It’s crazy that we don’t discuss grief, says Tom Parker’s widow

K

elsey Parker said “people cross the road so they don’t have to talk to me” following the death of her husband, Tom Parker, as she reflected on how Britons cope with grief.

The Wanted star died in March at the age of 33 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Speaking to The Sun’s Fabulous Magazine, Kelsey, 32, said: “In the UK, we don’t talk about grief. We don’t talk about death. It’s a taboo subject.

“Even when I see people, they don’t really want to talk to me about it. Honestly, people cross the road so they don’t have to talk to me.

“It’s crazy. People don’t know what to say. It’s so shocking because Tom was so young.

“I think they try to put themselves in my position and think ‘I don’t know how she’s actually coping.’

“I just want to talk to people and be normal and continue my life, but that’s harder for me when people don’t want to talk to me.”

Kelsey is fronting a new six-part documentary series on ITVBe, Life After Tom, which she hopes will help to keep her late husband’s memory alive, while also encouraging people to talk openly about grief.

She said: “With the show, I wanted to open up and show people that you can grieve the way I’m grieving.”

Prior to Tom’s death, the couple let cameras into their lives for Inside My Head – a documentary following the star’s life after he received his brain tumour diagnosis in October 2020.

Kelsey also spoke openly about the struggle of doing things without her husband for the first time. After commemorating his birthday with the couple’s two young children earlier this year, she is now preparing for her first Christmas without him.

“I take every day as it comes, because I just can’t bear the thought of Christmas,” she said.

“Last year, Aurelia was so invested in Christmas, she really got it. I think that’s what’s so hard for me, because Tom loved it last year.

“She was saying ‘Father Christmas has been, look at my presents!’

“Tom just couldn’t believe it, so it’s just so sad that he’s missing his kids grow up. I can’t even describe that pain.”

Kelsey spoke candidly about the idea of moving on after Tom’s death, reflecting on the relationship between actor Damian Lewis and his late wife, actress Helen McCrory, who died from breast cancer in 2021 at the age of 52.

Lewis, 51, has previously said that, shortly before she died, McCrory encouraged him to “find love again”.

Kelsey said of her husband: “We never really spoke about anything like that because, for me, he wasn’t going to die. We just stayed positive the whole time.

“Damian said that when Helen was diagnosed with a terminal illness, you start grieving then. I did grieve the person Tom was before he got diagnosed.

“I can’t fault him because he was amazing. I can’t even imagine being in his head, living with a brain tumour. But for the last 18 months, I didn’t have the Tom Parker that I married.

“I don’t really like saying that, but I lost a part of him. I’ve been grieving for two years the person I once was with.

“It’s tough, but life before his illness was a really long time ago.”