Moving on After Losing Your Spouse to Cancer
- Emmy-winning actor Damian Lewis, most known for his role opposite Claire Danes in Homeland, was recently spotted out for one of the first times since losing his beloved wife.
- Peaky Blinders star Helen McCrory lost her battle with breast cancer just over one year ago at 52 years old. The actor nobly stepped away from work last year to focus on raising their teenagers.
- After the loss of a loved one to cancer or another illness, it’s imperative that you allow yourself time to grieve. People process grief in different ways, and everyone moves at their own speed as well. Be gentle with yourself and take the time you need.
Lewis, 51, attended The House of KOKO unveiling in central London. The private members-only club is attached to the historic KOKO theatre and concert venue.Read More
It has been a little over a year after he and his family’s tragic loss, and hopefully this event sighting is a sign that he is starting to heal, although the pain surely never goes away.
In an October interview with The New York Times, the Emmy winner announced that he would not be acting for some time. Instead, he aimed to put his focus on raising his 14-year old son Gulliver, and his daughter Manon, age 15.
Their mom played a leading role in the mega-popular series Peaky Blinders and Harry Potter fans most lovingly remember her as “Narcissa Malfoy” in the film franchise’s last three films. McCrory’s death came as a shock to fans around the world, as she had battled her disease privately.
Lewis shared the devastating news on his Twitter page. “The beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family,” he wrote.
— Damian Lewis (@lewis_damian) April 16, 2021
Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight called McCrory’s death a tragedy in an interview at the season premiere in Birmingham. “After she’d gone we knew she wanted this thing to continue and we hope we have continued in a respectful and appropriate way,” he said. “Moving forward she will always be part of Peaky.”
Keeping a Cancer Battle Private
A health battle is a deeply personal matter, and it is up to the individual to determine who has the right and privilege to know about your diagnoses. Being in the public eye can be a lot of pressure as well. so that can also be a factor in a performer’s decision. Sometimes they want to fight in peace without the pressure and want their legacy to live on as intended.
It’s important to do what feels right to you after your diagnosis, and not cave in to any pressure to share your diagnosis with others before you’re ready or to share it more widely than you’d like. You have complete control over your health and the sharing of any news related to it.
Dr. Marianna Strongin, a licensed clinical psychologist and founder of Strong In Therapy Psychology, tells SurvivorNet that whether someone shares this heavy news is indeed their personal preference. “I recommend sharing, I’m a therapist,” Strongin says, “but to whom and how many people is up to the person [with cancer].”
There are plenty of people, like McCrory, who have chosen not to share their cancer battle publicly. While Strongin says that she encourages sharing, she also recognizes there’s also a personality factor at play when it comes to whether a person shares this deeply personal news; some people are more willing to share, and some are just more private, Strongin adds. The difference, she says, is what’s the process in sharing versus not sharing.
Strongin mentions one of her patients who has explored the reasons why she didn’t tell people about her cancer diagnosis. For the patient, Strongin says, “it was coming to terms with the identity of being sick.”
Coping with Grief
After the loss of a loved one to cancer or another illness, it’s imperative that you allow yourself time to grieve. People process grief in different ways, and everyone moves at their own speed as well. Be gentle with yourself and take the time you need.
For Camila Legaspi, who lost her mom to breast cancer when she was only in high school, she found therapy to be a critical component of her grieving and subsequent healing process. In an earlier interview, Legaspi says, “Therapy saved my life. 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,” she says. “The reality is, is when you lose someone, it’s really, really, really hard. And it’s totally OK to talk to someone. And I’m so happy that I talked to my therapist. Keep your chin up.”
If wearing occasional double denim to parties in London is Damian Lewis’s way of keeping his chin up, we are here for it, and hope to see him back on the TV screen very soon!