Meryl Streep stood by John Cazale till the end. He remains an everlasting memory in the actress's life.
Meryl Streep's relationship with her first partner John Cazale was intense. Her love for him was so pure and true that even the narration of their tale would bring tears to the listener's eyes.
Meryl met John in 1976 at an audition in New York City for Measure for Measure. Sparks flew between the two and they were just inseparable. “He wasn’t like anybody I’d ever met,” said Meryl about her lover, according to Goalcast.
People around them saw the love and devotion they had towards each other. But their joyful days came to a standstill when John was diagnosed with lung cancer. Meryl was devastated but she knew her partner needed her support. Soon after the diagnosis, the couple began shooting for the movie The Deer Hunter. "Meryl stayed by his side every single moment," said the director of the movie, Michael Cimino to People.
Meryl was John's pillar of strength. She accompanied him for all his treatments and refused to give up hope. When she saw medical bills piling up, the talented actress accepted roles that she didn't like. All she wanted to do was to support her partner financially.
She hustled hard to ensure the medical bills were paid. However, when she realized there wasn't much time left for John, Meryl took a break from her career and gave him her full attention.
Michael Schulman, in the biography, Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, quoted Joe Papp talking about Meryl's commitment to John. Joe said, “She took care of him like there was nobody else on earth." Continuing, he said, “She never betrayed him in his presence or out of his presence. Never betrayed any notion that he would not survive. He knew he was dying, the way a dying man knows it. She gave him tremendous hope," according to People.
As his final days approached, Meryl shifted to the hospital. She wanted to spend as much time as possible with the man she dearly loved. “I’ll do anything for this man. Look, would there be any hang-up if this were a mother talking about her son? Service is the only thing that’s important about love," said Meryl, who became the epitome of unconditional love through her actions.
On May 12, 1978, John died, forcing Meryl to let go. It shattered her spirit. Though she knew his disease was slowly killing him, Meryl could not believe he was gone.
“Meryl wasn’t ready to hear it, much less believe it. What happened next, by some accounts, was the culmination of all the tenacious hope Meryl had kept alive for the past 10 months. She pounded on his chest, sobbing, and for a brief, alarming moment, John opened his eyes. ‘It’s all right, Meryl,’ he said weakly. ‘It’s all right.’ Then he closed his eyes and died," wrote Schulman.
A year after his death, the actress stated that she was coping with his passing. “The death is still very much with me. It has forced me to confront my own mortality, and once you do that, you look at things differently,” said Meryl, according to People.
The tragedy had a profound impact on her. With John's death, Meryl could no longer stay in the apartment they shared together. However, it eventually helped her meet the man who she was meant to spend the rest of her life with. Meryl met her current partner Don Gummer when he accompanied her brother, who was helping her move to a new place.
Meryl and Gummer developed a good friendship and eventually fell in love. They got married in September 1978 and Meryl stated, "I haven’t got over John’s death, but I’ve got to go on living and Don has showed me how to do that," according to Good Times.