WAY member Hannah features in ITVBe documentary

November 2022

On 1 December, Kelsey Parker’s documentary Life After Tom is due to air on ITVBe at 9pm. In the first episode, Kelsey joins a WAY meet up and talks to Kent WAY membersSarah, Hannah and Michael - and WAY Ambassador Emma - about their experiences of being widowed young. 

Read Hannah's story

Hannah with family

Hannah was widowed in 2016 when her husband died of lymphoma. She was just 34 at the time and has two boys who were then 2 and 7. In the years since being widowed, Hannah has totally changed careers – and is planning to train as a teacher. We asked her why she decided to take part in the documentary…

“I wanted to get involved with the documentary for a number of reasons. I feel like so much of life after bereavement of a partner is negative, and all about the struggles. I wanted to put across that, sometimes, a positive can come out of such a negative experience. I was also eager to talk about the importance of support for children in school following the death of a parent, and that schools should appreciate that this type of bereavement isn’t ‘done and dusted’ after a course of counselling; that it recurs at various times, and can be without a seemingly obvious trigger. 

Schools can also be invaluable as they have more of an ‘outside’ view of the child while also knowing them very well – my youngest’s teacher told me that he was really confused about the order of events and had a ‘confused narrative’. I sorted this out by creating a photo book of my son’s life, which also showed a timeline of his dad’s illness. 

What was the filming like?

The day of the filming was lovely. It felt very much like a ‘normal’ chat, with a lot also being spoken about off-camera as well as on. 

I think the main thing I wanted to get across was not worrying about other people’s expectations. It was clear from what Kelsey said that she had a really good support network, which was great to hear. I also spoke about forging ahead without always thinking ‘what would my husband have wanted for the children’. As my sister once said, ‘he isn’t here – you are!’ 


Photo caption: Kelsey meets up with WAY members in Kent as part of ITVBe's Life After Tom documentary.

Kelsey Park in the Life After Tom documentary

@ITV / Life After Tom