Rio Ferdinand: Coping with the death of a loved one

Rio Ferdinand, who lost his wife Rebecca to cancer in 2015, opened up on life as a single father to Radio Times.

Ferdinand has three children — sons Lorenz and Tate, and daughter Tia who were nine-, six- and four-years-old respectively at the time of Rebecca’s passing.   -  AP

Rio Ferdinand, who lost his wife Rebecca to cancer in 2015, opened up on life as a single father to Radio Times. The BBC will air a documentary titled Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad, which narrates how the former Manchester United and England defender coped after the death of his wife.

Ferdinand has three children — sons Lorenz and Tate, and daughter Tia who were nine-, six- and four-years-old respectively at the time of Rebecca’s passing.

Rio Ferdinand has opened up on how difficult it was to cope being a single parent with respect to daily responsibilities

“In football you don’t lift a finger until you go over the white line to play,” Ferdinand said. “Everything is done for you … Then at home we’d go on holiday, for instance, and all I had to do was pack my own bag because Rebecca packed.”

He needed to adapt. “It was even, like: ‘How do I go to the doctor’s?’ I’d only ever seen the club doctor. I didn’t have a clue.”

Ferdinand also spoke about the difficulty of playing the role of a father and mother. “She used to fix their beds a certain way, and when they’d tell me it almost felt like a slight. I’d think: ‘Whatever I do isn’t going to be good enough.’

“I used to wake up, get dressed, have some breakfast with them, and then I’d take them, drop them off and get out and go to training, and think I was doing my bit. But that’s the easy bit … Where are their shoes? Where are their clothes? Where are their bags?”

Ferdinand admits it was difficult to console his young children and help them with the grieving process. The former England international said one of his sons noticed a wall of greetings cards on their way out of the hospital.

“He said: ‘What’s that Dad?’ I said: ‘Oh, that’s some of the thank you cards patients and families have left for the doctors and the nurses on the ward, for helping their mum and dad or whoever they’ve had up there.’ He went: ‘Well, they didn’t help my mum,’ and he just walked off.’”

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