PLAYBOY: It’s been almost four decades since it happened. Does the grief dissipate?

COLBERT: No. It’s not as keen. Well, it’s not as present, how about that? It’s just as keen but not as present. But it will always accept the invitation. Grief will always accept the invitation to appear. It’s got plenty of time for you.

PLAYBOY: “I’ll be here.”

COLBERT: That’s right. “I’ll be here when you need me.” The interesting thing about grief, I think, is that it is its own size. It is not the size of you. It is its own size. And grief comes to you. You know what I mean? I’ve always liked that phrase He was visited by grief, because that’s really what it is. Grief is its own thing. It’s not like it’s in me and I’m going to deal with it. It’s a thing, and you have to be okay with its presence. If you try to ignore it, it will be like a wolf at your door.

PLAYBOY: It’s a loud wolf. It huffs and it puffs.

COLBERT: [Laughs] It does, doesn’t it? It can rattle the hinges.

Stephen Colbert’s father and two older brothers died in a plane crash when he was 10. This article goes on to talk about how he immersed himself in fantasy and science fiction during adolescence as a way to escape. He’s talked about how the grief finally hit him during his freshman year of college, and he finally realized how he couldn’t control it or escape it. He just had to learn to experience it and live with it. This was so evident in the final episode of the Colbert Report — from the show-down with the Grim Reaper and ultimate proclamation of immortality, to closing with Neutral Milk Hotel’s Holland 1945. I may get annoyed that most people in media don’t seem to have much personal experience (see my rant about RadioLab from yesterday), but I know that many people – like Colbert – really do “get it”.