Those of us who’ve been unfortunate enough to lose a loved one will know just how much it hurts. And the pain ran deep for actor Colton Haynes when his mom Dana – to whom he was particularly close – recently passed away. But when he expressed his grief on Instagram, the subsequent outpouring of sympathy helped the Arrow star to regain his strength.
Though he may only be just short of his 30th birthday, Colton Haynes has already enjoyed a long and fruitful career. Following his debut in 2007’s Transformers, the actor has graced shows such as Teen Wolf and Scream Queens. Yet it’s probably his role as Arsenal in Arrow through which fans know him best.
However, Haynes hasn’t always had such an enviable life. Indeed, despite experiencing what he described to Flaunt in 2013 as a fairly “free-spirited” childhood, the star suffered various hardships during his teen years. Most notably, his estranged father committed suicide shortly after the 14-year-old Haynes had come out to his family.
But while Haynes didn’t have much of a relationship with his father, the same could not be said of his bond with his mom Dana. But although they were closer, their relationship was still fraught with difficulties. In fact, when the star first revealed his sexuality to his mother, her shocked reaction contributed to Haynes’ decision to run away from home.
Nevertheless, by attending therapy, in time Haynes was able to move on and heal the wounds from his youth. Moreover, the actor could finally build bridges with his mother, while she learned to love him for whom he was. In fact, when the star married Jeff Leatham in 2017, it was Dana who walked him down the aisle.
So, it at last seemed that Haynes had attained happiness. But his life then took another drastic turn in January 2018. His mother underwent an extensive series of medical examinations, and the actor was subsequently informed that Dana was suffering from cirrhosis of the liver.
After remaining silent for weeks about his mother’s diagnosis, Haynes finally broke the news via Instagram the following month. According to the medical reports, Dana’s condition would improve if a successful liver transplant could be performed. Nonetheless, her condition meant that the time in which she could potentially be saved was perilously short.
Upon the announcement of this sad news, Haynes’ followers sent him messages of support. One of them even volunteered themselves as a donor! But despite this fan’s incredibly generous offer, the actor and his family resigned themselves to the fact that their mother might not pull through.
In February 2018 the family admitted Dana to a hospice, and another of her sons, Clinton, started an online campaign to pay the cost of nursing staff. “The doctors suggested that we now focus on my mother’s quality of life rather than the quantity of life,” Haynes admitted through Instagram. “It’s heartbreaking.”
Through it all, though, Dana apparently remained as full of life as she had been in her younger years. According to her son, his mother said that “the best thing to do in these situations is to laugh” upon hearing her diagnosis. “She then chuckled so loud you could hear it to the other end of the hospital,” Haynes added.
Yet despite Dana’s show of strength, Haynes still had to face up to the painful prospect of losing her. “My strong mother has always been the anchor of this family and our best friend,” he wrote on Instagram. “Now we’re being forced to say goodbye to her.”
For a while after the announcement, Haynes remained quiet about his mother’s status. Aside from a few photos of the two together that he posted on his Instagram feed, the star kept her final days relatively private. And then in March, he shared some very sad news.
On March 14, 2018 – two months after his mother’s initial diagnosis – the actor revealed that Dana had passed away. Flanked by an image of the two of them dancing, the screen star announced her death with the following message: “Today I lost my best friend, the love of my life… my momma.”
Alongside this heart-wrenching message, Haynes shared a series of photos that displayed the richness of his mom’s life. Beginning with shots of Dana in her youth, the album ended with a shot of her and Haynes arm in arm during his wedding. In addition, Haynes continued to relay just what her relationship had meant to him.
“I have so many things to say but I’m in a state of shock,” the heartbroken actor divulged. Nonetheless, he made it clear that her memory would be cherished. “Words can’t express how incredible this woman was…I will always love you momma. RIP my angel.”
Immediately after the actor’s post, some of Haynes’ buddies pitched in with messages of support. In the comments section, Lucy Hale wrote, “Colton…she was beautiful. I’m so very sorry friend.” And other stars such as Paul W. Downs, Michael Turchinart and Amelia Gray Hamlin also expressed their condolences.
Meanwhile, the Arrow star’s fans made sure to let the actor know that he was in their thoughts. Alongside a video of Haynes’ and his mother’s last dance – uploaded three days after her death – a user called florcouselo wrote, “She is always going to be with you, always… Be brave and strong.”
Of course, it’s never easy to move on from the death of a loved one. And, a month after his beloved mother’s passing, Haynes is clearly still coming to terms with her passing as best he can. In April 2018 the star admitted on Instagram to having been so “paralyzed” with emotions after her collecting her ashes that he’d immediately booked into a motel to be alone with his grief.
But this sad moment apparently led to a strange and incredible experience that has helped the actor recover his strength. After leaving his motel room the next day, Haynes locked eyes with a baby rabbit outside in the parking lot. And – as the star documented on Instagram – he felt his mother’s presence wishing him well.
“I truly felt like this rabbit was my incredible mom consoling me and telling me that’s all gonna be ok,” he told his followers. Adding that the event was “the most surreal/incredible thing that’s ever happened to me,” Haynes seemed to suggest that the worst of his pain might be over. Here’s hoping the star the very best for the future.