THE husband of BBC newsreader Rachael Bland has today revealed the heartbreaking words their son, Freddie, uttered to him in the days after she died.
Speaking for the first time since her death, Steve Bland said their three-year-old told him: “Don’t worry daddy, it’s just us two now. It’ll be OK.”
Steve Bland has revealed the heartbreaking words his son Freddie uttered, days after his mum Rachael died of breast cancerRACHAEL BLAND
The dad-of-one appears on a special edition of You, Me And The Big C, the award-winning podcast Rachael created and presented.
The 40-year-old died on September 5, two years after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Steve told Rachael’s podcast co-hosts, The Sun’s Deborah James and Lauren Mahon, that hearing his wife had just “days to live” hit him like a “sledge hammer”.
“I can still hear it now, him (the doctor) saying it, ‘days, days’. It was a proper sledge hammer.”
Speaking for the first time since Rachael’s death in September, Steve said Freddie told him: “Don’t worry daddy, it’s just us two now. It’ll be OK.”RACHAEL BLAND
Our beautiful, courageous Rachael died peacefully this morning surrounded by her close family. We are crushed but she would want me to thank everyone who took an interest in her story or sent messages of support. You’ll never know how much they meant to her. Steve and Freddie xxx pic.twitter.com/soq7YHvF9u
— Rachael Bland (@Rachael_Hodges) September 5, 2018
Steve said he spent an agonising week watching Rachael sleep, and checking she was breathing, before she passed away at home in Cheshire, surrounded by her family.
But he said the couple’s son, Freddie, has been a huge source of comfort through the darkest days.
“He’s brilliant,” Steve told Deborah and Lauren. “I think he’s a bit young to understand even on a very base level what’s happened.
“He’s just full of energy, full of joy and full of life.
BBC newsreader Rachael died on September 5, two years after she was diagnosed with breast cancerBBC
“You can’t look at him without seeing Rachael, so it’s a little bit of her there all the time, just next to me.”
But, Steve revealed, despite his young age, the intuitive toddler has shown glimmers of wisdom way beyond his years.
“There have been occasions where I’ve lost my temper with him and I know I wouldn’t have done in normal circumstances,” he said.
I started crying because it really upset me that I’d shouted at him. And he just turned to me and he said, ‘Daddy, are you crying because of mummy’? And I said, ‘yes’. And he said, ‘Daddy, don’t worry, it’s just us two now. It’ll be OK’
Steve shares Freddie's heartbreaking words
“I shouted at him because he was being a right pain, I was trying to get him dressed.
“I started crying because it really upset me that I’d shouted at him.
“And he just turned to me and he said, ‘Daddy, are you crying because of mummy’?
“And I said, ‘yes’. And he said, ‘Daddy, don’t worry, it’s just us two now. It’ll be OK’.”
Steve appeared on a special edition of the You, Me And The Big C podcast, which his wife created and presentedSocial Media – Refer to Source
Steve told Deborah and Lauren, neither he nor Rachael “understood just how tough those last few days were going to be”.
Days before Rachael died, she was in hospital having scans, when doctors told the couple she faced a very short survival time.
“I think, probably both of us were thinking, weeks, months,” Steve admitted.
“From that point on she died almost exactly a week later.”
Rachael was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in November 2016.
But, in April, doctors dealt the family the crushing blow that her breast cancer was incurable.
Rachael presented the award-winning podcast with The Sun’s Deborah James and Lauren Mahon – both fellow cancer patientsSocial Media – Refer to Source
In the words of the legendary Frank S – I’m afraid the time has come my friends. And suddenly. I’m told I’ve only got days. It’s very surreal. Thank you so much for all the support I’ve received. Debs and lozz will continue with the #youmebigc podcast. Au revoir my friends. pic.twitter.com/DhMurbqMJz
— Rachael Bland (@Rachael_Hodges) September 3, 2018
For six months, Steve and Rachael knew her condition was terminal. In that time, Rachael rushed to finish writing a book, For Freddie, for which Steve has now secured a publisher – and hopes to release next year.
He said: “We got a lot done. A lot of stuff to do with pensions, the mortgage, death admin.
“I think it definitely gave her a lot of comfort. Money doesn’t matter, but it takes away one of the stresses when you know certain things are sorted.
I found it quite hard in the day or two after she died to remember what she sounded like, just normally… and even what she looked like just sitting next to me on the sofa
“She was one for a list, she planned her funeral before she died and we tried to stick to what she said, so that took a lot of stress out of that.
“She was just an unbelievable girl.”
Steve said. while the couple had a chance to have the important conversations, and prepare, the one thing he really didn’t know how to face was the physical process of his wife’s death.
“We didn’t talk about it, I had absolutely no idea what actually physically was going to happen to Rachael over those four or five days where she was getting more and more sick.
Rachael was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in November 2016Social Media – Refer to Source
“We are scared about talking about the whole thing, I didn’t have any idea what was going to happen.
“I didn’t feel like anyone really explained how hard and how demanding that last four or five days were going to be.
“I might be wrong, but I just feel that if Rachael had known how hard it was going to be she might have wanted to go into a hospice or something else.
“I just don’t know that either of us understood just how tough it was going to be – how demanding on her it was, having me looking after her, and how demanding it was on me.”
Steve also opened up to Deborah and Lauren about the “incredible outpouring” after his wife’s death – admitting it was hard at times.
In April, doctors revealed her breast cancer was incurable and by May scans showed it had spreadSocial Media – Refer to Source
Days before she died, Steve said hearing that his wife had just “days to live” hit him like a sledge hammerRachel Bland
Steve has recently found a publisher to publish Rachael’s memoirs, For Freddie, next yearRachel Bland
“It was very hard because my Rachael wasn’t the Rachael who did the podcast, wasn’t the Rachael on TV, wasn’t the Rachael on the radio,” he said.
“My Rachael was the one who sat next to me on the sofa watching crappy TV.
“You know, who shouted to get a glass of wine or whatever.
“It was very difficult – as comforting as it all was – seeing Rachael the TV person, the podcast person.
“I found it quite hard in the day or two after she died to remember what she sounded like, just normally… and even what she looked like just sitting next to me on the sofa.
“It was probably three or four days when it had died down a little bit and the storm had subsided somewhat that those memories started coming back and it was a bit of a crash.”
The new edition of the podcast is the first time Deborah and Lauren have been back in the studio without Rachael, and said the only person they wanted in her chair was SteveSocial Media – Refer to Source
Steve and Rachael met at work, both working at BBC Radio 5 LiveBBC Press Handout
The dad-of-one also shared a valuable piece of advice he was given, to help deal with grief: “The cross you have to bear doesn’t get any lighter, your legs just get stronger every day.”
On September 3, two days before she died, Rachael posted her final message to fans on social media, revealing she had “just days to live”, signing off with a heartbreaking “au revoir”.
Rachael was the brainchild of the You, Me And The Big C podcast, which since her death was crowned Best New Show at the Arias – the Oscars for the radio industry.
The new episode of the award-winning BBC podcast airs today, and it marks the first time Deborah and Lauren have stepped foot inside the recording studio without their best pal.
It was, Deborah told The Sun, an “incredibly emotionally charged time”.
“We were all in floods of tears, we all had our moments,” the 37-year-old, who has stage 4 bowel cancer, said.
“It was the first time we had been there without Rach sitting in that chair.”
Her co-host, Lauren, added, “there’s only one person we’d have in that chair,” referring to Steve.
“After Rachel’s death we all agreed the first You, Me And The Big C, would be on loss, and the only person alongside us would be Steve.”
Download the podcast here.