Losing a Spouse to Cancer
- Acclaimed actor Richard E. Grant celebrates his 66th birthday today, two years after losing his beloved wife to lung cancer cancer.
- Grant has a memoir entitled “A Pocketful of Happiness” coming out later this year that was written in honor of his wife’s final request for him to find a “pocketful of happiness in every day.”
- SurvivorNet has talked with many people who’ve felt the painful sting of a cancer-related loss.
- One of the things that helped Camila Legaspi immensely after the loss of her mother to breast cancer was therapy.
- If you are trying to cope with the loss of a loved one or handle any other mental health issue, consider visiting SurvivorNet’s resources on taking care of both your body and mind.
Grant made his film debut as Withnail in the 1987 comedy “Withnail and I,” and the iconic actor has stayed busy ever since. One of his most recent roles came with “Persuasion” – Netflix’s 2022 adaptation of the Jane Austen novel of the same name.Read More
“Unexpectedly, he met and fell in love with a renowned dialect coach Joan Washington. Their relationship and marriage, navigating the highs and lows of Hollywood, parenthood, and loss, lasted almost forty years. When Joan died in 2021, her final challenge to him was to find a ‘pocketful of happiness in every day.’
“This honest and frequently hilarious memoir is written in honor of that challenge.”
Richard E. Grant Loses the Love of His Life
Richard E. Grant and Joan Washington married in 1986. They shared a daughter, Olivia, and a stepson, Tom, from Washington’s previous relationship.
Over the course of their 35-year marriage, it’s likely the couple faced many trials and tribulations – but none greater than Washington’s cancer battle.
Washington was diagnosed with lung cancer just eight months prior to her death on Sept. 2, 2021, at age 71. Before he revealed her cause of death, Grant shared the sweetest video of the two of them dancing to “Only You” by The Platters.
🎵ONLY YOU!🎵Joan – Love of my Life & Giver of Life to our daughter Olivia. Our hearts are broken with the loss of your Life last night. 35 years married & 38 together. To be truly known and seen by you, is your immeasurable gift. Do not forget us, sweet Monkee-mine 💔💔💔💔💔💔 pic.twitter.com/YcdVAVK1ja
— Richard E. Grant (@RichardEGrant) September 3, 2021
“ONLY YOU!” Grant wrote in his heartbreaking caption.
“Joan – Love of my Life & Giver of Life to our daughter Olivia. Our hearts are broken with the loss of your Life last night. 35 years married & 38 together. To be truly known and seen by you, is your immeasurable gift. Do not forget us, sweet Monkee-mine.”
About a week after her passing, Grant penned a touching tribute to the love of his life and gave more details about her harrowing battle with stage 4 cancer.
In every sentence scribed and every phrase formed, it’s heartbreakingly easy to see how much he truly adored Washington.
The Toughest Conversations: Losing a Spouse to Cancer
“Since her stage four lung cancer diagnosis two days before Christmas, she was accepting, clear sighted, sanguine and totally without self pity,” Grant wrote for the Daily Mail.
“It’s been my privilege to be by your side, sharing our last eight months together, enabling us to say everything we possibly wanted and needed to, so that when you asked Olivia and me two weeks ago ‘to let me go,’ we unequivocally said ‘yes.’
“Olivia and I are profoundly grateful for everything that you’ve gifted us with, and we’re relieved that you no longer have to struggle for breath. Our loss is incalculable. Your love is immeasurable. The depth of our grief is mirrored by the magnitude of our love.”
Expert Mental Health Resources
Coping With Grief
Richard E. Grant has, more than understandably so, struggled with grief these past couple years. Thankfully, he’s done an amazing job trying to move forward without moving on – as evidenced by his upcoming memoir.
“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
“[Writing the book] was like resurrecting my wife, because I went through all the stuff of how we met and all the good things that happened to us [over] almost 40 years together, career and personal,” he reportedly said on a podcast.
“So that was amazingly helpful.”
Even in the day-to-day, Grant makes a point to honor and remember Washington in a healing way. He recently posted a video of him rocking “one of her big, floppy sun hats.”
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“This would have tickled my wife, toothsomely,” he wrote in his caption.
In previous conversations with SurvivorNet, we’ve talked with many people who’ve felt the painful sting of a cancer-related loss. One of the things that helped Camila Legaspi immensely after the loss of her mother to breast cancer was therapy.
“Therapy Saved My Life”: After Losing A Loved One, Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
“Therapy saved my life,” she 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.”
If you are trying to cope with the loss of a loved one or handle any other mental health issue, consider visiting SurvivorNet’s resources on taking care of both your body and mind.
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