The sad news yesterday of the death of Peaches Geldof, took me back many years. At the time her mother Paula Yates and I shared a solicitor. Paula was divorcing Bob Geldof and whilst we never met, her erratic timekeeping sometimes impacted on my appointments. I gained the impression she was not the easiest of clients. When Paula was presenting The Big Breakfast Show I was invited to go onto the programme, but having briefly watched it, I felt that it would not exactly enhance my professional reputation, so declined, as I also did with invites from Jerry Springer and Jeremy Kyle.
My other link to Peaches is less tenable, she is only one year younger than my own daughter. Her two boys are a year or so younger than my own grandsons. Newspaper articles in the more respectable papers today talk of the trauma Peaches experienced when her parents divorced, no doubt increased by the death of her mother. Much has been written about Peaches feeling unable to grieve for her mother or burying that grief deep within herself.
My own daughter, whilst knowing her mother, did not spend much time living with her as she grew up. As is common in many African cultures (my daughter is Zulu) my daughter was mainly raised by other family members whilst her birth Mum was busy qualifying in her profession and making a living. However, she cannot remember her father, who died in an unexplained car accident when she was just three years old. She feels that loss still and has tried hard to ensure her sons have a father who is involved in their lives and well as other positive male role models.
Peaches was clearly determined to give her boys a more stable home life than she had experienced, much like my own daughter. I often reflect than when we become parents ourselves we either parent our children as we were parented, or as I, my daughter and Peaches have done parent diametrically opposite the way we were raised.
We may still have the same goals of teaching our children good manners, respect for others and a good work ethic, as well as the spiritual and moral codes we hope they will share, and pass on to their own children. But how we help our children achieve these is often expressed in positive actions rather than the negativity that may have clouded our own childhood.
My thoughts and prayers are with Tom Cohen, those two beautiful boys Astala and Phaedra and the Geldof family at this time. In Judaism we say; ‘Zikhronah livrakha’ may her memory be for a blessing.