All anyone can discuss this morning is Angelina Jolie's shocking and extremely moving essay in the New York Times, "My Medical Choice." She revealed her decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy after her mother's death from breast cancer. She explained that with an 87% risk of developing breast cancer herself, she wanted to be proactive with her health.
Aside from her honesty with the logistics procedure, Angelina also writes beautifully of the pain of her children never getting to meet her children:
My mother fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56. She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was. We often speak of “Mommy’s mommy,” and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us.
Angelina is one of many celebs who have opened up poignantly in recent memory. When tough times come, it doesn't matter how famous someone is, just that their words are meaningful. Patton Oswalt's post about the Boston bombing went viral the day of the attack:
But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago. So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, 'The good outnumber you, and we always will.'
In March, funnyman Dax Shepard wrote a touching essay about his father's death on his tumblr. He explained some of his father's quirks and vices (namely, his libido, as the title is "My Dad's Horniness"), while also giving the story of his wife Kristen Bell letting his father touch her pregnant belly before he passed away:
She lifted her shirt up and he put his hand on her swollen stomach. He left it there for the better part of an hour. He was smiling from ear to ear, sitting contently, unable to put together a sentence, but still capable of connecting to the new family member we were creating. He wasn’t going to make it to the birth, but that didn’t get in the way of him meeting the new baby. If I live to be a thousand, I will still be in debt to my wife for giving him that one last thrill.
And then it was simple: We were very, very sad. There was a baby there who’d had a heartbeat. She was life. She was hope. She was the future. And then she was gone. I had gotten over the guilt, but now I just felt bad for whoever she was going to be. I felt bad for that heartbeat. And I felt bad for Bryn.
When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone.
Do you remember reading these moving essays? Did any of them help you during a tough time? Do you think more celebrities should speak out about their personal lives? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @OKMagazine.