Losing a loved one is challenging for anyone because there is no blueprint for the grieving process. The emotional aspects are often discussed, but it can also affect you physically — which is exactly what happened to Gwyneth Paltrow while she was mourning the death of her dad, Bruce Paltrow, from throat cancer in 2002.
Calling the first year after his death “just beyond,” Gwyneth shared on the By the Light of The Moon podcast, “I don’t know how we all got through it, my mother, my brother and I. It was pretty messed up. Anyone will tell you, who loses a love of their life like that, there’s just no other way but through.” Her emotional battle eventually manifested itself into scary physical symptoms while she was living in London after Bruce’s passing.
“I woke up in the middle of the night and I thought I was having a heart attack,” Gwyneth explained. “The only reason I didn’t call the emergency services is because I didn’t know that in England you dial 999; in America it’s 911.” The Goop founder thought she was “dying” and found the entire event “really, really tough.” Her grief was “so physical” that she believed “it was gonna split [her] open.” What got her through such an extraordinarily sad time was realizing that she “had so much life left to build.”
Gwyneth still had family and life goals to achieve, so she knew the only path was forward. “I hadn’t really found myself yet. I still had that opportunity to continue to, I don’t know— I had all these chapters left,” she summed up. “What’s so sad is he’s not a part of them, but at the same time, he was such an amazing part of the foundation.”
Before you go, click here for inspiring and thoughtful quotes on how to cope with grief and death.