TV personality Soledad O’Brien didn’t know what to do when her father, Edward O’Brien, died this past February from a lung complication. She thought she could rely on her mother, Estela O’Brien, for support, until Estela passed away just 40 days later.
“I was surprised at how devastating it was, because they were 90-year-olds who weren’t healthy,” the 52-year-old journalist recently shared to People. “They were struggling. But I don’t think you ever really get over it.”
My mom died today. Joining my dad who passed away 40 days ago. She was a pretty remarkable lady. An immigrant from Cuba, she lived with the Oblate Sisters of Providence in Baltimore during college. Here (on the left) she is in Cuba in the 1930s. pic.twitter.com/oZNzEqa7ig
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) March 18, 2019
Edward’s death was a lot for Estela to handle too. Since she suffered from dementia, it was hard for her to recall his passing. “She would call me sometimes and say, ‘Did you hear the news about your dad? He passed away,’” Soledad recalled. “She never really recovered.”
Estela’s dementia wasn’t getting better either. “It got worse every year,” the Harvard grad said. “We knew it was going to be very difficult, if not impossible, for my mom to survive,” and Soledad was right. Once Edward passed away, Estela seemed to give up on life.
“When my dad died, I think my mom decided when she was done, she was done. She’d go join my dad, and that was that,” she said. However, losing two parents in such a short amount of time was too much for the news correspondent to handle.
More pix from my parents. Me. Newborn. With mom. pic.twitter.com/aeeD4TlPL6
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) March 7, 2017
“It was such a weird mix of emotions. It was nice to not see them struggle anymore, but you feel like your world is upended,” she admitted. And Soledad has already thought of a great way to honor her late parents.
“I might plant them my own tree,” she said. “They were cremated, so I don’t have a physical place where they were buried. I like the idea of sitting under a big weeping willow or a big Japanese maple, two of the trees my parents loved, and just hanging out and bringing them up to speed. I think that sounds very relaxing and very hopeful.”