Kelsey Parker refuses to let ‘guilt’ stop her from living her life following the tragic loss of husband Tom Parker last year.
The influencer suffered utter devastation in March 2022 when Tom died 18 months after being diagnosed with an inoperable grade IV glioblastoma brain tumour. He was just 33 years old.
A member of popular boy band The Wanted, Tom left behind two young children – Aurelia, four, and Bodhi, two – as well as a huge legion of friends and dedicated fans.
Fast forward to 2023 and Kelsey is now happy in a new relationship, having met Sean Boggans through mutual friends and silencing trolls with an Instagram statement recently about his previous stint behind bars.
In an interview with Metro.co.uk, Kelsey speaks openly about navigating a new romance in the public eye after such a tricky 18 months.
‘I was very fortunate with Tom that our relationship was in the limelight for a long time, and I had the boys, I had the fans, but it’s all new to me,’ she admits.
‘It became quite public and it was a lot for me, but I had the support of people. My DMs were flooded with people saying they were happy for me and it’s all about breaking down those stereotypes of when is the right time?
‘If there is a grief handbook, please hand it to me! I’m just doing what feels best for me and I’m just being Kelsey.’
‘What really matters is as long as my kids and family are happy,’ she declares.
Speaking of her support system, Kelsey says she couldn’t have got to where she is now without her late husband’s fanbase.
Praising the ‘best community’ who follow and uplift her, the mum-of-two says: ‘People might think it’s a little too much that I share absolutely everything, but I want people to know that there’s no wrong or right way to grieve, it’s how you feel and what’s best for you.
‘If you don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning, don’t get out of bed! That’s the right thing for you to do and you shouldn’t feel any guilt about that.’
When it comes to guilt, the author is determined to get on with things.
‘I get asked if I feel guilty, but it’s like, guilty for living? No, because I’m the one still here, I have to live my life now.’
Kelsey acknowledges that she isn’t your typical image of a ‘widow’, as she sits chatting wearing a pink jumpsuit rather than a ‘black veil over [her] face’.
She’s more than happy to break that misconception, however, after previously having people cross the street to avoid talking to her out of fear of saying the wrong thing.
In fact, she wants to talk about Tom and keep his memory alive, like she does with her little ones.
‘As a nation, we think that I should be in mourning, but that’s not life and life has to continue,’ she insists.
‘There’s no right or wrong way to approach grief because with me, your happy place and your happy time is talking about that person, so when they go, “Oh I’m really sorry…” What are you sorry about? Let’s talk about Tom and embrace him!
‘But also, grief is a journey and I’m learning now to live with it. It’s not got any bigger or smaller, but you learn to adapt and live with it.’
‘Until the day I die, I’m always gonna feel the same with how I felt about Tom,’ she adds.
Kelsey chats to us from Tower Bridge in London, working with Co-op on their ‘elephant in the room’ campaign to encourage more people to talk about grief.
It comes after research found that more than half of the nation (58%) says talking about death, dying and bereavement is taboo.
‘We need to tackle these conversations of grief, death, loss, funerals… we’re all so worried and scared to talk about it, but it’s massively helped me,’ says Kelsey.
She shares that it would’ve been nice to talk more about what would come next with Tom, however, his mental health had to be a priority.
‘I wish me and Tom spoke about it more, but for Tom and his mental health it wasn’t the right place for me to have those conversations and I know deep down he thought, “She’ll do a fantastic funeral”, but growing older, I’m going to have those conversations with my kids.’
Kelsey is now motivated to talk candidly with her own relatives about their funeral plans, wanting to make sure she gets everything right.
As she gears up to release her first book and continues to spread a message of light through dark times, Kelsey believes she’s fulfilling her ‘mission’ after such tragedy.
She also believes her late other half is ‘guiding’ her and their children through everything they do.
‘I feel like I have been sent here to talk about all of this and open these conversations up that people don’t want to have,’ she states proudly.
‘I think that’s why this has happened to me.’
Who to call if you need help
The Cruse Bereavement Care Freephone National Helpline is staffed by trained bereavement volunteers, who offer emotional support to anyone affected by bereavement.
The number is 0808 808 1677
You can also email [email protected]
Source: Read Full Article