Stephen Colbert’s testimony about love, faith, and grief apparently struck a chord with CNN’s Anderson Cooper during a Thursday night interview.
The two sat down to discuss a variety of topics in a wide-ranging interview, including the deaths of Colbert’s family, and that of Cooper’s mother, the late Gloria Vanderbilt, who passed away in June.
What happened during the interview?
During an exchange about life and death, Cooper brought up Colbert’s previous remarks about learning to “love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”
Colbert was, of course, referring to the 1974 plane crash that killed his father and two of his brothers. Cooper also lost his father due to a heart attack that same year.
Choking back tears, Cooper said, “You went on to say, ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ Do you really believe that?”
Colbert answered in the affirmative.
“Yes. It’s a gift to exist and with existing comes suffering,” he explained. “There’s no escaping that.”
Colbert reasoned that he and Cooper are able to share mutual grief through those experiences, which makes them able to relate to one another.
“What do you get from loss?” he asked. “You get awareness of other people’s loss, which allows you to connect with that other person, which allows you to love more deeply and to understand what it’s like to be a human being if it’s true that all humans suffer.”
What did the note say?
Cooper also addressed a note that he’d received from Colbert following the death of Vanderbilt. “You said ‘I hope you find peace in your grief,'” Cooper recalled.
He later added, “I found that [sharing grief] the most helpful thing. I found it to be the most powerful and moving thing. And I kind of, oddly, don’t want that to stop, because in regular times, people don’t do that.”