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Jennifer Garner and Her Mom Pat Bring Hoda Kotb to Tears When Discussing Grief on ‘Today’

Jennifer Garner and Her Mom Pat Bring Hoda Kotb to Tears When Discussing Grief on Today
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Hoda Kotb became visibly emotional when Jennifer Garner’s mom, Pat Garner, shared her perspective on grief after the death of her husband, William John Garner.

“Well, I pretty much decided anyway, before [his death], that I would be all right,” Pat, 86, said on the Monday, June 24, episode of Today. “I was so worried about being a widow, and then one day I had an epiphany: ‘You will be alright, Pat.’ And I really have been alright.”

That’s not to say it’s been an easy journey. After 59 years of marriage, Pat said she can’t help but “miss” her husband. “I so wanted to tell him I was gonna be on the Today show,” she said with a laugh as Kotb, 59, wiped away tears. Jennifer, 52, replied, “He loved how much people love you. So he would be right there smiling.”

On April 1, the 13 Going on 30 actress announced the death of her father. While paying tribute on social media, Jennifer honored “her ever patient girl dad” with several throwback photos.

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“We were with him, singing ‘Amazing Grace’ as he left us (did we carry him across or scare him away— valid question.),” she wrote via Instagram. “While there is no tragedy in the death of an 85 year old man who lived a healthy, wonderful life, I know grief is unavoidable, waiting around unexpected corners. Today is for gratitude. We are grateful for Dad’s gentle demeanor and quiet strength. … We are grateful for his work ethic, leadership and faith.”


JenniferGarner’s parents were married for 59 years before her father William’s passing earlier this year. Her mother, Pat, talks about grieving her husband. “I was so worried about being a widow. And then one day, I had an epiphany. ‘You will be all right, Pat.’ And I am.” #TODAYShow @Jen Garner

♬ original sound – TODAY Show

Before celebrating her “Pretend Cooking Show” series and whipping up a blackberry cobbler alongside her mom, Jennifer chose to celebrate the matriarch of her family, who continues to have a positive impact on her life.

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“I have a pretty special mom,” she shared on Today. “My mom is not judgmental of people or things or of things happening to you. She is gifted at giving to people and seeing what people need and just quietly taking care of them. She also is a mom who doesn’t believe in guilt. She always encouraged us.”

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As Jennifer continues raising recent high school grad Violet, 18, Seraphina, 15, and Samuel, 12, with ex-husband Ben Affleck, she can’t help but find herself following some of her own mom’s parenting strategies. On the top of the list is being a cheerleader for all your kids.

“You want to be every bit like your mom if you have a mom like mine,” she said during the fourth hour of Today. “I try to just make them free to go, there’s no guilt. I’m just trying to say, ‘Whatever happens, we’ll get through, no judgment.’”

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