Stephen Colbert talks grief to Anderson Cooper

Stephen Colbert talks grief to Anderson Cooper

Stephen Colbert shares his experiences with grief in new podcast Everything exists with Anderson Cooper.

The 58-year-old late-night host, whose father and two brothers died in a plane crash in 1974, spoke to the CNN anchor about his philosophy on loss. Cooper, 55, who has also experienced the death of several family members, including his brother Carter by suicide in 1988, said Colbert’s belief — that it is possible to find “gratitude” in grief — was deeply moving.

Colbert shared, “I lost my father and my brothers, Peter and Paul, when I was 10 years old. And that realization didn’t come until, you know, I’m on the cusp of middle age. Literally walking down the street, I was struck by the realization that I felt gratitude for the pain of this grief. It doesn’t take away the pain. It doesn’t make the grief any less profound. In a way, it makes it more profound, because it allows you to see it. It allows you to look at your grief in a way that it’s not like holding up hot embers in your hands, but seeing that pain as something that can warm you and illuminate your knowledge of what they may be going through. the other people. Which is just another way of saying it’s worth experiencing. Now, how is this gratitude? That’s the part that blew me away, so I can’t tell you how to get there.”

Colbert shared that waves of worry about his own mortality would hit him harder as his children grew older.

“Ever since my father, my brothers died when I was 10, when my kids were younger, it would hit me at unexpected times,” she explained. “In moments of great happiness, like even my daughter, like jumping off the swing in the right spot and landing and being happy and running and saying, ‘Did you see Daddy?’ and, you know, give me a hug. That moment of absolutely inexpressible metaphorical joy. And it’s 6, let’s say in this memory. I’d be like, “Oh, isn’t that great? Four more years!”

Cooper and Colbert first met to discuss grief in a 2019 interview with CNN, where Cooper asked The Colbert Report alum for his experiences with death. Colbert, who is Catholic, said: “We are asked to accept the world that God gives us and to accept it with love. If God is everywhere, and God is in everything, then the world as it is is simply an expression of God and his love, and you should accept it with gratitude.”

In a previous podcast episode, Cooper — who is now a father of two — shared that he never wanted his sons to see the grief he often saw reflected in his mom, Gloria Vanderbilt, who was present when her son died by suicide.

“As a new parent to these two adorable, sweet and joyful boys, I never want them to see in me what I sometimes saw in my mom,” she explained. “I don’t want them to see shadows of loss and sadness hiding somewhere deep behind my eyes like I did with my mom. When my children look into my eyes, I want them to see my love for them reflected, and this is it. That’s what I want them to see. I want them to feel that stability, to know that they are in good hands and to know that they are loved.”

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