Losing a loved one is possibly the most painful thing any of us can experience.
But when a young child loses their mother it’s the worst kind of grief.
Jeff Brazier, now a grief counsellor who has written a book about loss, has opened up about how his sons Bobby and Freddie dealt with the death of their mother, reality star Jade Goody.
The Big Brother legendary died of cervical cancer in 2009 when Freddie was just five and Bobby was seven.
The boys found it incredibly hard to deal with the loss of their mother and lashed out at their dad because of the pain they were gong through.
“The worst possible thing I’ve heard from both boys would be: ‘I wish it was you that was dead and not Mum.’” Jeff told The Sun.
“My expectation was always that they’d take things out on me but I didn’t know to what extent.
“I didn’t know as they grew older, what would be possible to come out of their mouths.”
But having studied the way people deal with the loss of someone, he now fully understands why his boys took their anger out on him over the years.
“Grief generates the worst possible feelings, it really clouds your judgement,” he explained.
“The words they come out with, they’re not always in control of, and they’re just saying them because what they’re actually trying to say is ‘Dad, help me’.
“I know I shouldn’t be just hearing the words, I should be diving out of the way of them and recognising where they come from — and know there is a great need for me to look after that feeling of anger.”
Jeff also explained that in the years that followed their mother’s untimely death, the boys struggled at school – and even now.
In fact, Jeff has moved his family back to Essex because Bobby had had a bad time of bullying at his school in Brighton. Now he has returned to his old private school.
Jeff also revealed that Freddie was diagnosed with ADHD which meant he too found it hard to fit in at his private school and was at one point threatened with exclusion.
But now Jeff says they are all in a good place and the boys are growing in to admirable young men and live happy, normal lives.
“They can put music on, the computer on, YouTube on — they’re both obsessed with YouTube — and it’s their own private space,” he said of a man cave they have in the garden.
“After all, they are young men now. Bobby is as tall as me and wears all of my clothes, which is OK as I wear all of his too!
“Bobby wants to go into entertainment when he grows up and he keeps mentioning presenting while Freddie loves people, loves animals — so whether that makes him a therapist, a vet, I’m not sure.”
The Grief Survival Guide: How to Navigate Loss and All That Comes With It is published on June 4.