Former England and Leicester hooker Tom Youngs has spoken about his feelings of “loneliness” after the death of his wife Tiffany.
“I’ve had days where I’ve thought how am I going to get through the day and I did,” he told BBC Breakfast.
“Never lose hope, the days get easier, life moves forward and you can enjoy life.”
Tiffany was first diagnosed with a lymphatic cancer in 2014 and Youngs pulled out of England’s tour of New Zealand that summer to care for her.
She was told in 2018 that she was in remission, but the cancer later returned, with former Leicester Tigers captain Youngs taking indefinite leave to care for her again in October 2021.
Following retirement and Tiffany’s death, Tom is back working on the family farm, which he says has helped to combat his feeling of “loneliness”.
He said: “I think the loneliness really hits you. But I have learned, I have gone through that and I am better for that experience because my reflection on life is better.
“I’m very lucky to have the farm. I want to work, I want to do that. Going through something that I have gone through, if you sit around and think too much, you drive yourself crazy.”
Youngs also says his nine-year-old daughter Maisie gives him purpose and the “responsibility to make sure she enjoys life as well”.
He added: “If you get that right, you can have one very resilient little girl who understands life far earlier than she should have done. You make her someone who can go and achieve a lot out of life.
“You can’t keep getting angry about something. I don’t see the advantages of living life like that.
“Never lose hope, the days get easier, life moves forward and you can enjoy life and not feel guilty about it. That’s all part of the grieving stages and getting through it.”
Youngs played 215 games for Leicester – the majority of his career, alongside brother Ben – and won 28 England caps as well as playing in three British and Irish Lions Tests in 2013.