“Two years ago today Elvis and I said goodbye to Nick. It was the hardest day of my life,” she captioned the short clip. “There hasn’t been a day I haven’t missed him. Nick was a presence. His smile and laugh lit up a room. He loved everyone and was a great friend to anyone that knew him.”
Cordero died in 2020 following a lengthy health battle due to complications with COVID-19. He was 41.
Her social media share was set to the Justin Bieber song “Ghost” and included footage of Cordero singing and dancing in addition to videos with their son Elvis, who is now three years old.
Kloots recalled how a friend’s “beautiful dream” helped her change the narrative surrounding the difficult day.
“I’ll tell you a story… Last year on this day my girlfriend told me about beautiful dream she had,” Kloots wrote. “We were all at a party and Nick was there looking happy and radiant. When she asked him why he was there he said, ‘What do you mean? Today is my birthday. It’s the one day I get to come back and celebrate with everyone I love.’ Hearing this completely changed my mood. He’s celebrating today? He’s happy? Birth and death have so many similarities. I can’t possibly know what’s on the other side but he was sending me a clear message.
“I quickly reframed this day. July 5th is Nicks ‘new birth’ day instead of his death day. This idea brought a positive light to a otherwise dark day. I decided then that I will celebrate with him today and always on July 5th.”
She added: “I love honey. I miss you more than life.”
The “Dancing with the Stars” contestant made it her mission to turn the day into a more positive memory and shared a host of photos from a family trip to Capri, Italy, where she had spent her honeymoon with Cordero in 2017.
“I made it a goal of mine last year to be away on this day,” she told E! News. “To be by water, which is always a safe haven and therapy for me.”
Along with throwback images of her late husband, Kloots posted snaps with her sister and danced on a boat before listening to Cordero’s album to call it a night on his new day.
Cordero, a Broadway star, began feeling ill in March 2020, and Kloots drove him to the emergency room at Cedar Sinai in Los Angeles. She recalled in an Instagram post last year that March 30, 2020 was the last time she saw “Nick as Nick,” as she dropped off her husband of three years at the hospital thinking he would call her “when he was done” seeing doctors.
‘With Covid restrictions in place, we didn’t know which entrance was even open, so I left him on the corner,’ she wrote. “We didn’t hug. We didn’t kiss goodbye. We couldn’t. It was clear he was sick with something and we couldn’t take any risks. I don’t even know if he said bye to Elvis or if we said, ‘I love you.’ I told him I’d stay nearby and to call me when he’s done. We walked to The Grove to kill time. We thought it would be a couple hours. That was the last day I saw Nick as Nick.”
She added: “My heart breaks today. I wish I could go back in time, run to him as he was walking away, grab him, kiss him and hold him in my arms. On April 1, he went on the ventilator and I never spoke to him again.”
Cordero suffered from several medical issues throughout his 13-week hospitalization, which included mini-strokes, the amputation of one of his legs, lung infections and more. At the time, Kloots kept fans updated on his battle with the coronavirus via social media, a journey which captured the nation.
“This doesn’t have to be a day where I cry my eyes out,” she told People magazine during a panel discussion on grief, which included Bob Saget’s widow Kelly Rizzo. “This can be a day where I get a cake and we sing happy new birthday to dad. I think that definitely will become a tradition for us.”