Anthony Griffith Shares His Deep Pain Regarding Daughter’s Loss

There’s no home-ed class to teach you how to deal with this and you can’t go to a therapist because in a black world a therapist is taboo. It’s reserved for rich white people so you’re trying to figure it out…what did I do!? Maybe it’s something I did! Maybe it’s something… my wife did! Maybe my doctor…uh…diagnosed it uhh….erroneously, something! But at night I STILL have to be a comic, I have to work on the tonight show because that’s what Imma do, I’m a clown! Anthony Griffith, about his baby daughter having cancer

It’s 1990, and the career of comedian Anthony Griffith is blossoming. He makes it all the way, in fact, to the ultimate standard of success, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson—at the same time that his two-year-old daughter with cancer is struggling to stay alive.

How do you keep making people laugh while simultaneously in such deep pain?

This African-American man, for one thing, does not go to therapy—that, he says, is “reserved for rich white people.”

In another story from “The Moth” series, Anthony Griffith shares his and his family’s struggle. This clip was recorded in 2003 and runs about nine minutes long. Be prepared to cry.

Parents who lose children face enormous challenges as they grapple with grief. From Fatherly.com:

‘A parent who grieves without any type of serious complications, such as suicidal thoughts or self-harm behaviors, would be the best-case scenario,’ says Dr. Kirsten Fuller, a physician and clinical writer for the Center of Discovery treatment centers. ‘Worst-case scenarios would be experiencing suicidal tendencies, psychosis or developing a mental health disorder or an eating disorder.’

Therapy, both individual and couples, can be helpful, as can support groups designed for grieving parents. A couple written resources for parents are “When Your Child Has Cancer” and
“When a Parent Is Grieving the Loss of a Child.”

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