Menounos on the Stages of Grief
- Maria Menounos lost her mother to stage four brain cancer this spring, and in the new episode of her podcast, she details her process of grief.
- Her mom, Litsa, was diagnosed in 2016 at age 61.
- Coping with the loss of a parent may be helped with support services like therapy.
She says her therapist, Brian, said to her, “Why look for the reason you’re not grieving differently? Why not just accept this is how you’re grieving? Maybe you’re stronger than you think.”
Menounos says that at the beginning of her grief process, after her mom died, she was exhausted. “I think we were really good at thriving during the bad times,” she says to husband Keven on-air. “We know how to survive and thrive.”
Her husband lost his father when he was 20 years old; he says it took nearly a decade for him to grieve the loss, and what helped was focusing on gratitude, and being grateful for the time he had with his father.
Maria says that activities like dinner with friends, playing with different styles and new clothes, and home renovations, all served as a distraction in the wake of losing her mom.
She keeps a photo of her mom in the kitchen. “Every day I look at her and say hi, and I kiss it and tell her I love her. I keep trying to call her. One day I actually did it, I Facetimed her. The stages [of grief] are so crazy to deal with,” says Menounos.
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Litsa’s Brain Cancer Battle
Litsa was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, one of the most common—and most aggressive—brain tumors in 2016 when she was 61 years old. For those with brain cancer, treatment options include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. The treatment path will typically depend upon the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis.
While Menounos was taking care of her mother, she started having strange symptoms like ear pain, dizziness and blurred vision. She told her mother’s doctor, thinking she was crazy that she was having similar issues. After an MRI, they discovered a golf ball-sized (non-cancerous) benign tumor.
“When they gave me the official diagnosis, I actually started laughing,” Maria said in an interview. “I was just like, I can’t believe this could possibly be happening again in my household.”
Menounos underwent 7-hour brain surgery on her 39th birthday in June 2017. Menounos’ mom and dad were also both hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 during the pandemic. The following year, in spring 2020, Litsa passed from brain cancer.
Coping With Grief
Grief is inevitable – and essential – when you’re forced to say goodbye to a loved one.
In a previous interview, Doug Wendt shared his thoughts on the grieving process with SurvivorNet after losing his wife Alice to ovarian cancer.
“We’re never gonna move on, I don’t even think I want to move on, but I do want to move forward,” Wendt said. “That’s an important distinction, and I encourage anybody who goes through this journey as a caregiver and then has to face loss, to think very carefully about how to move forward.”
Everyone’s journey of grief looks different, but therapy and support groups can also be wonderful options to explore. It’s also important to keep in mind that time does not heal everything, but it certainly helps.