Kathie Lee Gifford is coming to terms with several changes in her life as of late, but adjusting to the loss of her mother Joan Epstein and husband Frank Gifford has been the most trying.
“You battle different things as you get older, especially as a widow, you battle the loneliness when you lose a spouse,” the “Today” co-host told AARP magazine. “It dawned on me the other day, I’m a widow, I’m an orphan, because my mother also passed, and I’m an empty nester all at the same time.”
Gifford’s husband passed away in 2015 at the age of 84. The couple had been married for 29 years and share son Cody, 29, and daughter Cassidy, 25.
“If you’re not careful, what you’ve lost in life can define you. It’s so much better to be defined by what you still have, it’s just healthier. I’m making big changes in my life because I need to, really big changes that are feeding my soul. Otherwise, despair sets in and loneliness can be crippling,” she said.
Gifford, 65, is also set to leave “Today” next month after 11 years. Jenna Bush Hager will join Hoda Kotb in the show’s fourth hour.
“Maybe it is someone else’s dream job,” she explained. “But there was a more powerful dream within me that had yet to be fulfilled. All I ever wanted to do, from the time I was a little girl, was sing and be in movies.”
Gifford continues to focus on the present despite moments of immense heartache.
“I didn’t have to stay in this big house anymore,” she said of her home. “I found myself dealing with crippling loneliness. I had to make a move to someplace physically, and I had to make emotional moves and spiritual moves. You gotta make new memories or the old ones are going to kill you.”
She also noted how social gatherings were a struggle in the wake of her husband’s death.
“When you’re part of a couple, you don’t realize that the whole world is just made up of couples,” Gifford said. “And all of a sudden, you’re that odd number at a dinner party. You’re the fifth, seventh, ninth person at the table. They’re always making an adjustment for you.
“So I didn’t want to go out and go alone to things. I go to professional things alone, but nothing social. I just wasn’t comfortable. And I didn’t want people giving me that widow look. ‘Oh, how are you? Are you OK?”’ She continued.
Fortunately for Gifford, she was able to lean on loved ones for support.
“My dearest friends during my darkest time, which was last year, my dearest friends knew I was going through a terrible time. A desert,” she said.
Source: Read Full Article