Bob Geldof speaks of personal experiences of grief

Singer explains how father’s handling of his mother’s death would help him later in life

Bob Geldof: “Part of me half-expected Peaches, the way she was carrying on. There is nothing you can do about it.  She is the one who is with me every second of the day, she is the one who bangs into my consciousness at any moment. That is incomprehensible to me still.” File  photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Bob Geldof: “Part of me half-expected Peaches, the way she was carrying on. There is nothing you can do about it. She is the one who is with me every second of the day, she is the one who bangs into my consciousness at any moment. That is incomprehensible to me still.” File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Bob Geldof has spoken of his experience of grief over the loss of his mother when he was a child, his former wife Paula Yates and his daughter Peaches last year.

He remembers how his father broke the news to him of his mother’s death when he was aged six.

“My Dad came into the room and he just sat on the side of the bed and he just said ‘Your Mum died last night’, very baldly. That was a very good lesson for later on in my life.”

Paula Yates

Geldof would find himself in the same shoes as his father many years later, when having to break the news to his children of the death of their mother Paula Yates, his former wife, in 2000.

Speaking to Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ, he explained the hustle and bustle of that fateful morning.

“It was Pixie’s birthday, she was opening up her pressies in the living room with the girls. She was going over to her Mum who was taking her out for lunch.

“I had to steel myself. I imagine this is exactly what happened to my father. I could barely take in the information. The bell was ringing, the press were there.

“I went back into the sitting room and I sat down. I told them I have something to tell you, and it’s serious.

“I said exactly what my father had said to me. I said: ‘Your Mum died last night’.”

For him, the grief of losing Yates was hardest when the marriage broke up in 1995.

“The true realisation of the enormity of what had happened in your life struck me not at Paula’s death but when she left. I was completely bereft.

“The leaving was worse than the dying. I couldn’t understand it. I loved her profoundly. I couldn’t understand then that love is not enough.”

Peaches Geldof

Geldof would experience the pitiless hand of grief once more when his daughter Peaches died in April 2014.

“Part of me half-expected Peaches, the way she was carrying on. There is nothing you can do about it.

“She is the one who is with me every second of the day, she is the one who bangs into my consciousness at any moment. That is incomprehensible to me still.

“This thing of being forever 25 in my head is unbearable. That cliché - you’re not supposed to see your children die. I wait for it to stop.

“Time does not heal, it accommodates. But it is not accommodating this.”