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Amanda Kloots' Inspiring Perspective on Grief Will Have You Smiling Through Tears

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On the first anniversary of Nick Cordero's death, Amanda Kloots couldn't get out of bed.

"This is the roller coaster of grief," she recently told E! News, recalling how "extremely sad" she felt on the morning of July 5, 2021, exactly a year after her husband died of complications from a bout with COVID-19. "You just never know what a day is going to bring. You could wake up and be completely OK. And then you could wake up and it hit you like a ton of bricks."

This year, Amanda said, her plan is to be surrounded by love and support with her sister and close friends in Italy, where she and Nick spent part of their honeymoon.

"I made it a goal of mine last year to be away on this day," she exclusively told E!, "to be by water, which is always a safe haven and therapy for me."

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But most importantly, she's going to try to focus on what Nick would have wanted for her and their now 3-year-old son, Elvis Eduardo Cordero.

"My goal," she said, "is to open my eyes that morning with that feeling. We're going to celebrate instead of being sad."

Amanda Kloots, Instagram
Instagram

Not that the 40-year-old fitness instructor and The Talk co-host is able to snap out of her grief just like that.

It remains a process, one that Amanda compares to peeling an onion—because there are many layers and getting to each one usually causes tears. And she predicts that, when Elvis one day has a better grasp of what happened, seeing him grieve will be a whole new process.

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But when that time comes, Amanda will teach him the lesson that has really helped her. "Any time I feel lost or sad, or stuck, or question what happened," she shared, "I always go back to, 'What would Nick want for us right now?' It immediately gets me out of a sad-grief place and it puts me in a happy-grief place of, 'I have to live my life for him. I have to give Elvis every opportunity I can for him.'"

In fact, she promised Nick before he died that she'd give their son everything she could and show him the world.

"So, I'm a hard-working single mama to make sure he has the best of life," Amanda, who threw Elvis a dinosaur-themed birthday party last month, said, "and that really pushes me to keep going for my dreams, put him to bed at night but then open my computer and keep working. He is a driving force for so much hard work and inspiration."

Amanda Kloots, Instagram
Instagram

Going to work on The Talk, where she gets to laugh and chat with interesting people every day has been "such a saving grace for me," she said, "to have a consistent job and be in a joyous atmosphere."

And while she held off on going to therapy for months after Nick died, spending her first New Year's without him made Amanda realize she had way too much to unpack without extra help—and now, she said, she's up for trying "any kind of therapy that people recommend to me."

"If it sounds like something that could help me," she added, "I will give it a try because I'm really big right now on trying to know what I don't know I need to know."

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But, Amanda said, "What really keeps me going is Elvis." And she's amazed by how much the child knows his dad, even though he was only 13 months old when Nick died.

They talk about him all the time, she said, "and if Nick's music is on, I ask Elvis, 'Who sings this?' He'll go, 'Dada,' like he immediately knows." And they'll sing Nick's songs together, from "Live Your Life," which became a viral anthem for the countless people rooting for Nick when he was in the hospital, to unreleased tracks that Amanda just plays around the house.

Nick Cordero
Instagram

She knows how lucky it is that she shot so much video of Nick with Elvis, and they'll watch those together, as well as footage of Nick performing. (Amanda met the triple-threat actor-dancer-singer when they were both in Bullets Over Broadway, which opened in April 2014. They married on Sept. 3, 2017.)

"I still feel like if Nick walks through the door, Elvis would know exactly who he is, go up to him and give him a big hug," Amanda said. "That's how much of a presence he is in our house."

She isn't sure how much Elvis understands about his dad being gone, but for now, it's "'We talked to Dada, we say prayers and dreams about Dada.'"

"I think there's beauty in that, at least," Amanda concluded. "He's an old soul, I've said from day one, that's a very special thing about him."

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Then again, Elvis is also a bit of a little rascal who's big on giving orders—"'You stay here, do not make coffee,'" he'll tell her—and parroting his mom.

"All of a sudden we're having these full-on conversations," Amanda marveled. "He's such a little person, and he's now mimicking me and copying things I say to him, so he'll be like, 'No, don't do that, that's not a good guy.' And I'm like, 'Oh, my gosh, he's using my own tricks against me!'"

Amanda Kloots
Scott Kirkland/Shutterstock

She's doesn't have a whole lot of time for dating, but she's giving it a shot, sharing last summer on The Talk that it was "wonderful" to be out meeting people, albeit "quite terrifying."

A dinner out with Bachelorette alum and single dad Michael Allio in December sparked romance rumors, but Amanda insisted they were just friends, assuring E! in February that if they were dating, "We wouldn't be, like, snapping the picture and posting it."

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Now, she said, dating is "going good" and she's been having fun. "I always enjoy meeting anybody and I feel like everyone has a story to tell," she added. But, there's no one special to speak of yet.

"What you find that you miss the most when you lose your husband is human connection," Amanda said, "that person in your life that you call with the good news or that you're driving up your street to and you're just excited that they're home, that you can talk to about your day and make dinner with and have a glass of wine with and laugh with."

"I miss laughing with somebody," she continued. "I miss having somebody in my life that knows my weird things and makes fun of me for it and calls me out on it and makes me a better person. So, that's what I'm looking for. I don't know if he's out there, but I hope he is."

Nick Cordero, Amanda Kloots
Instagram

Sometimes it feels as if she lost Nick "in a whole other world," Amanda said, and then it can feel as if it just happened yesterday.

But time, as much as it plays tricks, really does help, if not in any predictable way.

"Grief changes with time," Amanda said. "Not that you're better in six months, or you're gonna feel better in a year. Time helps because you, as a person on this earth without the person that has left, are forced to keep moving. And even if that movement is slow, you have to keep moving."

"You end up learning these little tools along the way," she said, "because life keeps throwing different obstacles and challenges at you. Life keeps happening."