By now maybe you’ve seen the CBS interview with Liam Neeson. There’s a link to it down there below, if you haven’t.
I posted a link to this on my facebook page – so many people connected with it, related to it. Some have death dates in close orbit to Natasha and Liam. Some, like me, remember that event so clearly, for some reason it’s etched in my mind. I remember Matt and I talking about it, no clue that this would be our life just a few short months later.
The interview with Anderson Cooper has so many beautiful things in it. In a world so full of platitudes and Hollywood endings, it’s fantastic and amazing to see someone speak to the reality of grief five years later. Five years on. It’s not a sound bite. He’s not acting. There is no attempt, by either of them, to make this prettier than it is. It’s an intimate, rooted, real connection. There was not one ounce of falseness in him as he talked about his wife, or how he has lived since then. He was met with respect by Mr. Cooper: direct, gentle, respect. Beautifully done on all sides.
So many things stand out in this video. There is a sadness there, grief still etched in Liam’s face, his mannerisms. He describes grief and sudden death like a table with three legs, the world, suddenly and still, unstable. He has kept her clothes, and their home. She is still a visceral part of his life. The tenderness and love between them is palpable and present. Right there, alongside the grief.
There is a moment where Anderson Cooper mentions that he hasn’t visited his father’s or brother’s graves in over twenty years. Liam (Mr. Neeson?) visits his wife’s grave often.
“Does it help?” Anderson asks.
There’s a pause. The camera on Liam.
“Does it help,” he says back, flatly.
It’s not a question. It’s not quite a rebuff. But it’s said with such weight behind it. What I hear in those three short words is the reality that nothing “helps.” He goes on to say that he plants daffodils and roses at her grave. That he visits it, and her, often. It brings comfort, but it doesn’t “help.” Not in the way other people think it might.
What I love about this interview is that Mr. Neeson shares what the true reality is for many of us living in grief: life moves forward. Grief doesn’t stop. Love doesn’t stop. You find ways to live with both things, both realities, in tandem. Occupying the same impossible space, all the time. Does it help? Does it help to see how this one man lives his grief and his love, without apology, without outrage, in his own way?
For me, seeing this, I felt a little softer. I recognized myself in it, and saw so many of you in it. How we carve our way forward, still in love, still in pain, finding ways to live.
Love still exists. You can see the change in his eyes as he shifts from talking about the reality of grief to the reality of their life: a change comes over his whole being, his face, the light comes to his eyes, when he speaks of he and his wife on stage together. How they danced together through their life, every night.
Side by side, the weight of grief, the light of love. The love that lights you up, that you carry with you. Five years on. And for many years to come.
How about you? If you’ve seen the interview, how did it affect you? Let us know in the comments, or send me an email.