On July 5, 2020, after 95 days in the hospital battling complications from COVID-19, Amanda Kloots' 41-year-old husband, Broadway star Nick Cordero, died, leaving behind Kloots and their son Elvis, now 2. Throughout Cordero's health crisis, and in the months since his death, the dancer and TV personality has spoken with raw vulnerability about grief and resilience, subjects at the heart of her new memoir, Live Your Life: My Story of Loving and Losing Nick Cordero, co-written with sister Anna Kloots.
For her book's June 15 publishing date, the Talk co-host sat down with Yahoo Life for a candid conversation about loss, looking for silver linings and protecting her mental health as she takes on single motherhood.
"I think we have two choices in life when you go through something traumatic," she says. "You can let it take you over — and trust me, there are days that it does, there are days that it did. But your other choice is to keep on living and keep on striving and finding these silver linings."
She cites a favorite quote, which helps motivate her to find a silver lining each day: "Pick a flower each day, and at the end of the week, you have a beautiful bouquet."
"I am totally open to finding love again," she says. "I love love. I love being married. I love being in a relationship. I love having a companion. I would love to have somebody in Elvis's life that would be that male figure for him.
"I know Nick would want that for me," she adds. "I know that because I would want that for him, if the tables were turned and it was me... I'm hopeful that there's somebody else out there for me. I really am. And when I'm ready, I hope that Nick brings him to me... I'm sure he'll have his fingers up in heaven orchestrating something."
She notes, "With grief, you never know how you're going to feel on these anniversaries. A lot of times it's been hitting me the day before, so I'm fully prepared for that. I'm fully prepared for feeling completely fine, for feeling like I don't even want to get out of bed. I'm just going to let it happen how it happens, and surround myself with love and good people and then take it in stride, I guess."
AMANDA KLOOTS: I think we have two choices in life when you go through something traumatic. You can let it take you over, and it can, and trust me, there are days that it does. Your other choice is to keep on living and finding these silver linings.
When Nick first got sick, it was the very early days of the coronavirus. I just really felt like I had to tell everybody this was what was happening to my husband and he's now in the ICU, he's perfectly healthy and no pre-existing health conditions, and he's 41 years old. I just felt like it was my duty to share. In the days that Nick was in the hospital, oh my gosh, they were just so like this whirlwind, an emotional roller coaster every single day.
One day I got an email from Lisa at HarperCollins. And she said what's happening and what has happened, I think it would just make a beautiful book and something for Elvis one day. And I was like, I think you're right. And at the time, we didn't even know how the story would end. We didn't know if Nick would live, if he would die, if he would be in rehab for years, we did not know.
The anniversary of Nick's passing is July fifth. With grief, you never know how you're going to feel on these anniversaries. Just will be ready for some silence and some quiet and a beautiful environment, and kind of just let myself feel what I need to feel that day.
The daily battle of being a single mom is real, it's very hard. And then there's the internal battle of being a working mother and having five jobs and being gone all day. Add on the whole grief part of it, and those highs and lows. I try not to cry in front of Elvis just because I don't want him to see his mommy crying.
The hardest part about being a single mom is that nobody sees the struggle when no one else is there. You don't have that person that sees what you're going through and then lets you know you're OK. One of my favorite quotes is, "Pick a flower each day and at the end of the week, you have a beautiful bouquet." That's how you find silver linings.
Every day I move my body, whether it's five minutes, whether it's 50 minutes. Getting back into what we all need to remember to be grateful for, which is the ability to move our bodies and to have this beautiful gift, it's my number one mental health go-to.
And then I would say my number two go-to is vulnerability, just being vulnerable and speaking your truth. I tell all sorts of stories in this book. Some aren't the greatest about me, some aren't the greatest about Nick, some aren't the greatest about our relationship, but that is life and you have to be honest and vulnerable. The minute you let it out and let it be free, it frees up space in your body, in your heart, and in your mind.
I am totally open to finding love again. I love love, I love being married, I would love to have somebody in Elvis's life that would be that male figure for him. I know Nick would want that for me, I know that because I would want that for him. I'm hopeful that there's somebody else out there for me, I really am. And when I'm ready, I hope that Nick brings him to me.
Since Nick has passed, there's all these beautiful things that have happened. Signs, things that Elvis has done, dreams that people have had, where I'm like, Nick is here, he's been around me. I've had my relationship with him before Elvis, a relationship as parents with Elvis, and now I'm having this spiritual relationship with him. I think about, no, he's here, he's watching me and there's one thing he definitely would not want me to do, which is stop living my life.