IN February, it will be two years since Caroline Flack took her own life at the age of 40.
For heartbroken mother Christine, 71, the pain is still as raw as it was when she lost her beloved daughter – and she predicts this year’s Christmas will be a struggle for her and her family.
“This year was even worse, because it turned out to be true,” she told The Sun in an exclusive interview, adding that her daughter was thinking about “every second of the day.”
Christine says one thing that doesn’t help is seeing people who don’t really know her daughter talk about her on the pretext that they’re close.
“It’s hard. I saw someone on the phone this week calling her a friend and it was really heartbreaking,” she said.
“When a death is reported in the media, you cannot just quietly grieve. There are so many people who are grieving not knowing her personally, so you are taking care of them, as well as all her friends. “
Speaking to us at the Good Grief Trust’s Grief Awareness Week launch, Christine says she’s always talking to Caroline’s “best, really old friends”.
They include presenter Natalie Pinkham, charity CEO Josie Naughton and writer Dawn O’Porter – who recently visited from Los Angeles, where she lives with actor husband Chris O’Dowd, to pay tribute to Caroline on her birthday.
“Josie and Caroline met when they lived together in Camden, she met Dawn when she presented I’m A Celebrity: Extra Camp, and Natalie while working on a poker show. They are the friends I know,” she added.
“I love seeing Natalie, Josie and Dawn, but sometimes it hurts when I see people who say they know her.”
The Flack family does their best to preserve Caroline’s memory and regularly visits a memorial bench in Norfolk, where she grew up.
Christine loves sitting there and talking to her daughter, and will be visiting family on Christmas Day.
“We all need a place to come, sit and remember, and this is both furnished and beautiful,” explains Christine.
“It’s like yours, hers. I love going there and sitting. It allows you to talk to Carrie because you would feel silly anywhere else.”
Christine tells us that some of Caroline’s loved ones meet there weekly – and on her recent 42nd birthday in November, many of her friends also visited.
Christine recalls: “It was very beautiful. “We ended up just laughing about Carrie, telling stories, getting angry about her.
“We’re all just talking to her like she’s still here!”
The pain of twins
While all of Carrie’s siblings – Lizzie, 51, Paul, 50, and Jody, 42 – “feel the pinch,” Christine says her twin is the one suffering the most.
Christine said: “Carrie is like Jody’s other half. “They were together all the time.”
When she was alive, Caroline often talked about their close relationship, once revealing they slept in the same bed until the age of 4.
Film editor Jody is a mother of three, Zuzu, Willow and Delilah, and Christine admits they are “struggling too”.
But the whole family found it amusing when Jody’s eldest daughter, 16, Willow, turned into her aunt Carrie.
“She looks like Caroline,” Christine laughed. “She’s messy, outrageous, she’s like a different version of herself!
“Jo said it was like living with Carrie when she was a kid!”
Carrie is like Jody’s other half, they’re together all the time
In the weeks before her death, former Love Island host Caroline met with documentary filmmakers in the hope she could clear her name, after being accused of assaulting boyfriend Lewis Burton. .
But she ended her life on February 15, 2020, before she had a chance to do the show.
Christine and Jody honored her wishes by filming Caroline Flack: Her Life And Death for Channel 4 earlier this year.
And that’s part of what helped Christine get through her first year without her.
“Last year so much happened, with everything, people talking and that documentary really helped,” she recalls.
“But now it just hits me, it’s real. And you just miss them, that’s all.
“I think about her when she was little and what she was like then, and then the funny things she did and said.
“She’s fun and she’s funny.”
Christine is determined that her daughter’s memory is not tainted by the last few months of her life, she has witnessed her being fired by Love Island bosses after she got drunk with Lewis.
“I hate the memory of my daughter being a negative memory because it’s not negative,” she said.
“She always sees the positive in something…she always tries to be a good role model, especially for young women. I want her to be remembered for these things. “
Christine added: “Carrie suffered for a long time, but never showed it because her outgoing personality covered everything up.
“Mostly she’s happy and funny and amazing. She’s had bad times like this, and not many people see those disappointing times.
“She hid it. The last doctor she saw thought she might have bipolar. And that’s what I always thought.
Mostly Carrie is fun, funny and smart. She had these great times, and not many people witnessed those disappointing times
“It was just a continuous, sudden high, then a low.
“Usually something will happen, but it will always pass in the end.
“I slept many times in her bed until it was over. But she didn’t even have her own doctor.
“She went to the doctor so nobody would read her profile, you know; she was so embarrassed when people thought she had a mental health problem.
“She is only known as a cheerful and lucky girl; she turned to stone when people saw her dark side, and thought she was ‘psychotic’.
“She’s not depressed – she’s had a great life and I’m so proud of her.”
Christine spoke at the launch of the Good Grief Trust Grief Awareness Week. For more information, visit https://www.thegoodgrieftrust.org/
Contact with the Samaritans
If you are affected by any of the issues outlined in this article, contact The Samaritans on 116 123.
They are available for free at any time.
Or email https://www.samaritans.org/
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