How it Feels to Vlog Your Wife’s Death

For Tom Mills, losing his wife Andrea was devastating. His YouTube audience helped him through the process

Amelia Tait


Image: The Mills Family

Moments after his wife of 20 years passed away in a hospice close to the Wyoming home where she raised nine children, Tom Mills turned on his camera and started a YouTube live stream. “Andrea’s passed away,” Mills said before panning the camera around his grieving family and thanking his viewers for their prayers. The two-minute video ends with a two-second shot of Andrea’s body lying peacefully on a hospital bed.

Andrea Mills started her YouTube channel in October 2014 as a place to document life as a religious family of 11. She shared organisational tips, vlogs of her home-schooling schedule, and even the home-births of many of her children. Before she passed away from cancer and complications from a miscarriage on August 19 2019, Andrea had gained 50,000 loyal subscribers. “The people that she touched, they were not YouTube fans,” says Tom Mills now. “They were people that knew our names, that send my kids individual birthday cards, all nine of them, for all their birthdays.”

Andrea’s sickness and passing was sudden and shocking. Through tears, 43-year-old Mills recounts how his wife spent days lying in bed in pain before doctors said her gallbladder…