Kathie Lee Gifford is preparing to say goodbye to the “Today” show next week after hosting the 10am hour with Hoda Kotb for eleven years. In preparation of her exit, Gifford just opened up about the deaths of her husband and mother and how these losses have affected her life.

Fox News reported that Gifford’s husband Frank Gifford, who she was married to for 29 years, passed away in August of 2015. Two years later, her mother Joan Epstein died in September of 2017, and these losses were very difficult for Gifford to handle.

“You battle a lot of things when you get older, especially as a widow, when you lose a spouse,” Gifford, 65, said in a new interview. “It dawned on me the other day, I’m a widow, I’m an orphan, because my mother also passed and I’m an empty nester all at the same time. If you’re not careful, what you’ve lost in life can define you. It’s so much healthier to be defined by what you still have. I’m making big changes in my life because I need to, really big changes that are feeding my soul. Otherwise, despair sets in and loneliness can be crippling.”

“I didn’t have to stay in this big house anymore,” she added. “I found myself dealing with crippling loneliness. I had to make moves and spiritual moves. You gotta make new memories or the old ones are going to kill you.”

Leaving “Today” is part of Gifford’s process of starting over, and even though it’s hard for her to leave the show, she’s ready to go.

“Maybe it is someone else’s dream job,” Gifford said.. “But there was a more powerful dream within me that had yet to be fulfilled. All I ever wanted to do, from the time I was a little girl, was sing and be in movies.”

Anyone who has ever lost a parent or a spouse knows what Gifford is going through right now. We’re glad that she has found the strength to keep going and is channeling her grief into starting over and chasing her dreams. Please keep Kathie Lee Gifford in your thoughts and prayers as she starts this new chapter of her life!

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