Jake Quickenden says loss of his father and brother never gets 'easier' but he has ways of 'dealing with it'
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/jakequickenden
Jake Quickenden explains why grief doesn't get 'easier with time' but has become 'more processable' since he lost both his dad and brother to cancer.
Jake - who first rose to fame on X-Factor - went on to take part in other reality shows such I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, Dancing on Ice and SAS: Who Dares Wins, however, they were all achievements his dad never got to see.
At the age of 19, he lost his dad, Paul, to a non-familial type of bone cancer and a few years after that, he also lost his brother, Oliver, to osteosarcoma bone cancer.
The 34-year-old has since opened up to Tyla about how he continues to deal with his grief and how it 'never gets easier' but you eventually learn to 'live with it'.
Jake lost his father at a 'pivotal moment' in his life, heading out of his teenage years, about to go out and 'find' himself.
"The one person you can rely on to guide you - he was no longer there," he tells Tyla.
Jake has an older brother and step-dad, both of who helped to step into the role, but he was 'very close' to his father.
"He was the kind of guy that told me I could do anything that I wanted to do. The guy that took me to all my fitness classes, football. Whatever I wanted, he'd support me in it.
"And then all of a sudden, he was gone."
"A reason I took that [SAS] was because my dad would've loved watching that. He would've been laughing saying, 'Pretty boy done good'."
Losing his dad was hard - Jake noting that he doesn't think you 'ever get over it' - but the 35-year-old reflects losing his brother a few years later was 'even harder' for him to 'get [his] head around'.
Jake's mum got cancer, but thankfully 'got over it'. His dad was then diagnosed and passed away, and later Jake's younger brother got cancer, diagnosed at the age of 16.
"It was like, 'God, when am I going to get a break?'" Jake says.
He continues: "It affected me, it still affects me now if I'm honest. [...] You always expect that one day, unfortunately, your mom and dad are going to pass away. You always think they're going to be 90 years old and it's going to be nicely in their sleep and you're all together. But it doesn't always work like that.
"[And] you never kind of expect to lose a younger brother."
Jake estimates it's taken him about '10 years to be able to speak about' his dad and brother's passing 'without getting upset'.
"I always try my hardest to take positives from anything that happens in my life and there's no positive from losing your dad and brother but I got to see a strength in my little brother that hopefully is inside me.
"He never moaned about being poorly - never."
In an interview with the Sun in 2018, Jake previously reflected quite harshly on himself and how he acted in the wake of his brother's passing - "I did nothing. I laid on my mum's sofa not working or making money."
He now reflects it's 'sometimes good to sit in your pyjamas and eat Doritos all day' and 'accept you're going to be sad and have those really down days where you don't want to do anything'. Although, he also notes anyone going through grief should try their best to not let it 'control you'.
Losing someone 'is going to be the worst thing that ever happens in your life,' Jake warns, but 'if you let it eat away at you too much, you're never going to achieve anything'.
"And it's also just hurting other people around you," the 35-year-old adds, adding that he ended up causing his mum 'more stress'.
"There's no right or wrong way with dealing with grief. You've just got a kind of find your way back to being able to get on with things." he said.
According to Jake, the first year after losing someone close to you is 'the worst' and in his experience, there was 'no happiness in it'.
"I wouldn't say it gets easier in time," he also adds. But, Jake reassures that he thinks the grief does 'become more processable' as life goes on.
"I'd never say it's easier. I still have days where I don't want to do anything. I still have days where I sit in and have a good cry over not being able to talk to my dad or my brother. But we all find these little ways of dealing with it. You can live with it."
Trolls impacted Jake on his journey with his grief, some criticising him for speaking out 'too much' about his father and brother's passing online, telling the 34-year-old to 'give it a rest now'.
"I feel like trolls [are] a weird one because you're always gonna get trolled no matter what you do, no matter who you are, no matter if you doing good," Jake reflects.
He adds: "Yeah, I do talk about them a lot, but again, if it helps one person then I've done a job.
"There could be a young lad who's just lost his mom and listens to one thing that I say is and goes, 'Actually, I'm gonna go to the gym today. And I'm gonna see if it makes me feel better.'
"And he gets home when he feels one percent better, then it's all worth it."
While opening up about his grief online has helped Jake process his losses, Jake goes to his friends for a different type of support.
"Do you know what? I'd say that my friends were were pretty bad at talking about the loss, but they were pretty good at making me feel normal."
One Father's Day, one of Jake's friends turned round to him and said: "Cheap one for you Quickenden."
"I had a moment where I was like, 'It's a cheap one' and I was a bit upset. But then it made me laugh, he laughed and I was fine.
"I didn't need to sit and talk about my dead dad. I just needed to sit and chat and a have a laugh.
"I just needed to be the same."
His father and brother's passing has left him with an immense amount of grief to deal with, however, Jake believes being forced to experience such immense loss has taught him to be aware you 'never know what's around the corner'.
"And you may as well just live, you may as well just enjoy every second and test yourself and step outside your comfort zone."
Jake admits that he 'used to really want to be famous' and 'make it in certain ways'.
"I just want to have a happy, quiet existence. Make money, be able to do things with my family and live happily."
To anyone else facing - or having already faced - the loss of a loved one, Jake resolves: "Always try and think that even though you're probably going to go through one of the hardest things of your life, you can still get up in the morning, there's still amazing things that are going to happen in your life that you can't let losing them take away because they'll still be watching.
"So you've got to make sure you live your life even more to the fullest, because it's like a movie now. They're going to be watching from afar so you've got to make them proud."
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence, contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677