Rio and Rebecca Ferdinand

Now here’s a fact -Men are only half as likely to get grief counselling help as women are.

I only found that out after watching ‘Rio Ferdinand: being Mum and Dad – a moving account of loss’ . Funnily enough ( stupid expression , it is not funny at all ) , earlier in the day ,John had taken the same steps as Rio , up the stairs and into the offices of CBUK .It was how he we knew the programme was on ,John’s Counsellor had mentioned it to him . And I thank her for that .It was moving and brave and sad and relevant .

Of course his loss ,his wife Rebecca , mother to their 3 young children , is different ,but in many ways ,it is similar to ours .It was sudden ,and both Rebecca and Rosie were young and in their prime .It was cruel and traumatic

He too , took support from meeting up with a group of bereaved, youngish men whose partners had died a while before Rebecca ( I’m guessing they had met before ) . With them he could talk freely about his sadness. It reminded me of how emotionally safe I feel when I am with my bereaved friends .The ‘mind the gap’ moments are virtually non-existent , and they are the least judgemental bunch of people I have ever met .No one cares what ,if any , job you do , what your social life is like etc .Of course these subjects come up , but what matters is support, love, empathy , encouragement and honesty .Believe it or not ,we laugh a lot .In Rio’s group ,Dan made a great joke as they were going round the group telling Rio how their wives died “This is like the shittest game of Top Trumps ever,” . But then it got sadder ,since losing his wife, Dan has also lost the daughter he’s had with his new partner.

Dan’s new partner was also interviewed and she spoke not only of supporting Dan’s son ,but of when she thinks of her baby girl who died at Christmas ”It hurts , it really hurts, it physically hurts your heart”
She is so right . Grief hurts , it is definitely physical as well as mental and not many people ‘get’ that.

Anyway back to the programme , for me was the most moving part was a voicemail Rebecca left for her son Tate from hospital: “Love you loads and loads and loads, sleep in my bed if you want, do whatever you want, run the house … just be a good boy and use your best best best manners, all right?”

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