Damian Lewis has written a powerful tribute to his wife Helen McCrory just days after the Peaky Blinders actress died at the age of 52.
In an op-ed in The Sunday Times, the Billions and Homeland actor reflected on the life of his “Dame Helen,” who he said was “an even more brilliant person than she was an actress.” He also revealed that she held “no fear, no bitterness, no self-pity” about her untimely death.
“I’ve never known anyone so consciously spread happiness,” Lewis said in the heartfelt and heartbreaking piece, explaining that nurses who were treating her cancer looked forward to seeing her “because she made their day better.”
“I’ve never known anyone able to enjoy life as much. Her ability to be in the present and enjoy the moment was inspirational. Nor was she interested in navel-gazing. No real self-interest in self-reflection; she believed in looking out, not in. Which is why she was able to turn her light so brightly on others,” he said.
Lewis remembered a woman who was “funny as hell,” but also that she could be “magnificently angry, imperious, dismissive. Gloriously.” Ultimately, she was happy, he added. “Always. Some people believe happiness is a right, some people find happiness difficult. It’s an elusive emotion. Helen believed you choose happiness.”
In death, Lewis said his wife McCrory displayed fierce generosity, telling him to “have girlfriends, lots of them” after her passing — but, with a flash of humor, adding: “Try at least to get through the funeral without snogging someone.” In comments to their two children, she said: “Don’t be sad, because even though I’m about to snuff it, I’ve lived the life I wanted to.”
Lewis said: “Already I miss her. She has shone more brightly in the last months than you would imagine even the brightest star could shine. In life, too, we had to rise to meet her. But her greatest and most exquisite act of bravery and generosity has been to ‘normalise’ her death”
“She’s shown no fear, no bitterness, no self-pity, only armed us with the courage to go on and insisted that no one be sad, because she is happy. I’m staggered by her. She’s been a meteor in our life.”
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