sense of loss, you need to give it space and weight.

Another thing that has saved me on many occasions is what I call ‘the doing cure’. After Eddie died, I went back to work and people were quietly helpful. They just said: ‘Here’s this task’, and then checked whether I was in a good state of mind to do it. There are simple things that gratify us and gratification is better than dwelling on being sad.

  • Michael Rosen is patron of the charity Long Covid Kids and his new book Getting Better is out now (Ebury Press, £16.99).

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