TOWIE’s Frankie Essex: ‘Grief doesn’t get easier but I’ve learned to cope’

Frankie Essex

by Frankie Essex |
Updated on

Former TOWIE star Frankie Essex writes for Closer about dealing with grief on Mother's Day...

Jeff Brazier opened up to Closer last week about losing his ex Jade Goody to cervical cancer in 2009, and revealed that their sons, Bobby, 15, and Freddie, 14, really struggle with the build-up to Mother’s Day – which tragically fell on the day she died.

I know all too well how that feels. My mum Tina took her life when I was 13, and March is always a tricky month for me because it’s her birthday, as well as Mother’s Day. Seeing all the cards celebrating a day for mums is still so difficult.

GALLERY: Inspirational quotes from celebrities who have lost their mother


How to survive Mother's Day: Inspirational quotes from celebrities who lost their mums

Prince Harry1 of 10

Prince Harry

During an interview with Good Morning America in 2016, Prince Harry spoke about losing his mother, Princess Diana. He said: "I hope she's looking down, you know, with tears in her eyes, being incredibly proud of what we've established, I suppose. I'm sure she's longing for me to have kids so she can be a grandmother again. I hope that everything we do privately and officially, that it makes her proud. I think losing your mother at such a young age does end up shaping your life massively. Of course, it does, and now I find myself trying to be there and give advice to other people who are in similar positions."These words would become even more poignant for the Prince two years later, when he announced that his wife Megan Markle was pregnant with their first child.

Angelina Jolie mum2 of 10

Angelina Jolie

Hollywood legend Angelina Jolie lost her mum in 2007 due to ovarian cancer, when she was only 56. Opening up about her in an interview with RTE news channel in 2017, Angelina said: "She would have thrived as a grandmother. I know how much she would have contributed to their lives and I am sad they will miss out on that."She added: "I would give anything for her to be with me at this time. I've needed her. I talk to her often in my mind and try to think what she might say and how she might guide me."

Prince William3 of 10

Prince William

Prince William was quoted saying: "My grandmother once said that grief is the price we pray for love".In a 2014, when William became the Royal Patron of the Child Bereavement Charity, he said: "Losing a close family member is one of the hardest experiences that anyone can ever endure. Never being able to say the word 'Mummy' again in your life sounds like a small thing. I too have felt — and still feel — the emptiness on such a day as Mother's Day."

Lisa Riley4 of 10

Lisa Riley

Emmerdale actress Lisa Riley lost her mum Cath to breast cancer in 2012. After announcing her engagement news in 2018, Lisa took a moment to post a scenic photograph on her Instagram page, and captioned it: "There is something so beautiful waking up to the calm ocean, and a stunning angel ray.....which I know is from my mum!!! She ALWAYS shone the brightest, that's for sure!!!"

Kaney West5 of 10

Kanye West

Kanye West's mum Donda died in 2007, after fully supporting him when he chose to pursue a rapping career. He told MTV: "My mother was my everything. My mother always kept me around music. She was also my first manager. I remember her driving me out to the suburbs that would be like an hour away to studios, and her just sitting there with me in support."He also wrote lyrics about her for his the song Hey Mama on his album Late Registration: "Since you brought me in this world, let me take you out, To a restaurant, upper echelon. I'ma get you a Jag, whatever else you want, just tell me what kind of S-Type Donda West like, tell me the perfect color so I make it just right. It don't gotta be Mother's Day or your birthday, for me to just call and say, hey mama."

Stella McCartney6 of 10

Stella McCartney

Fashion designer Stella McCartney's mum Linda died in 1998 following a three-year battle with breast cancer. In 2012, she told Interview magazine: "Losing my mum - that was a punch-me moment. Obviously, being a woman, I've probably got a couple more questions for her than I do for dad. I feel like a different person since my mum passed away."

Barack Obama7 of 10

Barack Obama

Barack Obama's Anne Dunham mother died in 1995 when she was 52 years old. Opening up in 2016 for The Axe Files podcast, he said: "For all the ups and downs of our lives, there was never a moment where I didn't feel as if I was special, that I was not just this spectacular gift to the world."In his 2004 book Dreams from My Father, Obama wrote that his mum's lessons on the power of love have been the guiding forces in his life and served as pillars for accomplishing his achievements. She would certainly be proud of her son!

Sherrie Hewson8 of 10

Sherrie Hewson

Actress and Loose Women panellist Sherrie Hewson had a difficult relationship with her mother, but she still took on board some important lessons from her. She recently revealed to the Mirror: "My mum used to say to me, 'You're keeping that relationship alive. Why?'"

Bruno Mars9 of 10

Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars' mum Bernadette San Pedro Bayot, died at the age of 55 after suffering a brain aneurysm. Speaking to Latina magazine, Bruno said: "My life has changed. She's more than my music. If I could trade music to have her back, I would. I always hear her say, 'Keep going and keep doing it.'"

Jedward10 of 10


Jedward's mum died in early 2019, after a long battle with cancer. They said, "You live on through us."We will miss you and your smile "You shaped the character of who we are. Mammy lived with cancer for many years but was always full of life! You live on in our Memories and will always be alive in our Hearts."

But what I’ve learned over the years is to try to make Mother's Day as positive as possible. I’ll keep busy, seeing friends and family and throwing myself into work in the days leading up to it so I don’t have a chance to feel down.

On the day itself, my family and I always come together and celebrate Mum. My dad, my brother Joey [Essex] and I will visit her grave and enjoy a long walk. I’m lucky to have lots of family around me for support.

Frankie Joey Essex

It’s great that Mother’s Day now has a focus on grandmothers, too. I’m really close to my nan, so I’ll visit her. And I know that when I have my own kids, the day will be extra special for me. For anyone who’s lost their mum recently, I can assure you there is hope. The grief doesn’t get easier, but you learn to cope. You’ll find ways to stay strong; often, the best way to do this is to use the support of loved ones.

Read Frankie's full article in this week's Closer magazine out now.

This week's Closer magazine

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Jeff Brazier

Last year marked ten years since the tragic death of reality star Jade Goody, who died from cervical cancer aged just 27. And while the nation was shocked when the mum-of-two died, no-one was more devastated than sons Bobby and Freddie, now 15 and 16.

Speaking at a talk organised by bereavement charity Grief Encounter last month, Jeff, 39, said: "We’re coming up close to the tenth anniversary, which is a really difficult time. It really stirs up so much in them [Bobby and Freddie]. You can see their behaviour is slightly altered as a result.

"They promise as teenagers that it isn’t impacting them, but you know better as an adult that it is... As a parent you want to protect and keep your kids away from pain. Ten years ago something happened that I couldn't take away, and it's been a crazy ten years. We've gone up, we've gone down, we've gone up... and that's pretty much on a weekly basis."

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