Previously, he spoke about how grief can change shape, but it never ends. And all those experiences came through when he spoke on the show.
When you see the strong, commanding presence he has on screen, you might never believe the difficult past that Keanu Reeves had to go through. And the number of times he has had to face overwhelming grief because of the death of his loved ones is far too many.
Recently, when he appeared on The Late Show, the topic of death came up and he gave the host, Stephen Colbert an answer that made Colbert go silent for a few moments. The answer came from the depth of his heart but he knows firsthand how much the death of a loved one changes you. "Grief changes shape, but it never ends," Keanu Reeves said in an interview, as reported by LiveJournal. "People have a misconception that you can deal with it and say, 'It's gone, and I’m better.' They’re wrong."
Keanu Reeves had to deal with heartache ever since he was a child. His father abandoned his family when he was just a toddler and it gave way to a relationship with his father that was “full of pain”. In 1993, he lost his close friend River Phoenix. A friend of Keanu Reeves said, "It’s something he thinks about all the time, something he never really talks about. Friends know not to go there with him," according to People.
But worse still was knowing his own child had to be buried before he even got a chance to be a father. In the year 1998, he fell deeply in love with Jennifer Syme, who could have been the mother of his child. As they progressed in their relationship, Jennifer Syme did get pregnant but went through the heartbreaking experience of giving birth to a stillborn. Having to lose a child took a great toll on Keanu Reeves and on Jennifer Syme. She suffered postpartum depression and eventually, they both ended their romantic relationship. But they were still best friends. But once again in 2001, Keanu Reeves was crushed with grief once again when Jennifer Syme died in a car accident.
"When the people you love are gone, you’re alone," he said. "I miss being a part of their lives and them being part of mine. I wonder what the present would be like if they were here—what we might have done together. I miss all the great things that will never be."
But life didn't get easier. He has had to spend a number of days by his sister's side while she was on a hospital bed, struggling in her fight against cancer. "When she was in the hospital, he was there with her all the time, sitting at her bedside, holding her hand," his friend said. While his career climbed up and grew successful, his personal life always came with heartache. "Sometimes, it’s almost like he doesn’t trust himself to have a relationship with anyone," the friend added.
Through the years, the one thing that stuck by him was grief and loss. They are the two things that completely changed him as a person. He said in a recent interview, "Grief and loss, those are things that don’t ever go away. They stay with you," according to The Guardian.
Years later, the 54-year-old continues to act and star in big hits. But throughout it all, he never forgets the emotional journey he went through. And one of the lessons he learned from them came out as he sat opposite Stephen Colbert on the show. When he was asked by his host about what he believed happens to people after they die, he answered, "I know that the ones who love us will miss us."
Watch the moment here.