Gary Barlow reveals how loss of daughter gave him the ‘gift of perspective’

·3-min read
Gary Barlow reveals how loss of daughter gave him the ‘gift of perspective’

Gary Barlow has shared how the loss of his daughter in 2012 is a permanent “scar” in his life, but something that gave him new perspective.

The singer and his wife Dawn Andrews announced in August 2012 that their fourth child, Poppy Barlow, had been delivered stillborn. The couple have three other children: Daisy, Daniel and Emily Barlow.

Ahead of his new one-man show in London’s West End, titled A Different Stage, Barlow opened up about how the experience taught him a lesson about “what’s important”.

Recalling the tragedy, Barlow told The Mirror he “turned into bloody Inspector Gadget” in order to cope with the news that the pregnancy had gone wrong just four days before Dawn’s due date.

“Speak to the doctors, tick. Clothes for the hospital, tick. Somewhere for the kids to go, tick. The only problem is Inspector Gadget doesn’t have a gizmo for this,” he said.

“It was like sitting in our house and saying, ‘The journey you are about to take is going to end in a car crash’. Then sadly handing you the keys.”

Barlow and Andrews were able to spend an hour with Poppy after she was delivered and spent the time taking photographs and cuddling her, “anything to try and extend those short 60 minutes”, he said.

The former Take That band member praised his wife for her strength following the stillbirth and detailed how she continued organising her three older children’s lives while “coping with loss so deep”.

“I found myself back in that familiar place, not knowing any of the words or where to stand, nor what to say,” he admitted.

“I needed to accept this wasn’t a scar that was going to heal with time, this was a scar I was going to die with.”

However, Poppy’s brief life gave Barlow a chance to reflect on his life in a way he had never done before.

Explaining that his song “Let Me Go” was about celebrating her, he added: “This guy has got the gift of Poppy Barlow, the gift of perspective. I’d never had that before. A real lesson into what’s important.”

In his 2018 autobiography A Better Me, Barlow wrote candidly about the importance of being able to spend time with Poppy after she was delivered.

“It was one of the best hours of my life I’ve ever experienced in the midst of the hardest time of my life. It was very powerful, that hour was,” he wrote.

“Poppy looked perfect and for an hour she was alive to us. She’s in your arms, this beautiful little daughter of ours, a sister to our three other children. Then the reality comes rushing into the room and all the air leaves your lungs.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands on 0808 164 3332 or email helpline@sands.org.uk. The helpline is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday, and until 9.30pm on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

You can also find bereavement support at The Lullaby Trust by calling 0808 802 6868 or emailing support@lullabytrust.org.uk.