He wrote something saying, “We need socks out there! He wore a blue T-shirt that I had picked out for him. For Stella, me and the big kids, our relationship with John is still unfolding. There’s a rainbow of emotions, and the minute you try to pin yourself to one of them, the next one comes along and knocks you for a loop.
Stella and I paint and draw and write poetry and write in journals and write little books about Dad.
The acting duo was married for four years until his 2003 death, and their daughter Stella (who was 5 when her father died) is now 18 years old.
People really feel like they lost somebody, whether they knew him or not, and I don’t take it lightly when somebody tells me their story of the first time they saw him or the one time they met him. There’s no real formula for grieving, and that is the lesson: It’s okay to be wherever you are with it. He’d walk down the sidewalk, and instead of just looking at the nicely manicured bushes in our neighborhood, he’d point out the weed growing up through the sidewalk, and he’d say, “That’s life. You put the cement over it, you do anything you can, and life always comes back.” You go on with your life, like a weed popping up through the crack in the sidewalk. So it wasn’t like I was scrambling to read books to figure out something to tell her. We had been living it the day before, we had been living it the day he died, and we continue to live it: Life is precious.
You can’t lie down and go, “My life is over too” as much as you may feel like doing that—which I do a little bit every day. It’s a huge lesson for her to know that it’s okay to be alive and to go on living and that it honors the person to live with a little bit of their light inside of you. It was a gift that he had been giving Stella forever and still gives her.
“For John and me, it was this big deal,” says Yasbeck.
“We were like, ‘Quick, sneak in Peekaboo, don’t wake Stella up, put the cat here, position it, oh God no! ’ trying to get the cat to calm down and lay there by her head.