Lottie Tomlinson reflected on the ‘terrifying’ period following her mother’s death as she struggled to find mental health support for herself and her two sisters, Daisy and Phoebe, who were then 12.
The 24-year-old influencer was just 18-years-old when she lost her mother Johanna Deakin to leukemia in 2016 and three years later her sister Felicie died of an accidental overdose.
In an exclusive interview with MailOnline, she admitted it was ‘shocking’ that doctors did not give the family any advice because they had spent so much time visiting the hospital where her father was being treated.
“My sisters were only 12 years old… It’s quite a shock looking back!” Lottie Tomlinson reflected on the “scary” time after her mother Joanna’s death as doctors failed to counsel the family (Lottie, center, pictured with Daisy, left, and Phoebe Tomlinson, right)
“We were offered nothing,” said Louis Tomlinson. I think it was shocking because my first loss was a very medical thing. My mom had cancer so we were in and out of the hospital.
We’ve been around medical professionals a lot so no help was really provided, it was quite shocking, really, looking back. But at the time, it felt completely normal.
In addition to Louis and Lottie, Johanna was also mom to twins Daisy and Phoebe, 18, and Ernest and Doris, eight. She was also a grandmother to Louis’ son Freddie, six.
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 a specialized type of therapist or counselor and even the waiting list was going to miss you.
Tragic: The 24-year-old influencer (left) was only 18-years-old when she lost her mother Johanna Deakin (right) to leukemia in 2016
I think when my mom died, I never got any help, and I fell into the packing category, and then, when my sister died, I realized that this way of coping didn’t get me that far.
So I decided to talk to someone and just be more open and face my feelings a little bit more.
I’ve found that I’ve been able to deal with grief much better. And that’s why I like to talk about it because I’ve been through both, which I think is pretty rare, to have two types of grief groups where you can compare coping mechanisms.
This is why I encourage people to speak up, because the difference in my grief is so great. And for me, being able to talk about it, get a little therapy and face my feelings the second time around made that difference.
Wow: She said: We were not offered anything. I think it was shocking because my first loss was a very medical thing. My mom had cancer so we were in and out of the hospital.”
In June, Lottie visited the Houses of Parliament in London to launch research for a bereavement charity.
She met with Shadow Minister for Mental Health Dr Rosina Aline Khan to speak about bereavement support across the UK.
Ambassador Sue Ryder also visited the Palace of Westminster for the charity’s launch event to celebrate their research “on 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.
Editorial: She added, “We’ve been around medical professionals a lot, so no help was really provided, it was quite shocking, really, looking back. But at the time, it felt completely normal.”
I think this is really lacking for me at the moment because when I was in the situation, I didn’t get any help and didn’t really know where to go if I needed any help.
So I think there should be something like a handbook or a direct path to someone when they lose someone, having clear choices on how to get help and I think that would prevent a lot of bad things from happening. Because if people can get their help right away, they might not end up in a dark place.
Tanologist founder Sue Ryder supports New campaign, The Empty Chair, after new data revealed that mealtimes are particularly difficult for those grieving because they promote feelings of loss and loneliness.
Of her involvement, Lottie said:The campaign mainly represents mealtimes which can be difficult for people who are grieving because it often really makes it clear that there is an empty spare chair in which a loved one should be.
Awful: Three years after Lottie’s mother Johanna died, her sister Felicie (left) died in 2019 of an accidental overdose.
So it’s a really clever way to bring attention to grief and get us all to talk about it, which is very important because I think it’s a taboo thing and often we just don’t talk about it and just hide away from it.
And I think that’s why people end up in dark places and they can’t really deal with it because it’s not even talked about until you’re able to bring awareness to it in that way… I think it’s a really interesting way to do it and I’m honored to be a part of it.
A statement released to MailOnline following Johanna’s death read: ‘With immeasurable sadness, Johanna Deakin’s family said goodbye to Johanna in the early hours of Wednesday 7 December 2016.
Earlier this year, Joanna was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of leukemia that required immediate and ongoing treatment. We respectfully request that the family be given time and space to grieve in private.
Good reason: In June, Lottie visited the Houses of Parliament in London to launch research for a bereavement charity.
Three years later, Felicie is found collapsed and lifeless in her fourth-floor studio flat in Earls Court, West London.
It was a perfect storm, oxycodon, alpraxolam, coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said at an inquest afterward. [Xanax] and cocaine. I find no evidence that this was a deliberate act to end her life.
After hearing that she had turned to drugs following the tragic death of her mother, the coroner recorded an erroneous verdict.
Sue Ryder launched her latest campaign as part of the broader Grief Kind movement – which looks to provide people with the knowledge and tools to be able to face grief with warmth and acceptance rather than shying away from open conversations.
To celebrate the launch of the campaign, between Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th November, Sue Ryder has installed a 13-seater dining table for a private dinner in Victoria Leeds. It is open from 8 am to 6 pm both days, and each seat represents someone who has died.
Instead of lists everywhere around the table, the cards showed a photograph and a quote from a family member about the person who had died.
The table is decorated with special items that represent fond memories, characteristics, or hobbies of a person, including lemon curd, a soccer ball scarf, a meat album, and a set of scrubs.
Sue Ryder encourages the nation to be in grief by adding a seat to your table, so no one has to go through grief alone. Visit sueryder.org/griefkind.
For bereavement resources including practical and compassionate tips for encouraging conversations about grief, visit sueryder.org/copingwithgrief.
Strength for Good: Sue Rider encourages the nation to be kind to the grieving one by adding a seat to your table, so no one has to go through grief alone. Visit sueryder.org/griefkind