Speaking about the loss she said: "Following my sister Julia’s death last June, I didn’t feel I could ever go back to work again. It seemed wrong to be cheery on screen, when inside my heart was breaking. I just thought being ‘happy’ would be a lie – and disrespectful to my only sibling, my only sister, my Big Sis – who looked after me at school and in early life, and whose passing was even more painful, if that was possible, than that of my father, Dennis, eight years ago. She was quite simply the kindest, most helpful, gentle soul you could ever meet."
Ruth describes how she was left bereft, with no desire to be in the public eye – until her husband Eamonn Holmes stepped in.
She said: "Eamonn comforted me and let me cry, scream and sob for a month – then he gave me one of his Eamonn talks.
"He showed me how I had so much to live for in Julia’s memory and beyond. Julia had a terrible illness – depression. He pleaded with me not to let it win, by ruining everything I had achieved and still had to celebrate."
Soon after, Ruth was invited to appear on the revival of Play Your Cards Right, hosted by Alan Carr. Encouraged by Eamonn, she said she "cautiously" decided to give it a go for the chance to win money for the Alzheimer's Society, of which she is an ambassador as she lost her dad Dennis to the disease in 2012.
A very tense game ensued, which saw Eamonn and Ruth get to the final – and ultimately win the biggest cash prize possible of £33,000 after choosing to go 'lower' on a Jack card.
Ruth became emotional on-screen and explained: "This was for £33,000 – but I realised it was for far more than that. It was for Dad. It was for everyone else who had died or was suffering from Alzheimer’s, and their families. It was for all those thousands of fundraising Memory Walks so many of us do... and it was for Julia, just because it was, just because she would have wanted this for Dad, too."
Read Ruth's full column in the new issue of Best magazine is on sale now.
To donate to theAlzheimer’s Society, see alzheimers.org.uk.
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