EXC: Lottie Tomlinson on ‘scary’ time after mum’s death where family wasn’t offered counselling
Lottie Tomlinson has reflected on the “terrifying” period after her mother’s death, where she struggled to find mental health support for herself and her 12-year-old sisters.
The 24-year-old influencer was just 18 when she lost her mother Johannah Deakin to leukemia in 2016 and three years later her sister Félicité died of an accidental overdose.
In an exclusive interview with MailOnline, he confessed that it is ‘shocking’ that medical professionals have not offered any advice to the family, as they had spent a lot of time visiting the hospital where his father was being treated.
‘My sisters were only 12…it’s quite shocking looking back!’ Lottie Tomlinson has reflected on the “terrifying” moment after the death of her mother, Johannah, when doctors offered no advice to the family (Lottie, center, pictured with Daisy, left, and Phoebe Tomlinson, left). right)
She said: ‘They didn’t offer us anything. I think it was shocking because my first loss was very medical. My mom had cancer, so we were in and out of the hospital.
“We were surrounded by medical professionals for a long time, so that they didn’t really offer us help was quite a shock, really, looking back on it.” But at that moment, she felt quite normal.
In addition to Louis and Lottie, Johannah was also mother to twin girls Daisy and Phoebe, 18, and Ernest and Doris, eight. She was also a grandmother to Louis’ six-year-old son, Freddie.
Lottie added: “I didn’t really know anyone else and I remember even trying to find help for my little sisters because they were 12. So we needed some kind of specialist therapist or counselor and even the waiting list was see you.
Tragic: The 24-year-old influencer (left) was just 18 when she lost her mother, Johannah Deakin (right), to leukemia in 2016
“I think when my mother passed away I never got help and fell into the bottleneck category and then when my sister passed away I realized that coping didn’t get me that far.
So I decided to talk to someone and be more open and face my feelings a little bit more.
“I found that I could cope with the pain much better. And that’s why I like to talk about it because I’ve been through both situations, which I think is pretty rare, having two types of grief where you can compare coping mechanisms.
‘That’s why I encourage people to speak up, because the difference in my pain is so, so big. And for me, being able to talk about it, have some therapy, and face my feelings a second time made a world of difference.”
Wow: She said, ‘They didn’t offer us anything. I think it was shocking because my first loss was very medical. My mom had cancer, so we were in and out of the hospital’
In June, Lottie visited London’s Houses of Parliament for the launch of a bereavement charity inquiry.
He met Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, to discuss support for grief across the UK.
The Sue Ryder ambassador also visited the Palace of Westminster for the charity’s launch event to mark its research “into the availability and impact of bereavement support”.
She explained: ‘We went to Parliament because I think there should be a direct path for people who are grieving or have lost someone.
Opening: She added: ‘We were with medical professionals a lot so they didn’t really offer us the help was quite shocking, really, looking back. But at the time, it felt pretty normal.’
“I think that’s really missing right now because when I was in the situation, they didn’t offer me any help and I didn’t really know where to go if I needed it.
“So I think there should be something like a brochure or a direct path for someone when they lose someone who has clear options on how they can get help and I think it would prevent a lot of bad things from happening.” because if people can get help right away, they might not end up in a dark place.”
Tanologist founder is supporting Sue Ryder new campaign, The Empty Chair, after new data revealed that mealtimes are particularly difficult for those who are grieving, as it reinforces feelings of loss and loneliness.
Lottie said of her involvement: ‘The campaign basically represents mealtimes which can be difficult for people who are grieving because it often makes it very obvious that there is a free chair that is empty and should have a loved one in it.
Horrible: Three years after Lottie’s mother Johannah sadly passed away, her sister Félicité (left) died in 2019 of an accidental overdose
“So it’s a really smart way to bring attention to pain and get us all talking about it, which is very important because I think it’s taboo and we often don’t talk about it and hide from it.”
“And I think that’s why people end up in dark places and can’t really cope because it’s just not talked about, so to be able to raise awareness in this way… I think it’s really an interesting way to do it and it’s an honor to be a part of it.’
A statement sent to MailOnline following Johannah’s death read: “It is with immeasurable sadness that the family of Johannah Deakin said goodbye to Johannah in the early hours of Wednesday 7th December 2016.
‘Earlier this year, Johannah was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of leukemia that required immediate and ongoing treatment. We respectfully request that the family have time and space to grieve in private.’
Good cause: In June, Lottie visited London’s Houses of Parliament for the launch of a bereavement charity inquiry.
Three years later, Félicité was found collapsed and lifeless in her fourth-floor study in Earls Court, west London.
Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said at a later inquest: “It was a perfect storm, the OxyCodone, the alpraxolam [Xanax] and cocaine. I find no evidence that this was a deliberate act to end his life.
After learning that he had turned to drugs following the tragic death of his mother, the coroner recorded a verdict of misadventure.
Sue Ryder launched her latest campaign as part of her broader Grief Kind movement, which seeks to equip people with the knowledge and tools to be able to face grief with warmth and acceptance rather than shy away from open conversations.
To mark the start of the campaign, between Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th November, Sue Ryder set up a 13 seater dining table set for self catering in Victoria Leeds. Open from 8 am to 6 pm both days, each seat representing someone who had died.
Instead of menus at each place around the table, the cards featured a photograph and a quote from a relative about the person who died.
Special items dressed the table representing fond memories, characteristics or hobbies of the person, such as lemon curd, a football scarf, a Meatloaf album and a set of scrubs.
Sue Ryder is encouraging the nation to be kind to grief by adding a seat to her table, so no one has to grieve alone. Visit sueryder.org/griefkind.
For grief resources, including practical and emotional tips for fostering grief conversations, visit sueryder.org/copingwithgrief.
Force for Good: Sue Ryder is encouraging the nation to be kind to grief by adding a seat to her table, so no one has to grieve alone. Visit sueryder.org/griefkind