Gary Barlow hopes writing about daughter's death will help other people
Gary Barlow hopes that writing about the death of his daughter will help other people going through the same heartache.
The Take That singer and his wife Dawn lost Poppy when she was stillborn at full term days before he was due to perform at the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.
Barlow said that the chapter in his autobiography, A Better Me, in which he writes of the unimaginable pain of losing his daughter was re-written three times.
He and his wife also spoke at length about whether to include the chapter in the book and changed their minds several times.
“The first time was very inaccurate in the way I remembered it, so I sat and wrote the last version with Dawn,” Barlow said.
“The thing that made us decide was how it will actually help other people. There is one thing about this, is that is has not really been talked about much.
“People say things like, ‘You’ve got three other kids’ and people don’t really understand your pain, it makes it more painful.
“For us it was the chance to help all the other people who are not understood either. It just felt like the right thing to do and the right thing to be in this book.
“All the comments I have ever had, everyone has been unbelievably supportive and I really thank everybody for that.”
Barlow, who was speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, told the audience of the moment his wife phoned him to tell him Poppy had died.
“It just felt like one of those unbelievably strange days. Dawn had not been feeling well, she had shot off back to London and we were two days off the due date,” he said.
“I got a phone call and Dawn said, ‘I can’t think of any other way of saying this but the baby has died’.
“The doctor had given her a scan and said he had the most terrible news. I just went into this flight-or-fight mode.
“We went in the following night and it was a very strange day and the doctor had told me that you get to hold the baby.
“I was just dreading this thing happening and when she did give birth, it was amazing. We had the most incredible hour with our daughter.
“It was like a light coming into the room. It was gorgeous, both holding her, taking photographs and footprints, it was the most gorgeous hour.
“We had our moment and we were kind of happy with it and then we went home to a very empty house. Then we started organising the funeral because these things need organising.
“It was a very strange time but as the man in the middle of all of this, it was very heart-breaking watching the person that you love walking around the room with their dead baby.
“I just wanted to take care of her, that was all that was on my mind.”
Barlow married Dawn in 2000 and the couple have three other children; Daniel, Emily and Daisy.
He said that he does not think his family will over get over the loss of Poppy.
“At that point I wasn’t even starting to grieve, really, because I wanted to take care of her because we had three other kids,” Barlow said.
“We all just looked after Dawn. We tried to be there for her. It is something I don’t think we will ever recover from, especially her.”
He also does not believe he has finished grieving.
“I have done bits and pieces. My dad died in 2009 and that was a very different grief. It was grief without responsibility, I guess is the difference,” he said.
“As a son, it is a big thing to lose your father. The Poppy grief was very different and I actually believe I have probably not done it all. It keeps coming out in different ways still.”
The former X Factor judge also spoke of the shock of losing his record deal and putting on weight and battling depression.
He said that now he always gives his all in every concert he performs because he wants to make his fans happy.
Asked what his legacy was, Barlow replied: “I really enjoy making people happy. I don’t want to make people sad. As a legacy, I just always want to make people happy.”