For the first time since his wife’s untimely death in March 2009, Liam Neeson spoke out about dealing with his personal pain in a candid interview for Esquire magazine. In the interview, featured in the March issue, Liam spoke openly of the day his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, died following a skiing accident near Montreal at the age of 45. In the wake of her death, Neeson said he coped by immersing himself in one of the things he knew best – work.
“I just think I was still in a bit of shock,” he told Esquire. “But it’s kind of a no-brainer to go back to that work. It’s a wee bit of a blur, but I know the tragedy hadn’t just really smacked me yet.”
“I think I survived by running away some. Running away to work. Listen, I know how old I am and that I’m just a shoulder injury from losing roles like the one in ‘Taken.’ So I stay with the training, I stay with the work,” he continued. “It’s easy enough to plan jobs, to plan a lot of work. That’s effective. But that’s the weird thing about grief. You can’t prepare for it. You think you’re gonna cry and get it over with. You make those plans, but they never work.”
However, as the actor explained, it only postponed – not prevented — the pain from setting in from losing the woman he married in 1994 and had two children with.
“It hits you in the middle of the night — well, it hits me in the middle of the night. I’m out walking. I’m feeling quite content. And it’s like suddenly, boom,” he said.
These are candid remarks from Liam. I know these feelings all too well from the loss of my husband by suicide – anyone who has suffered a tragedy losing a loved one from an accident, a malignant illness, or a suicide knows how he feels. If you or someone you know shares these feelings and reactions, remember that you are not alone. And sometimes the best feeling in the world with loss, especially from a tragedy, is to know that you are not alone.
Suddenly, without notice, your whole world changes drastically and completely. Much like Liam, you fight back tears every second and wonder how in the world you can live without your loved one. You are numb and yet feel every emotion simultaneously.
Being alone some days is more comforting than forcing yourself to be in a good mood to have coffee with a friend. Friends struggle to say the right things to help, but they feel helpless as well. It’s an invisible barrier that separates even family.
A remedy for heartache is to lead as happy a life as possible. Genuine friends understand that you are doing your best to work through your grief and trying to reinvest in life itself. If others don’t understand, don’t worry about them. Surviving and rebuilding your life is what is truly important and is what your lost loved one wants for you. Don’t lose sight of that … it will help see you through!
Remember to start slowly and move carefully with friends who are supportive and understanding. Meet for lunch or dinner; take a walk on the beach at sunrise or watch the sunset with them.
Recognize that you’re living through a terrible tragedy, yet still have to survive. It takes practice, lots of it, to take one moment one day at a time. You had no choice and no control over the suicide but you now have a choice to survive and live through it and even have moments of happiness and joy. It does take practice. Ten months after my husband Martin’s death, I’ve finally realized:
Now is the time to dance because the longer you wait, the easier it is to keep waiting, endlessly, and then life passes you by. Regrets form and you spiral further downward. Dance while things are unacceptable and imperfect and things will get better, I promise you. Take baby steps, and it will create more smiles, give you a brighter outlook and make it possible for you to enjoy life again, with all its inherent flaws. Happiness will develop little by little.
I feel this loss so enormously because I had amazing love. While I miss Martin terribly, “I’d rather have three minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”
Start dancing in the rain – life is too short. What are you waiting for?