I struggle to imagine that there can be any pain greater than losing a child.
The day we become parents, we take on an incomparable responsibility for our little ones, and make an unspoken promise to love them, provide for them, and protect them.
Sadly, though we can go to great lengths, it’s virtually impossible to guarantee all three of those things all of the time. Sure, love is something you can give no matter your situation, and the vast majority of the time you can provide for your kids, even if it’s the bare minimum of what they need.
Protecting your son or daughter, though … that’s where it gets tricky. For with all the will in the world, there are things you simply can’t shield them from forever.
John Travolta knows this only too well, sadly.
The 69-year-old actor has largely lived his life in the Hollywood spotlight, enjoying all the success, fame, and riches that come with that.
However, his personal life has been touched by tragedy more than once. As recently as 2020, he lost the love of his life, Kelly Preston, to cancer, but it was back in 2009 that he suffered perhaps the biggest heartbreaking imaginable.
According to reports, John was on holiday with his family on Grand Bahama Island in 2009 when his eldest son, Jett, suffered a seizure.
Jett, 16 at the time, had suffered seizures since age two, and was on the autism spectrum. As per The Sun, the teenager hit his head on a bathtub while with his family on the aforementioned vacation, before being found unconscious by a maid who raised the alarm.
Tragically, Jett passed away, leaving his father John in the pits of despair.
It’s now been 14 years since his son’s death, but the Grease actor is understandably still greatly affected by it. Last year, as Jett would have turned 30, John posted the most heartfelt of birthday tributes.
“My dearest Jetty, I miss you more than words can say,” John wrote in his post. “I think about you everyday. Happy Birthday. Love, your Dad.”
In 2019, while discussing his son’s passing, Travolta described it as the worst thing to have ever happened to him. Speaking to US Weekly, he said:
“[It was] the worst thing that’s ever happened in my life. The truth is, I didn’t know if I was going to make it.”
He added that the Church of Scientology had been a great help.
“The church never left our sides for two years. I don’t know if I would have made it through without their support. Our church is the No. 1 thing that keeps us grounded.”
More recently, Travolta spoke of a tough conversation he had with his youngest son, Benjamin, regarding his own mortality.
On Kevin Hart’s talk-show, Hart to Heart, he explained: “[Ben] said to me once, ‘Because mom passed away, I’m afraid you’re going to’.
“I said, ‘Well, it’s a very different thing.’ And I went through the differences about my longevity and her limited life.”
Travolta added: “I said, ‘Ben, you have always loved the truth, and I’m going to tell you the truth about life. Nobody knows when they are going to go or when they are going to stay’.
“Your brother (Jett) left at 16. Too young. Your mother left at 57. That was too young. But who’s to say? I could die tomorrow. You could. Anybody can. So let’s look at it like it’s part of life. You don’t know exactly. You just do your best at trying to live the longest you can.”
My heart breaks for anyone who’s lost a child. The death of a loved on is truly a life-changing thing, but to lose a son or a daughter is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions.
Share this article to send love and prayers to anyone who’s grieving such a loss.