Jade made her name in Big Brother in the UK and has become a product of reality television in just about every form that it has up to having her own show now where her life is shadowed by television cameras.
Jade, tragically, has an aggressive form of cervical cancer. She is desperately unwell and she has been told that she is at the latter stages of the illness as the cancer has spread.
It is desperately hard to feel anything except enormous pity for Jade. She is young and she has a young family. She made a statement that she wants to publicise her illness in order to create a better future for her sons.
I don’t think we would begrudge her that, except, as Madmutt says, does the limit come at any point as we are ‘treated’ to an endless stream of news and photos on a daily basis which express her clearly deteriorating health.
Of course it is right that she should be praised for raising awareness of cervical cancer and the need for screening.
But I can’t help but feel uncomfortable about the bombardment of media interest in her condition. I know she wants it. It does have a feel of excessiveness though.
My ‘take’ on it, as you will, is that my own mother died of cancer when I was a little bit older than Jade’s children are now. The time between diagnosis and death was relatively short – months, rather than years.
I can’t help but think of Jade’s children in the future and how they will perceive the pictures of pain that are daily streamed even on the BBC news. There is no way to avoid the media coverage.
Perceptions of death, dying and illness are very different when viewed through the eyes of a primary age child – who might be sheltered from some of the pains of life by a parent – you know, the hamster that ‘goes to sleep’ or the dog that ‘goes to live in a farm in the country’. But when it is the parent that goes, these explanations and simplifications come back to play with the mind.
In retrospect, it is perhaps easier to see how I moved through different ‘stages’ of grief as I moved through my adolescence. I think the ‘anger’ stage was one of the more difficult to bear.
I was angry at her for leaving me – us (the family – my siblings and father). How could she do this? Why didn’t she fight harder against the illness?
Of course, you move on from this stage eventually – and obviously, I am at a very different stage now, but thinking about Jade’s children, I have to wonder how helpful this process of sharing their mother with the media will be to them in the longer term.
I hope they have a lot of stability and support around them. My fear is that sometimes more money does not equal more support.
And I really do hope the media back off soon. It is getting beyond tasteful – although I think that happened a while ago – and although I accept she wants to have the publicity, I can’t help but wishing there were a way to avoid it or restrict it to outlets that I choose to read or buy.
Perhaps that is a more personal reaction from me though, as I can’t help but draw parallels and can’t escape from some of the more painful memories that reside in the ‘me-as-a-child’ sections of my mind that are for the most part locked away.