On the first anniversary of football legend Frank Gifford’s death, Today host Kathie Lee Gifford, Frank’s wife of 29 years, is passing the knowledge of how she found solace from such a heartbreaking loss.
In a touching note penned to the Today official website that was noted by E! Online, the 69-year-old talk show icon claims that her faith in religion was the sole factor in helping her come to terms with the sad event.
“I’ve gotten through this past year the way I’ve gotten through every day of my life,” she explains, “[by] faithfully trusting God to do what God does, which is to show up, redeem and restore. If you thought about it as, ‘How am I ever going to get through this year?’, well, God doesn’t promise you a year. He promises you a day at a time. He broke life into 24-hour-periods because that’s all we can handle. ”
Kathie Lee also touched on the morning she discovered Frank had succumbed to brain disease, a malady that was revealed by the Gifford family three months after his death, according to a New York Times article.
“When I found Frank on that beautiful Sunday morning, he was already gone,” she wrote. “The look on his face was complete and total wonder. I felt in that moment he saw Jesus, and Jesus took his breath away. That’s the way I want to go [as well].”
Gifford’s strong show of faith in the wake of Frank’s passing is admirable, but it is not the first time she has publicly expressed it.
As reported by E! Online, after returning to Today following a week-long bereavement period last August, Kathie openly praised God during an emotional speech, and said that she and Frank imparted their belief onto their children as well. According to her, when their eldest son and daughter, Cody and Cassidy, graduated from film school and high school respectively, Frank gave them each a stone from a collection that he obtained in the Holy Land.
“Cassidy graduated from high school. I don’t know what she was expecting, but she got a stone. And we said to her, ‘Cass, where are you going to throw your stone for the kingdom of God?”
“A week later, Cody graduated from college: USC film school. He got a stone. And if you ever leave a legacy for your children, let it be that you’ve taught them friendship with God and you’ve taught them to find their stone and show it. Show it, throw it, hard and well. And transform this hurting world that needs God’s love so much.”
In her note, Kathie Lee also shared several of her favorite bible quotes and repeatedly rejoiced the word of God in the late Frank’s honor.
“Bible verse 2 Corinthians 5:8 says, ‘to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,'” Gifford relayed. “How can I be unhappy knowing my husband is in spiritual perfection with his Lord? Even the day Frank passed, we were able to rejoice and thank the Lord and cry tears of joy mixed with tears of sorrow. They were equal because of what we believed.”
Unsurprisingly, when it comes to others who are grieving loved ones, Gifford says that the only real way to reach acceptance is through repeated prayer and the acknowledgement of God.
“For other people grieving the loss of a loved one, I would tell them it’s impossible to do it on your own,” Kathie Lee remarked. “You need to immerse yourself in the word of God. What I would do is get up in the morning and spend time in prayer. Start really learning as much Scripture as possible so you can quote it without looking it up, so it’s in your DNA. You can call on it when you’re feeling challenged in your faith.”
Despite his illness, Frank Gifford was said to have died of natural causes at the age of 83. Read Kathie Lee’s full note here.
[Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]