Talking About Grief with Anderson Cooper

Amanda Petrusich in The New Yorker:

When the CNN anchor Anderson Cooper was ten, he lost his father, Wyatt, to heart disease; when he was twenty-one, his older brother Carter died by suicide. In 2019, his mother, the artist and clothing designer Gloria Vanderbilt, passed away at ninety-five, of stomach cancer. (Vanderbilt had watched, desperate and helpless, as Carter leapt from the terrace of the family’s fourteenth-floor apartment in Manhattan.) For Cooper, who is now fifty-five, loss has become an unexpected beacon in his life—a way of constantly reaffirming his humanity. “My mom and I would talk about this a lot,” Cooper said recently. “No matter what you’re going through, there are millions of people who have gone through far worse. It helps me to know this is a road that has been well travelled.”

In September, Cooper started “All There Is,” a seven-episode podcast about his passage through grief. It is a tender and elegantly honest exploration of how death can crack open the lives of the people left behind. Full disclosure: I am also grieving. This past August, my husband of seventeen years passed away; we have a beautiful one-year-old daughter, Nico. So far, I have found the experience of grief bewildering. Sometimes I feel like a zombie that’s been stabbed in the heart with a sharp stick, but rather than collapsing, or dying, I just keep on lurching about, moaning haphazardly, stumbling toward the horizon. I found my way to Cooper’s podcast when I was feeling hungry for fellowship and support. It really helped.

More here.