Rio’s wife, Rebecca Ferdinand, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. After undergoing a double mastectomy and chemotherapy, Rebecca was in remission. Tragically, the cancer returned in 2015 and her condition quickly declined. She died after an eight-week battle on May 1, 2015. Rio’s world fell apart, at a time in his life when he thought he would be spending more time with Rebecca and their three young children. Recently his beloved mum, who was a great help and support to him when Rebecca died, has also died of cancer.
His book follows on from the making of the BBC Documentary ‘Being Mum and Dad’, which aired on Tuesday 28th March this year, and the book is more than a memoir of his life and football career and the death of his wife. It’s also about his own and his family’s grief and how making the documentary gave him wonderful advice and support that gets him through each day as they all strive to piece themselves back together.
A very private man by his own admission, he took a brave step to write this book. He has stripped himself back emotionally as an example in the hope that it will encourage widowed men in particular, to lay down their stereotypical macho image, open up, speak about, and feel their emotions. Doing this very thing has helped Rio to move forward.
Rio also shares some very helpful things he has learned from trusted organisations about grief, with some of it advice for men in particular. There are also some powerful stories from other widowers he has met. Rio also challenges the way society deals with death and believes that there should be more education about death in schools and more support for the bereaved.
This book will also inspire anyone struggling with loss and grief after being widowed young, to find the help they need through this most difficult of times. It also points to the fact that they need not be alone on this painful journey and that there is hope for the future.
Rio says, “nothing can ever ease the pain of the death of someone you love, nothing can magic it away. But if I can help anyone else facing what we have gone through, of what we’re still going through, by sharing what I’ve learnt, our loss won’t feel completely meaningless.”
Julia Samuel, Founder Patron of Child Bereavement UK and bestselling author of ‘Grief Works’, says, “Rio’s honesty is astonishing, and will change how men grieve and how men think about their feelings. This is a ground-breaking book.”
‘Achingly raw and emotional’ SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINE
‘Tender, heartbreaking … An extraordinary and unforgettable book. *****’ HEAT
‘Ferdinand’s powerful new book is a detailed and inevitably very raw description of how he has tried to cope with life after the loss of his wife.’ THE TIMES