Living Life After Loss
- Actor John Travolta, 67, has had a tough year following the loss of his longtime love Kelly Preston to cancer last July, but he shows it’s possible to continue celebrating life.
- John Travolta recently expressed joy on Instagram for his Emmy nomination; He scooped up a nomination for his new film Die Hart with Kevin Hart for Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series.
- Losing a spouse is an unfathomable experience, but going to therapy and continuing to celebrate life’s moments can help in the healing process.
“Congrats to my fellow actors Nathalie and Kevin,” Travolta wrote on his Instagram following the exciting announcement. “Let’s have some fun the night of the Emmys!!”
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Die Hart was nominated for a total of three Emmys. “Congrats to my co-stars John Travolta on their Nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series and to Nathalie Emmanuel for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series. One of my favorite productions to date,” Hart had shared prior to Travolta’s re-post. “A phenomenal team in front of and behind the camera. Our team is just getting started. Congrats to all nominees!”
The only Emmy to date that Travolta has scooped up was for FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, which won for Best Limited Series in 2016. He was nominated for his role depicting the real-life lawyer Robert Shapiro in the show, but lost to co-star Sterling K. Brown, so this would be his first Emmy for his acting. Travolta and wife Preston had graced the red carpet for his big night in 2016, and sadly, this will be his first award show without his wife.
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John Travolta and Kelly Preston met in 1988, when they worked on The Experts together, and married in 1991. The devastated star announced the tragic news of her passing on his Instagram with a beautiful tribute and picture of his wife.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my beautiful wife Kelly has lost her two-year battle with breast cancer,” he wrote. “She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many.”
Travolta apologized in advance for his absence, as he would be taking care of his children who just lost their mother. “But please know that I will feel your outpouring of love in the weeks and months ahead as we heal,” he added.
Preston is survived by daughter Elle, 21, and son Benjamin, who is just 10 years old. In 2009, the couple tragically lost their firstborn son Jett, who had autism. He had a seizure and hit his head at their home in the Bahamas. The death of a spouse or parent is one of the hardest things that people can go through, but losing a child is often too deeply tragic for a parent to bear. The Travolta family has been through exceptional loss.
Healing Through Grief
Travolta emphasized the need for space during his grieving process, and he’s absolutely right. Losing a loved one to cancer can cause immeasurable pain, and allowing yourself the time and space to mourn is essential, and therapy can go a long way in this healing process. Those we have lost would not want us to be too broken to continue living life, so the best gift we can give to loved ones who have passed, is to keep experiencing life’s beautiful moments in their honor.
In an earlier interview with SurvivorNet, Camila Legaspi shared her own advice on grief after her mother died of breast cancer. For her, therapy made all the difference.
“Therapy saved my life,” says Legaspi. “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.”
“When you lose someone, it’s really, really, really hard,” says Legaspi. “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.”
Losing a Spouse to Cancer
A lot of the interviews we feature on SurvivorNet are with people who have actually taken on cancer, but what about those who have to watch someone they love take on the disease? This is a different kind of interview. John Duberstein lost his wife, writer Nina Riggs, to metastatic triple negative breast cancer. He says that while he was watching her suffer from the disease, he couldn’t help but wish things could go back to normal … but Nina had already embraced her new normal.
“I really wanted things to go back to normal, whatever that meant,” John says. “She was not for that. She wanted to embrace the existence that she had, even before she knew she was going to die imminently. I did not want to talk about what was going to happen with me after Nina died. Nina is the one that really brought it up, she brought it up a number of times. She wanted to make sure that I knew that it was OK … she really wanted me to have another relationship after she was gone.”
John says that even with the pain of losing Nina, and even though he didn’t want to talk about it at the time, he’s so glad that his wife started those seemingly uncomfortable conversations. “In retrospect, I can’t even explain how glad I am that I had that,” John says.
Travolta was with his wife in Clearwater, Fla. when she died, and although the couple was very private, it’s highly likely that they had these same conversations about the future and the future of their children.
The pain from losing a loved one never goes away, but cherishing life’s moments is a way to continue celebrating life, even through loss.