Moving Forward After Loss
- Actress Valerie Bertinelli recently celebrated her 63rd birthday, saying she was grateful to “have survived the hardest six years of my life.”
- Bertinelli was married to the late guitarist Eddie Van Halen from 1981 to 2007, but she still considers him to be a “soulmate.” He passed away from cancer in 2020.
- Bertinelli and her son with Eddie, Wolfgang, were there by his side during his final days.
- Grief is a complicated journey. And after losing a loved one to cancer, it’s an inevitable one.
- One woman told SurvivorNet that therapy played a life-saving role in coping with her mother’s death from breast cancer.
Valerie’s birthday was on April 23. She took to Instagram to share exactly how she planned to mark the milestone.
Read More“I am so over the moon grateful on my birthday this year!” Valerie wrote under a clip of her luggage at the Amsterdam airport. “I have survived the hardest six years of my life and now I’m in Amsterdam (one of my favorite places on earth with sweet special memories).” In addition to her travels, Valerie was also happy to share that she’s been watching musician Wolfgang Van Halen open for the band Metallica on Thursday, April 27. Wolf is the son of Valerie and the late iconic guitarist Eddie Van Halen. “And on Thursday, I get to watch my son open for Metallica!” she explained. “Life is good.” Hearing the phrase “life is good” from Valerie is a heartwarming thing. Especially since she’s overcome so much in recent years – including the loss of her first husband Eddie to cancer.View this post on Instagram
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Valerie Bertinelli on the Loss of Her “Soulmate”Valerie Bertinelli married the legendary Eddie Van Halen in 1981. The two brought Wolfgang Van Halen, 32, into the world in 1991 but decided to divorce in 2007. “I hated the drugs and the alcohol but I never hated him,” Valerie said of their tumultuous marriage. “I saw his pain.” RELATED: Valerie Bertinelli, 62, Files For Divorce From Estranged Executive Husband, 59: The Actress Only Recently Mourned The Loss Of Her First Love, Eddie Van Halen, 65, To Cancer
Despite their separation, the love the two shared for each other never truly faded. And Eddie’s battles with various forms of cancer brought them even closer.
“I loved Ed more than I know how to explain,” Valerie said. “I loved his soul.”
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During his final weeks before passing on October 6, 2020, Valerie and Wolf were by Eddie’s side in the hospital every day along with Eddie’s second wife, Janie Liszewski, and his brother, Alex Van Halen.
“‘I love you’ are the last words Ed says to Wolfie and me,” Valerie wrote in her memoir, “and they are the last words we say to him before he stops breathing.”
Although she wishes she had more time with Eddie after they reached “a beautiful place together” before his death, Valerie is grateful for the invaluable lesson the experience taught her.
“Love,” she said. “If there’s nothing else in this world, go back to that key point that you know you have inside you, that you know that you feel for the people that are closest to you. That love. Love always wins no matter what, even when they’re gone.
“There’s still that love there to be grateful for that you had.”
Losing a Loved One to Cancer
Grief is a complicated journey. And after losing a loved one to cancer, it’s an inevitable one. Especially when the person you lost played a huge role in your life.
“I Don’t Want to Move On; I Do Want To Move Forward”: Doug Wendt On Being A Caregiver and Tragically Losing His Wife to Ovarian Cancer
“My wife and I were together for 25 years,” former cancer caregiver Doug Wendt told SurvivorNet. “We were married for 23. We raised two children together, and we also ran a business together.
“So, our lives were intertwined in pretty much every way, which was wonderful. And it allowed us to take the ups and downs of life as a team rather than solo.”
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Devastatingly, Doug lost his wife Alice to ovarian cancer after a hard-fought, two-year battle with the disease. His advice to others faced with a similar heartbreak is to be thoughtful about moving forward after loss.
“We’re never going to move on,” he said. “I don’t even think I want to move on, but I do want to move forward.
“And that’s an important distinction, and I encourage anyone who goes through this journey as a caregiver who then has to face loss to think very carefully about how to move forward.”
Therapy can be a powerful tool if you’re struggling to cope after the loss of a loved one. Camila Legaspi, for instance, found it to to be nothing short of life-saving after her mother died of breast cancer.
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“Therapy saved my life,” Camilla said. “I was dealing with some really intense anxiety and depression at that point. It just changed my life, because I was so drained by all the negativity that was going on. Going to a therapist helped me realize that there was still so much out there for me, that I still had my family, that I still had my siblings.”
No matter how you decide to move forward after loss, know that things will get better. Time is not a cure-all by any means, but it might be just what you to work through the grief you’re feeling.
“When you lose someone, it’s really, really, really hard,” Camilla admitted. “I’m so happy that I talked to my therapist. Keep your chin up, and it’s going to be OK. No matter what happens, it’s going to be OK.”
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