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Supporting Children Through Grief | Jeff Brazier on Happy Mum Happy Baby: The Podcast

Along the journey of parenthood, challenges come in many forms. But navigating the grief and loss of a child’s parent is a heartbreak no mum or dad ever wishes for their little ones.

This year on Happy Mum Happy Baby, we revisited some of our much-loved episodes from previous seasons. Back in 2019, Giovanna Fletcher sat down with Jeff Brazier, where he shared his experiences of fatherhood and the years following the passing of Jade Goody, the mother of his sons Bobby & Freddie.

As parents, all we want is to tell our children everything is going to be fine, but when Jade’s cancer diagnosis was terminal, she was faced with the unimaginable task of telling her young sons she would be leaving for heaven. In our episode, Jeff shares “It defies every instinct that we have in parenting. It’s disgraceful that she had to do that. Not disgraceful because there was another way – There wasn’t.  [Telling the kids] was absolutely the right thing to do because it meant that they could start processing.”

Jeff recognises the strength and selflessness it took in Jade’s honesty of having that difficult conversation, ensuring that her sons could begin their journey of understanding and healing. 

Jeff describes the day of finding out about Jade’s passing, when he and the boys were away, and how the next steps of telling his boys and supporting them through this loss was crucial. He shares “I had a real responsibility and needed to make sure that it ran seamlessly. That it made sense to them and that they understood it at the age they were. I knew that it had to be in an environment where they were going to be comfortable. I didn’t want to do it in the moment when we’re at the airport or anything, because I didn’t know what was going to happen, what was going to follow emotionally for them. But we got home and I thought, I’m going to wait until it’s later in the evening. When they’re settled, they’re ready for bed, they’ve got their ‘jamas on.” 

Often with children processing grief (and common with adults too) there is a delayed response. In the weeks following Jade’s passing, Jeff recalls instinctively seeking refuge away from the chaos, taking his boys on holiday to Australia for time to “take stock” and heal in a safe place. Jeff shares “For me it was about ‘I need to see what happens here. What do the kids do? Do they flip out? Did they completely lose it?’ And in some respect I remember feeling like it’s almost like they’re far less affected than I expected them to be – that’s what taught me about the delayed response.”

Jeff speaks candidly about not only his own grief, but the guilt that many parents in similar situations feel. “It made the boys really have to face up to what their reality was at the time. Have I failed my children because they’re experiencing that? No, but you will ask yourself that question. I guarantee you that the many surviving parents will feel guilty about the fact that they’re the one that’s here and the other isn’t.”

Throughout Giovanna’s conversation with Jeff, his message resonates in the importance of listening, offering support and fostering an environment where emotions can be expressed and understood. You can listen to this inspiring chat wherever you get your podcasts, or watch on Youtube below. 


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