Loose Women has come under fire a lot lately, especially thanks to the controversial comments from one of the panelists Katie Price, but today viewers are outraged for a completely different reason.
Sara Payne, the mother of murdered 8-year-old Sarah Payne, came on the show today to talk about how she deals with the trauma of losing a child and to discuss her new book Letters to Sarah which was released yesterday.
Sarah Payne became a well known case across the nation, after she was abducted in a van and murdered in 2000. It took 17 days for the girl’s body to be found.
While Sara gave her emotional interview, Loose Women panelist Gloria Hunniford spoke up about her experience with a child’s death as her own daughter Caron Keating died in 2004 aged 41 after a seven year cancer battle.
Although she did point out that the situations are very different, she wanted to show Sara that in some way she understood what it’s like to lose a child, and how difficult it is to cope with the pain day to day.
But Loose Women viewers were outraged at what they say was Gloria’s attempt to put the spotlight on herself. One tweeted: “Why does Gloria have to make every story about her? It’s embarrassing! Why is she even on this programme?!”
Many others felt the same way, with one saying: “Why does Gloria make everything about her? No disrespect but you bring this up nearly everytime someone is on the show” and another commented: “I’m sorry Gloria I respect your pain but Sarah was 8, a child, lived a very short life and was taken in the most horrific way.”
Sara was talking about how well her other children have coped with the loss of Sarah, when Gloria interjected: “Children are very resilient though aren’t they, because when I lost my daughter, I mean it’s a different situation to you she died from cancer, but one minute the children would be saying ‘I’ve lost my mummy’ and the next minute they’re on the trampoline playing like there’s no tomorrow…”
Sara replied: “Absolutely. I think that’s something I’ve learnt in this whole 17 year journey is that everyone’s different, everyone grieves differently and we shouldn’t judge how anyone deals with anything really. Children, adults, it’s all about your own process.”
Not long after, Gloria interjected again with her own experience of grief saying: “What I found, and I’m honestly not undermining any form of loss or grief but I don’t think unless you’ve been through losing your child that you fully understand how deep that loss goes, because you know somebody said to me recently ‘do you think of Caren very often’, I went ‘are you mad I think of her hundreds of times every day’.”
She continued, “And also I was in such a black hole that I would find myself trying to crawl up the black hole but just like slipping back and in a way I couldn’t take my son’s grief on at that time and it took somebody to say to me in their instance that one of their children stopped and said ‘mum I’m your child as well’.
“And that really made me weep but it sharpened me up because I believe that loss of that kind could almost take you out and I had to make a positive effort to say I have to try and get back to what we deem normality.”
Even when Sara then managed to give her own take on dealing with grief, saying: “I fight every day not to be angry”, Gloria piped up again to talk about her own experience, which angered viewers.
Sara divorced from Sarah’s dad Michael after 18 years of marriage and he was found dead at his home in 2014.