Bob Geldof’s words on the ‘infinite, ever present’ stages of grief are important
In an interview at the weekend, singer and activist Bob Geldof opened up about the untimely death of his daughter Peaches and shared his thoughts on the grieving process
To grieve is a deeply personal, painful process. There is no straight path when it comes to grief; it ebbs and flows as it will. Sometimes you expect it and other times it can come from anywhere, this onslaught: reading a book, hearing a song or a turn of phrase which lingers on the edge of the mind.
It’s this heartbreak that Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof knows all too well, having lost his daughter Peaches in 2014 to an accidental drug overdose. She was only 25-years-old at the time of her death and left behind two young children.
Tragically, her mother, TV presenter Paula Yates, died the same way in 2000 at the age of 41, when Peaches was just 11-years-old.
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Speaking on the Tommy Tiernan Show on Saturday, he said the heartbreak he has felt over losing his daughter he says “doesn’t heal.” Time may accommodate it, but it remains “ever present.”
Related: Dealing with grief: ‘One day he went to work and never came home’
“You’re driving along and you’re at the traffic lights and for no reason whatsoever the person in question inhabits you,” he said.
“The grief and the abyss is infinite”
“And I’ll cry and then I’ll look around to make sure the people around don’t see me or are posting a photo or whatever – but that happens and that happens to everyone. And so you say, ‘OK, it’s time to cry now.’”
“You just do it, you cry to the maximum and then you go, the grief is bottomless and intimate. I didn’t understand why I lost everything I thought to be true”
“Once you understand the nature of this because it is boundless and it is bottomless. The grief and the abyss is infinite.”
Related: ‘I didn’t ask for this’: Why do we feel the need to judge how others grieve?
We don’t often hear about grief in this way; its constant presence in our lives. Geldof’s comments emphasise what we all know and often never say – the grieving “process” often has no time limit. There’s no one way to handle such a complex set of emotions – your process is your own – and speaking out about this is as important as seeking the help you might need, or crying when you feel it is time to.
“This thing of being forever 25, in my head, that’s unbearable, simply because of that cliché – you’re not supposed to see your children die,” he said previously, adding that his daughter has never truly left him.
“But she is the one who is with me every second of the day and she is the one who bangs into my consciousness at any moment, especially in any down moment… where I’m not doing something. She’s very present.”