How Meghan McCain Turned Her Father's Death Into an Honest Conversation About Grieving

The View co-host has been open and honest about dealing with John McCain’s passing

By Mike Vulpo Feb 25, 2019 11:00 AMTags
John McCain, Meghan McCainHeidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images

"If there's one thing I'm doing in 2019, it's to continue to destigmatize talking about grief, death and cancer. My father shared his life in public. I share it in death."

When Meghan McCain shared those words on Twitter, it was much more than a New Year's resolution.

In actuality, it was a promise The View co-host wanted to share with her fans and followers just one day before she celebrated her very first Christmas without her dad, Senator John McCain.

"To all of you out there missing a loved one tonight—you are not alone," she added. "I'm along side you, sending strength."

That strength has been visible for the past six months as Meghan has tried to get back to normal—whatever that normal may be—after the Arizona Senator passed away from brain cancer at 81.

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While many grieve the loss of a loved one in private, Meghan and her family had to mourn with America as republicans and democrats alike celebrated the life of a war hero and "maverick" of the United States senate.

For some, they will never forget John's funeral where politicians including Barack Obama and George W. Bush came together and listened intently as Meghan remembered her dad.

"My father was a great man. He was a great warrior. He was a great American. I admire him for all of these things, but I love him because he was a great father," she shared during the service broadcast across the country. "For the rest of my life, whenever I fall down, I get back up. Whenever I am hurt, I drive on. Whenever I am brought low, I rise. That is not because I am virtuous, strong, resilient; it is simply because my father, John McCain, was."


Over the past six months, Meghan has certainly made her father proud as she returned to work at The View where she brings her voice to the panel that includes Whoopi Goldberg, Abby Huntsman, Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin.

But in between discussing "Hot Topics" and interviewing everyone from politicians to reality stars, Meghan has found a way to spark a conversation about grieving that hasn't been talked about before.

When looking on Meghan's social media pages, you will likely find throwback photos with her family. What comes next are honest, candid, real feelings that many can relate to when going through the grieving process.

"I still miss you every hour. Time feels slow, like being underwater—I try and fill the days distracting myself from how painful it all still is. I cannot believe how intense it all still feels—isn't it supposed to start easing up by now? It hasn't," Meghan wrote on Instagram 139 days after her father's passing. "Grief keeps a tight and relentless stranglehold. I replay my last few days with you over and over again in my head wishing I had said or done something more or different, I wish I could somehow have stopped death from coming. It doesn't get easier, I just continue to try to adapt to the amputation and keep moving, breathing, living, fighting."


Meghan's first Election Day and Veteran's Day without her father was difficult. The best-selling author revealed from John's grave site that Sundays are when she misses him "the most." And then there are the ordinary rituals that become extraordinary when a loved one passes away.

"66 days. I wake up every morning still instinctually trying and reaching to call you on the phone. I miss you so much Dad it physically hurts my heart. I miss your laugh, your voice, your dark sense of humor, the way you always made me feel safe in a world that seems to have lost its way. I miss your dry ribs and grilled chicken. I miss you singing The Beach Boys on the porch," Meghan shared in a separate Instagram post. "I miss waking up and drinking cappuccino and reading the New York Times together. I miss your old far side t-shirts and watching John Wayne movies. I miss hiking across the creek to the top of the mountain and watching the black hawks. I miss the way you cooked eggs and bacon. I love you forever. Stay with me."

For some, all of the personal stories and memories have been too much to handle. A few have tweeted at Meghan suggesting she "do this in private." When Meghan responds, the individuals have a habit of suddenly deleting their not-so-nice messages.

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But when one follower told Meghan "you are not that special," The View co-host couldn't help but explain her mindset.

"I don't believe I am special—far from it. There are many of us who are in grief and have lost those they love so deeply," she explained. "But it makes me feel less alone and hopefully others less alone to share the grief process that is still so taboo to some."

In a recent interview with Porter magazine, Meghan shared that she is in therapy and counseling. She's tried mediating and has been reading several books from Joan Didion.


When returning to The View for the first time, Meghan thanked all of her co-hosts for constantly supporting her. She also gave credit to Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman and her faith for keeping her mentally strong.

"God is real, I wouldn't be here without my faith," she shared from the New York City studio.

But perhaps her open and honest messages about grief are the ultimate signs of strength: strength her father instilled in her for 34 special years.

"He made me this tough so I would survive this," Meghan shared on The View. "Some men raise their daughters to be seen and not heard. They raise their daughters not to speak out."

"Raise strong women," she continued. "Really, it's the only thing that is keeping me right now is how tough he made me and he did that and I love him."

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