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Image / Editorial

Rachael Bland’s husband reveals son’s heartbreaking words after her death


by Edaein OConnell
14th Nov 2018
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Rachael Bland was 40 years old when she died in September of this year.

The BBC Radio 5 broadcaster had been battling breast cancer and presented the popular podcast You, Me And The Big C. Together with presenters Deborah Hames and Lauren Mahon, they candidly discussed their battles with cancer, its difficulties, as well as debunking myths.

Related: It was three in the morning when
Lisa and Dave said goodbye

Now, Rachel’s husband, Steve Bland, has spoken on the podcast for the first time since her death; sharing the heartbreaking words their son said in the wake of her untimely death. He spoke of how he broke down and cried, and that Freddie told him, “Daddy, don’t worry, it’s just us two now. It’ll be OK.”

He spoke of the difficulties he was now facing as a single parent. “There have been occasions where I’ve lost my temper with him,” Steve said, “and I know I wouldn’t have done in normal circumstances. I shouted at him because he was being a right pain… I was trying to get him dressed. I started crying because it really upset me that I’d shouted at him. And he just turned to me and he said, ‘Daddy, are you crying because of Mummy?’ and I said ‘Yes’.”

But he also spoke of the immense joy that three-year-old Freddie has given him in this difficult time, saying, “He’s brilliant – he’s a bit young really to understand – even on a very base level – what’s happened. But he’s just full of energy, full of joy, full of life, keeping us busy – he’s fantastic. You can’t look at him without seeing Rachael either, so it’s a little bit of her all the time just next to me.”

Related: Read our list of the six best books, plays
and podcasts dealing with grief

In the podcast released today, Steve spoke openly at just how difficult Rachael’s final days were, and that if given the choice again, they would have chosen hospice care over remaining at home.

“I didn’t feel like anyone actually explained how hard and how demanding those last four or five days were going to be,” he said. “I might be wrong, but I just feel that if Rachael had known how hard it was going to be, she might have wanted to go into a hospice or something else. I just don’t know that either of us understood how tough those last days were going to be; how demanding on her it was, only having me looking after her, and how demanding it was on me.”

He spoke of the good and bad days he has had since Rachael’s death, and how he found it difficult to reconcile the Rachael in the “media storm” to the Rachael he knew at home. He said, “It was very hard, because my Rachael wasn’t the Rachael who did the podcast; she wasn’t the Rachael on the TV, wasn’t the Rachael on the radio.”

“My Rachael was the one who sat next to me on the sofa watching crappy TV. You know, who shouted to get a glass of wine or whatever.”

The podcast is available to listen in full on the new app BBC Sounds.