Coffey Anderson Opens Up About Wife Criscilla's Ongoing Cancer Battle: 'I Don't Look Past Tonight'
"If I ever break down, I will never break down in front of her or our babies," the country star tells PEOPLE
In the two years since his wife Criscilla received a devastating diagnosis of colon cancer, Coffey Anderson has faced the starkness of their shared reality with the unrelenting faith that everything is going to be OK.
At least, that's the attitude he shows the world.
"I don't think about it when we are in the middle of it," Anderson, 42, tearfully confesses to PEOPLE as his wife, 40, steps away to attend to the needs of one of their children. "If I ever break down, I will never break down in front of her or our babies."
Of course, a break down would certainly be acceptable, considering how much this couple has been through. In the past year alone, they have endured an onslaught of scans and predictions and treatments and diets when it comes to Criscilla’s ongoing fight against stage 4 colon cancer. In fact, a subsequent immunotherapy treatment even landed Criscilla in the hospital this past October with a severe allergic reaction and an enlarged liver.
And if that wasn't enough, they both battled COVID-19 last month.
"One of the biggest things that I have always said is, 'How do you eat an elephant?'" says Coffey of a hypothetical question he actually posed many a time during the first season of the couple's wildly popular Netflix show Country Ever After. "You eat it one bite at a time. And when we are in the middle of it all, I really focus on what we have to do that day."
But at the end of the day, when the house is dark, and the kids are quiet and Criscilla has laid her head down on the pillow next to him, Anderson admits that his mind tends to wander.
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"I'm not going to say that it's not really hard at night, because it is," admits Coffey. "But when you say 'for better or for worse,' you have to mean it."
And he does. And so does the growing legion of fans who have continued to support this couple both emotionally and spiritually through every twist and turn.
"It leaves us humbled and thankful and over the moon, because it still feels rather unexpected," Coffey notes. "I don't think people understand the power of thankfulness and gratefulness. There is a special power in being grateful, and we are grateful for every day and for every memory. There is something special about saying to yourself, 'Wow this is amazing, and we are so thankful.'"
Nevertheless, the pandemic has undoubtedly wreaked havoc on Coffey's career as a touring artist, with the subsequent cancellation of a majority of his booked dates in 2020. But as an independent country music artist, he refuses to let it get him down.
"When you are grateful and thankful, you can't compare yourself to anybody else because what you have is sufficient," reflects Coffey, whose song, "Mr. Red White & Blue" went viral on TikTok back in July. "So, if I start comparing my career or my family to someone else, that takes a massive blessing of what God has already given me."
And what God has given Criscilla and Coffey is an abundance of goodness that they see every day in not only the eyes of their children — 8-year-old Ethan, 6-year-old Emmarie and 4-year-old Everleigh — but also in the eyes of one another.
"I don't look past tonight," Coffey says. "We take it one day at a time. We take every day and every moment, and we make a memory. Love the ones you got, while you got them, as hard as you can, while you can."
And thus far, the prayers are working. Criscilla's latest cancer scans show that her tumors are either staying the same size or even shrinking. "We are going to ride this positivity until the wheels fall off," says Coffey with a laugh.
For now, Criscilla has decided to forgo additional chemo treatments.
"We just needed a break," he explains. "Those scans came back positive and good and everything seems to be on the up and up for her. It's giving us the break we needed emotionally. I feel like we might have a success story happening right before our eyes."
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