Jonathan Walters Speaks Openly About The Tragic Loss Of His Mum
For the occasion of International Women's Day, Burnley and Ireland player Jonathan Walters spoke openly today of losing his mother when he was just 11-years-old.
A firm favourite among Ireland fans since making his debut in 2010, Walters recalled the time he came to the realisation that something was seriously wrong with his mother:
I remembered we booked a holiday ... we weren't poor by any means, but we weren't so well of, so this was our first or second holiday.
We used to go to Ireland every school holiday, but we'd booked a holiday [to Spain] and we were all really excited, but mum was getting progressively worse, and we were told a week before we went by my Dad.
An incredibly open discussion on such a harrowing topic can be very difficult to listen to at times. Describing the moment when his father told he and his brothers that their mother had cancer, Walters admits that until recently, he had not been able to speak to anyone about it:
We just got told, 'look, your mum is not going to be around for much longer.' I took myself off and probably cried for about six hours, seven hours.
Exploring how such a traumatic loss can impact upon a young life, Walters' honesty is highly commendable.
Conceding that he tried not "to deal with it" for as long as he could, Walters has until recently tried to "lock it away" and not consider the situation at all.
A parent himself with children of a similar age to him when his mother died, it is this aspect of imagining how he could explain such a thing to his kids that really appeared to demonstrate to Walters just how hard he had tried to put it as far from his mind as possible.
It is a process that began for Walters almost immediately:
I went to school [the day after she passed] and I got told to take the register to the head-teacher, and the [teachers] knew what was happening and they had sent me out of the room to tell everyone.
I came back into the class and my mates are there like, 'are you ok?' And you pretend you are. That was Year 6 in school, and you're one of the big boys in school, a popular boy and you put on a show.
I think from that point you put up a wall. I used to just say I was fine to everyone.
An incredibly open interview from Walters, it is really worth taking the time to listen to it in whole. It is available here.