A Tragic Family Story
- Singer Adele just lost her estranged father, Mark Evans, 57, to bowel cancer. They did not reconcile before he passed.
- Evans, whose dad also died from bowel cancer at 57, went into a dark place after his father’s death; he and Adele’s relationship then suffered even more, and she became angered when he spoke with the press about her.
- A licensed marriage and family therapist explains the complexity of loss and missed opportunities of reconciliation with SurvivorNet.
Sadly, the 15-time Grammy award winner never really had much of a relationship with him and did not reconcile with Evans before his death.Read More
“I was a rotten father at a time when she really needed me,” the self-admitted alcoholic told The Sun in a 2011 interview. “I was putting away two liters of vodka and seven or eight pints of Stella every day. I drank like that for three years. God only knows how I survived it. I was deeply ashamed of what I’d become, and I knew the kindest thing I could do for Adele was to make sure she never saw me in that state.”
Evans’ father, John, (Adele’s grandfather) also died at 57 from bowel cancer, according to the same 2011 interview. His father’s death coupled with some other traumatic events like his close friend’s heart attack put Evans into a tailspin, seeking escape.
“I was in the darkest place you can imagine,” he admitted. “I saw no way out. I didn’t really care whether I lived or died.”
Despite the unfortunate circumstance of the father-daughter relationship or lack thereof, Evans shared that he did have some sweet moments with his daughter as a baby.
“I’d lie on the sofa all night cradling Adele in my arms and listening to my favourite music — Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Bob
Dylan and Nina Simone,” he described. “Night after night I’d play those records. I’m certain that is what shaped Adele’s music.”
His love for blues music is what influenced his pick for Adele’s middle name: Blue.
Adele was irate that her father did an interview about her. The private star told Vogue in a 2012 interview that she was “actually ready to start trying to have a relationship with him. He’s f*****g blown it. He will never hear from me again.”
Then, at the 2017 Grammys, while praising her longtime manager Jonathan Dickins during one of her speeches, she shared even harsher feelings about Evans.
“We’ve been together for 10 years, and I love you like you’re my dad,” she said of Dickins. “I love you so, so much. I don’t love my dad, that’s the thing. That doesn’t mean a lot. I love you like I would love my dad.”
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Adele Laurie Blue Adkins just turned 33 on May 5, displaying a rare makeup-free photo without her hair perfectly coiffed. The soulful vocalist recently made a stunning transformation, shocking fans around the world with a photo of a svelte new figure on her last birthday. Her divorce with ex-husband, businessman Simon Konecki, was just finalized in March and they share custody of their son Angelo, 8.
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The Loss of a Family Member without Reconciliation
The topic of reconciling with an ill relative or friend prior to their passing is multi-dimensional. It is common that people hold on to guilt when not making amends with a loved one before their death, no matter how poor of a relationship they had.
Natalie D’Annibale, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, tells SurvivorNet that grief is a complex emotion.
“Reconciliation within interpersonal relationships may or may not benefit the survivor at the time of a family member’s or former friend’s passing,” she says.
She explains that it is normal to experience feelings of remorse or regret if the survivor had caused emotional (or physical) harm to the person who died, particularly if apologies were not extended to and/or apologies were not accepted by the deceased.
“Conversely, there might be a great relief following the passing of someone who has caused great harm to the survivor,” she explains. “If the person who abused you in life by way of emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse passes away, there can be great relief and finality at the time of their death.”
D’Annibale says that a loved one with a long-term illness may create “compassion fatigue.” At the time of passing, “there is relief that the loved one is no longer in pain and that their responsibilities have lessened.” The variables involved include the type of relationship, the ages of the parties, the length of their relationship, the years out of communication, and the willingness to accept responsibility, are all additional factors to consider in how one might feel surviving the loss of another.
“Most importantly, would be for the survivor to take the time to explore and understand the stages of grief. Those would include shock and denial, guilt, anger, bargaining, depression and ultimately acceptance,” she says. “It is quite common to experience the stages repeatedly during the first year of loss. Reminders, holidays, birthdays, special events, etc., will continue to trigger the survivor and may reengage memories that are either positive or negative of the person who died.”
Finding a licensed therapist who specializes in grief and loss as well as grief and loss support groups is most beneficial for the individual survivor to explore their feelings.
What is Bowel Cancer?
Bowel cancer, which caused Adele’s father’s death, is a general term for cancer that begins in the large bowel, according to the U.K.’s National Health Service, and is one one of the most common cancers in the UK. It can also be referred to as colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where it starts.
A change in bowel habits is a common indicator of colon cancer; other symptoms like unintentional weight loss can be more difficult to identify.
Dr. Paul Oberstein, an oncologist at the Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health, tells SurvivorNet early detection is key to better outcomes in colon cancer.
“One of the most important facts about colon cancer is that the earlier and smaller it’s detected, the easier the treatment is and the more likely it is to be cured,” he says, explaining that because colon cancers grow in the lining of the colon, they sometimes can cause problems with digestion. “So someone may have constipation or diarrhea or problems going to the bathroom. Sometimes, they’ll cause pain if they’re growing large. Rarely, they can grow large enough to be felt as sort of a firm growth in the abdomen.”
The growths can cause bleeding. “A person might see what’s called black tarry stools. So they might see darkness in their bowel movements. They go to the bathroom, and they notice a change in their bowel habits. And that’s a sign of bleeding in the stool that’s caused by the cancer.”
If a person has significant bleeding, they can develop what’s called anemia, which is low blood counts, and be tired or have trouble with normal activities because of those blood counts.
“We often recommend to patients that if they see a change in their bowel movements and they feel more fatigued than usual, or they have new issues, it’s something to be concerned about and to be pursued with their physician,” Dr. Oberstein says.
Since Adele’s father and grandfather both died from colon cancer at a relatively young age, 57, it is important to have genetic testing done, and make sure to get screened early for colon cancer. For those with a family history of colon cancer, or any other type of cancer, communicating this history with your doctor and getting checked regularly is crucial, and could save your life.