Monday, July 6, 2009

Giada De Laurentiis on the loss of her younger brother, Dino, and kids….

If you poke around in sibling loss literature, one unanswered question you come across is—does losing a sibling make sibling survivors more or less likely to have children? And do they tend to have “extra” children, just in case they lose one?

FYI, I don’t have an answer to this. In my case, I simply had too much baggage to deal with to have children earlier in life. (I had my son, Henry, at 40.) But the question does interest me. As does the issue of how sibling survivors like myself parent siblings (something I have no experience with). At any rate, I’ve always got an eye peeled for references to this subject, so I was intrigued to see it brought up by Giada De Laurentiis.

I had no idea that Giada had lost a sibling. Partly, I guess, that’s because she apparently didn’t talk about it for a long time. Her story in brief: Giada is the eldest of four kids. (Her grandfather, for the record, was film producer Dino De Laurentiis.) A few years ago, her brother, Dino, died of melanoma. (Click here, to see a clip of her telling her story, and making a public service announcement on the importance of sun protection.)

I’ve seen and heard Giada, a new mother, make comments lately about almost not having children, because the thought of having to face the loss of one, after the loss of her brother, was too much to contemplate. In some references I’ve seen, it looks like her daughter was an accident, but she’s grateful it happened, because she’s not sure she would have had her otherwise. In the Redbook excerpt, below, the story is cast a little differently. Either way, the struggle of surviving siblings re: kids is in evidence.

One of my younger brothers was diagnosed with skin cancer at 29 and passed away not too long after that. We were very close. He always wanted to have children, but he didn't get to. And after he died, I remember thinking, You know, maybe there's a place in my heart for someone else other than all the people I already have in my life. I know I was very afraid.... My brother's passing made me afraid, I think because I was afraid that we could have a child and lose him or her too. I didn't know if I could go through that kind of pain with anybody else the way I did with my brother. So for a while, I was very down on the whole idea. I thought, I don't want to have any more relationships. I don't want to have anybody that close to me. But a few years later, I thought, If I never have a child, that might be the saddest thing for me.

I can totally relate. I don’t regret having a child, or having one later in life. But I think I tend to be over-protective of Henry because I do know that horrible things can and do happen to children. There’s a lost innocence that comes with childhood sibling loss. I wouldn’t trade Henry for anything, but, truthfully, I do feel terribly vulnerable in an entirely new realm now that he’s here.


Anonymous said...

Wandered over here after doing a search on Giada's loss of her brother due to melanoma. I am sorry for your own loss and certainly, as you so eloquently describe, the loss is acutely felt forever. On having children in you recall the quote "Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." -Elizabeth Stone This is clearly amplified when one has lost someone dear so early in life at such a young age. May your little one bring you much joy and I hope you experience moments with him that you may have had with your older brother...movies and popcorn, mini-golf, favorite ice-creams, hugs, laughter, corny jokes...God Speed.

Tina said...

I am a big fan of Giada at home. I have watched it for a long time. But just until reading this post, I had no idea of the passing of her Brother. I have also lost a brother (older) to melanoma cancer. I totally understand her reservations that she was experiencing. I am going through the same feeling of loss, and afraid of loss in the future. Watching someone loose a battle with melanoma is a HORRIBLE thing to go through. It changes your life forever. No one could possibly know what you have been through, until you have talked to someone else who has been through it. So, I just wanted to say I feel for her, and wondered if she has ever wrote any books, or has any words of insiration that may have helped her through the loss of her Brother?
Tina M.

t. roberson said...

I have lost a daughter to melanoma and yes it is horrible. She was 39, blonde, blue eyes. She died in 2004 and I still miss her so badly. Roberson

Ajp0825 said...

I just saw the epusode "Giada's Dating Tips for Bachelor" with her brother. What a nice and fine gentleman he was. God Bless Him
Tony J.Perez, MD
Miami Beach, Florida