Secrets, Lies and Private Lives

The news that Peaches Geldof had died was shocking. A beautiful young mother who had it all. Children, husband, money, interesting work. Fame. The life she presented looked pretty good.

Peaches was popular on social media, a voice for attachment parents and apparently open about the stresses, strains, joy and intricacies of parenting babies and toddlers. She was, and remains to be, inspirational to me and I’m sure many others too. Her way with words when talking on This Morning to Katie Hopkins was fantastic. The news today that heroin was a contributing factor to her death is tragic. I have been struck by the notion that so many people felt they knew her and yet they did not. I wonder what the secrets and lies are that we all hide from our own public: friends, families, work colleagues, neighbours. Whilst they may not be as extreme as a drug addiction I am sure that they are there.

Dear old Katie Hopkins has, rather predictably, put her oar in with this tweet:

Katie Hopkins Peaches Geldof

Well Katie. I’d like to think we would. We all have secrets, lies and private lives. The hypothetical person you talk of in your tweet probably had a lot to offer too. Perhaps her mother also died of a drug overdose when she was a child. Perhaps she didn’t have the money or profile to pull herself out of the life you describe and show the world what she had to offer; but in essence aren’t they the same? Two women, both mothers, both humans, both with drug addictions?

In the UK in 2012 the number of deaths where heroin was a contributing factor was 579. That’s 579 men, women, people’s children, grandchildren, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. That’s 579 tragic deaths from 579 tragic circumstances. 579 people who probably, to some people, represented themselves in a way that wasn’t a true reflection of the situation they were in.

Whether a mother dies – in her large private home with wealth surrounding her or  ‘on benefits living on a council estate’ – it is a tragedy. A tragedy for that woman, a tragedy for her children and for her family. Peaches lived her life in public and so her death has been in public too and so, as the public, we react with shock and horror and compassion for her and her family. Would we react with the same compassion to the death of another woman in the same circumstances? I hope so.

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23 Responses to Secrets, Lies and Private Lives

  1. I couldn’t agree more!

  2. Donna says:

    Great post! I’ve seen so many posts today on Twitter and Facebook that have slagged Peaches off, saying she’s selfish, a bad mother, blah blah blah. Very easy for everyone else to judge. She must have been in an incredibly sad and lonely place to even be taking drugs let alone to die from it. Who are we to judge?! x

  3. I think the whole thing is just so sad. God knows what was going on in her head – guess we’ll never know. I can’t Hopkins was so crass as to post that tweet. You blog is lovely by the way – happy to have found it xx #poloco

  4. Clare Scott says:

    A well written and thoughtful blog post on such an emotive subject. #PoCoLo

  5. kaowen2013 says:

    A great post and I wholeheartedly agree. I too have recently shared a post about Peaches and how we share the grief of someone in the public eye, in my blog which focuses on my grief after my daughter died. Collective emotion #PoCoLo

  6. I was trying to sort out my thoughts when i read about this. I think your post sorted everything for me. My thoughts exactly. #pocolo

  7. Karen says:

    What a lovely thoughtful post. I hate the “if they weren’t famous” line, for most people compassion isn’t dependent on celebrity. My brother killed himself in 2012, he too was a heroin addict. My own feelings about Peaches’ death are here;

  8. Alex says:

    With a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and membership of a sex cult with ties to the occult, it’s a wonder that the local social services hadn’t been concerned enough over safeguarding issues with the kids to get involved prior to what is a very sad and unfortunate death. Maybe she would have received the help she needed. Who knows.

    I must admit when her death was first announced, my immediate thoughts were PND and to be honest, drug use doesn’t preclude that. Desperately sad, and perhaps an indicator that the ivory tower that wealth affords can oft times be a barrier to help rather than an easier path to it.

    • Mam_Linda says:

      My first thoughts too Alex, she was at very high risk of postnatal depression and if it’s not properly diagnosed (early) it can become pathological. Add in a drug to take everything away and everything is, in fact, taken away.

  9. JulieRoo says:

    Flipping well said! Whilst I can’t understand heroine addicts at all, I feel for her family. Her dad and her sisters remember her mum going in a similar way. Can’t people like HateyKatie just crawl back under troll bridge and let this family greiv?

  10. AutismMumma says:

    Very well said, we never really know what’s going on behind closed doors, we see what others allow ourselves to see.
    It might me feel so sad for the family when I heard the news yesterday, hopefully her boys will break the cycle (in private).

  11. Yes quite right. Any time a parent dies and leaves behind children – that is a tragedy. It matters not if they are a celebrity. #PoCoLo

  12. Leanne ( says:

    Katie hopkins gets right on the end of my (you know whats!) Peaches is a Human being just like the rest of us, its still a tragedy that 2 very small children have been left without a mum 😦 #PoCoLo

  13. Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) says:

    I have been thinking about this so much, and basically I come to the same conclusion as you, that it is such a tragic, waste of a life. Those poor boys now having to grow up without a mother. From the outside it is very easy to be judgemental and wonder how she could do it, especially having been through the own loss of her mother that way, But, as you say, we don’t know the whole story or how much she struggled with addiction, or what led her down that route. You summed it up perfectly, it is just a tragic situation. xx #pocolo

  14. @katgrant30 says:

    We will never know the reasons why Peaches or indeed anyone resorts to a substance like heroin. There’s usually a reason, and it’s always pretty tragic. Peaches death was shocking, but the outraged of twitter land need to grow some compassion.., great post.
    @katgrant30 (Bumps and Grind)

  15. Jaime Oliver says:

    well done for eloquently putting my thoughts on paper too! the fact is regardless of the whys and wherefores this was a young mum who has left 2 small children and that makes me very sad that those little guys are parentless

  16. The collective sadness of losing a public figure adds to the tragedy of it all – then factor into the mix a girl who lost her mother young, a woman who turned her life around, a young mother of 2 small boys, a widowed husband, a bereft family, and a seemingly happy and well adjusted life. How anyone wouldn’t be sad about that is beyond words.

  17. Nicely put. Tragic tragic story that I can’t quite shake from my mind – those babies that will never ‘know’ their mother. And people want to pour more misery on the situation? Shameful. #PoCoLo

  18. Jonathan says:

    Totally agree with what you’ve said here about Katie Hopkins’ reaction. If Peaches Geldof hadn’t been famous and lived on a council estate, the reality is that we probably wouldn’t have heard of her passing away. Like you say, it would still have been equally tragic. #PoCoLo

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