Photo Credit: Denise Truscello/Getty Images
Six weeks after losing her husband of 34 years to pancreatic cancer, Patrick Swayze's widow found the courage to speak about her grief at a women's conference in Long Beach, CA, on Tuesday.
Lisa Niemi told the women at a round table discussion on grief, healing and resilience, that the loss of her husband "is like an animal all of its own” and the sadness could be felt “on a cellular level.”
"When the grief takes you, it's like your body is not your own,” she explained. “I'm just going with the flow. I know I have to go through it."
Patrick's wife credits a close group of friends with getting her through the toughest times. "I have a few girlfriends that are just amazing. They have made themselves available to me 24/7. They say, 'We don't care if it's 2 in the morning, call me'," Lisa said at the conference, which was organized by Maria Shriver. "I was in the middle of a full-blown panic attack one evening ... and I picked up the phone and called one, which is really hard for me to do because I'm used to being so self-sufficient and taking care of myself, but the very act of picking the phone up to call someone helped to calm me."
And though she spent every waking minute by her husband's side in his final days and told him many times every day, "I love you, I love you," she admits, "I've spent two thirds of my life with him ... My regret is that I didn't tell him that I loved him enough over that entire 34 years. I am so grateful for what I had and my connection to him, and part of me believes that I will see him again," she said through tears, "and I'm just going to have to go on until then."
In a more recent interview, Niemi speaks candidly about her relationship with Patrick over the years, and her grief in losing him.
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