Lisa Niemi, making her first public comments since Swayze's death last month from pancreatic cancer, told attendees Tuesday at a conference that her pain "made all the sadness and grief previous to that look like an intellectual concept."
Though she cared for her husband during his 22-month battle with the disease, Niemi says grappling with the 57-year-old "Dirty Dancing" star's death was still "an animal all its own."
Niemi was speaking to several thousand women gathered Tuesday for the annual nonpartisan Women's Conference in Long Beach, Calif.
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