Living after Loss: The Travolta Family

It’s hard to move on after losing something so precious. I should know: I lost my son.

I was happy for the Travolta family after learning that Kelly Preston is expecting her third child. The death of a child is devastating and unimaginable for most parents. For John, Kelly and Ella, the loss of Jett will not be fully healed by the birth of a new child — and I am sure they aren’t expecting it to do so. Nothing except time makes the wound from this type of loss hurt less. The pain in your heart as a parent never fully goes away, but the gnawing, muscle-clenching, gut-wrenching pain you felt when the event was new does move on. Simply and profoundly, the loss of Jett changed the course of their life and their story.

My husband and I have dealt with the loss of a baby. I also help clients deal with this issue within my practice. The idea of having another baby after the death of a child isn’t good or bad; it’s not for any of us to judge. It’s a decision that the Travoltas have made — the way that they are choosing to continue their family’s story. It wouldn’t surprise me if Ella had been involved in these discussions; she may have wanted her mother to have another child. It makes sense that she would want to have another brother or sister. For John and Kelly, the idea of having another life arise in them, from them and around them will feel bittersweet. I can still remember when I was pregnant with our daughter Tova after the death of our son Ozzie. I would sit and hold my big round belly and cry for him, for her, for us, for joy, for sadness, for life, for death — all balled up into one amazing feeling of intense love and gratitude.

The Travoltas are choosing to move forward in their story, to fill it with the lightness of a new life after a very dark period in their lives. The darkness never is erased, but the birth and life of a new child will bring a new kind of meaning to the death of Jett. I often think of Ozzie as I watch Tova sleep, her eyes gently shut. I quietly thank him for his short life, deep lessons … and for Tova, because she wouldn’t be here if it werent for his departure.

My hope is that Kelly, John and Ella will have peace and joy with this new addition to their family, always remembering that the lessons of Jett’s life and death will continue to move their family in very meaningful ways.

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