Tom Parker was one fifth of the noughties boyband, The Wanted but, career aside, was a hugely admirable person. Sometimes it is not someone’s success or popularity that catches your eye, but their attitude and abundance of love.
Our motto here at The Wellbeing Collective is ‘let your values lead’. I believe that Tom Parker did this every day and that it is this internal happiness and sense of grounding that contributed to his external happiness and the memories he made. I utterly admired Tom’s attitude towards life and the way he embodied his human experience. I think he nailed it. You don’t have to “live each day like it’s your last” but certainly try your best to simply live each day – live each moment.
Tom was very present, feeling what he felt as it came and acting on things instantly. It’s the definition of mindfulness, really: not being overly conscious of everything you do and wanting to soak up the here and now. All too often we follow our hearts only in the moments when we become lost and are in desperate need of unjudged guidance. Tom followed his heart always. It was his main guide. I feel that there really is something to be said for leaning into your moral compass and letting your conscious mind follow. My brain sometimes talks me out of my first idea (a lot of the time, my best); it can over-explain things and is out of habit with switching off; it can get on my nerves. My heart, on the other hand…Never. If ever I perceive my heart’s guidance to be wrong, it is down to misinterpretation or judgement. My heart doesn’t lie and it isn’t affected by nurture or negativity. It is an organ that is still so instinctive and inherently honest no matter my environment. Whilst I might catch my lungs taking shallow breaths or my feet scuffing the ground, my heart beats rhythmically and doesn’t step out of line. It is constant and reliable. Tom Parker knew this too.
Tom emulated positivity and this did not waver even when he was tragically diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in October 2020. He set to raise awareness and money for brain cancer, all whilst expecting a second baby and living through a pandemic. He organised a Stand Up to Cancer charity gig in 2021 at the Royal Albert Hall, inviting artists like Ed Sheeran and Liam Payne to perform. He also performed himself, reuniting The Wanted after seven years. The profits were split between Stand Up To Cancer and the National Brain Appeal. I don’t believe that this gig was something that Tom mulled over for a long time. He simply felt that it was the right thing to do – instantly – so decided that he would do it. He was a very committed man who gave everything his full attention. I recognise that what makes me feel alive – aside from the occasional euphoric moments that are more special – is just pouring my energy into one thing at a time. Giving things my full, undivided attention is the key to getting the most out of them.
I had the privilege of seeing The Wanted perform in early March with Tom coming on stage for the last two songs. The energy in the room was so poignant – it was a space where everyone shared their love, care and support. If you look for the goodness on this Earth, there is so much to be found.
Tom died on 30th March 2022 with his friends and family. He put out a lot of love into this world and received it back again tenfold over. I will not take from Tom what he did with his life but how he lived it. With positivity, mindfulness and love.
It is Brain Cancer Awareness Month and as good a time as any to celebrate Tom’s life and people like him who have suffered needlessly. Tom’s wife Kelsey – who matched Tom’s strength and keenness to find light in darkness – has set up a Just Giving page in the wake of Tom’s death. Click here to donate and join thousands of people who want to support those in similar situations.
The Wanted has also released a special version of one of their charting songs Gold Forever (For Tom) with all proceeds going to The Brain Tumour Charity.
Tom’s book Hope is due to come out on 26th May.
Tom did a documentary with Channel 4 called Inside My Head which I have watched a couple of times and is even more resonant now than when it came out.
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