Coping With Losing a Loved One to Cancer
- Music’s biggest night was stolen by none other than singer and cancer cheerleader Lady Gaga, who was named best dressed by Vogue.
- The 36-year-old music phenom is deeply connected to the cancer community, as well. Gaga has vowed to be a voice for the cancer community after losing her dear friend to breast, lung and brain cancer in 2017.
- Whether it’s a spouse, a family member or a friend, grief is inevitable — and essential — when you’re forced to say goodbye to a loved one, especially if you’re losing that person to cancer, like in Gaga’s situation.
Lady Gaga, who’s known for her over-the-top fashion, arrived at this year’s Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, Nev., in a black and white Armani Privé floor-length gown, accompanied by beautiful diamond jewelry from Tiffany & Co.Read More
Lady Gaga also put on quite a show during the awards ceremony. She performed her hit song Love for Sale from her Grammy-nominated collaborative album with Tony Bennett of the same name. It was her first performance since 2019.
She didn’t walk away without an award, either. Gaga and Bennett were nominated for five awards, including album of the year for Love for Sale and record of the year for I Get a Kick Out of You. While they didn’t win the Grammy in either of those categories, Gaga and Bennett’s Love for Sale won the Grammy for best traditional pop vocal album.
In addition to her award-winning music and wild fashion choices, Lady Gaga, 36, is known for being an outspoken advocate about health issues, particularly mental health, and encouraging people to reach out when they need support.
The music phenom is deeply connected to the cancer community, as well. Gaga has vowed to be a voice for the cancer community after losing her dear friend to breast, lung and brain cancer in 2017.
And together with her boyfriend, Michael Polansky, 44, she’s an advocate for cancer research and support of the cancer community. (Polansky is a co-founder and board member for his foundation’s newest initiative, The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a treatment for many types of cancers.)
How Lady Gaga Lost Her Best Friend to Cancer
In 2017, while filming A Star Is Born, Lady Gaga’s close friend Sonja Durham passed away after a hard-fought battle with stage 4 cancer in her breast, brain and lung.
According to Gaga, she was on set when she received news that Durham’s prognosis wasn’t good, so she rushed to the hospital to be by her side.
However, 15 minutes before Gaga arrived, Durham had passed away. Durham was the longtime managing director of Haus of Gaga (now Haus Laboratories), the singer’s cosmetic line, and had been a confidante to Lady Gaga throughout her career.
“We were supposed to shoot in, like, 30 minutes, and I left the set because her husband called me and I could hear her in the background and I just got in the car and drove,” Gaga told Entertainment Weekly in 2018. “I missed her by 15 minutes and she died. I literally laid with her, with her husband and their dog, and his son.”
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Since Durham’s death, Gaga has made it her mission to raise awareness of the impact cancer has on everyone. She still honors Durham on her birthday, and it’s so inspiring to see her use this tragic experience to help others.
The experience truly left a mark on Lady Gaga, and while she’s known for always supporting her Monsters fan base, she’s standing up on behalf of the cancer community, too.
“I vow to be a little stronger everyday for her because that’s what she would have wanted, I vow to be stronger for anyone who’s lost somebody to cancer,” Gaga wrote in a passionate Instagram post in 2017. “I’m a part of that family now. I vow to be a warrior for her and be a voice for cancer patients so the world can continue to improve the dialogue and the fight. I loved her. I still love her.”
Coping With Losing a Loved One to Cancer
Whether it’s a spouse, a family member or a friend, grief is inevitable — and essential — when you’re forced to say goodbye to a loved one, especially if you’re losing that person to cancer, like in Lady Gaga’s situation.
There’s no one way to cope, but, in a previous interview with SurvivorNet, widower Doug Wendt shared his thoughts on the grieving process after losing his wife 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.”
While Gaga wasn’t Durham’s caregiver during her final weeks, the feelings Wendt described can surely be felt by anyone who has lost a dear friend.
Camila Legaspi, in a previous interview with SurvivorNet, shared her own advice on grief after her mother died of breast cancer. For her, therapy made all the difference.
“Therapy saved my life,” Legaspi 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.”
Contributing: Shelby Black