In this blog Joey Essex writes about
how he wishes he'd had support when his mum 'took her life'

A few years ago, I couldn’t even say the word ‘Mum’ let alone talk about her. My way of dealing with it was to never talk about it, to hold it in.

My Dad told me ‘Mum’s gone’ and I didn’t understand. I didn’t know if it was true or not, whether to believe it.  I wanted to look for her - I was really confused - I didn’t know if she was going to come back. It was only later that I found out that my mum had taken her own life. 

I was ten years old. I suffered to be honest and it was hard for me. Everyone at my primary school was warned about what had happened, but I wasn’t told the truth about it. People looked at me differently and I didn’t know why, like ‘Something’s happened to him’ which was pretty weird. I went into secondary school just not really knowing. 

I couldn’t concentrate at school and it affected my learning. I just felt that anyone who spoke to me about it, whether they were adults or younger people of my own age, couldn’t help me. No one was going to bring her back. Obviously, my Dad was always there for me and he still is now, but there was no other support there for me. If there had been a charity like Child Bereavement UK at the time that would have helped so much.  

A few years ago, I couldn’t even say the word ‘Mum’ let alone talk about her. My way of dealing with it was to never talk about it, to hold it in. Meeting some of the young people supported by Child Bereavement UK made a massive difference to me. I was really impressed with how they were able to talk about what had happened to them and how they coped - some of them were the same age I was when my Mum passed away. It’s hard to explain but you feel like there’s a bond you have because we’d all been in the same position. It opened my eyes to how much having support and talking can help. It put me in a place where I can now talk about my Mum and what happened to me. It’s made me realise I’m not alone anymore.

Losing my Mum like that at such a young age has made me tough in so many ways. It was so hard for me back then and growing up without my Mum. I think about her every single day and it feels like there’s something missing and I’ll always know that. But I pushed myself to believe everything was going to be OK. It’s made me the person I am today and I’m stronger for it. 

 

 Joey Essex, Patron of Child Bereavement UK
Photo Credit: Andrew Baker