Sunday Post 110: What counts the most

Xmas at Disney, Ham Family

It may not be the big things in life that you’re most remembered for.  Three years ago today, my wife died peacefully at Duke Medical Center.  Last night, I asked the kids what they most remembered about mom.

It wasn’t her leadership in the community or the fact that she spearheaded the effort to build their new school.  It wasn’t her accomplishments at the Jr. League or the vision she shared on the church building committee.  What they remembered most were the small things.

“Mom always wanted to shop at Harold’s at the mall.  As soon as she was finished shopping, she’d take us to the candy store right by the escalators.  I looked forward to that every time!”

Sweet memories.  Sweet,  sweet memories.

She drank diet Dr. Pepper.  Her fingernails were impeccable.  Once she got addicted to Afrin – wouldn’t leave the house without it!

She’d only listen to one type of music at a time – winter often brought country, the summer was pop.  You didn’t even think about changing the Christmas station from November 1st on.

She was a stickler for tradition – chili and cornbread on Christmas Eve and the song “Almost Heaven, West Virginia” as we drove over the mountain to our August getaway at Capon Springs.

One of the things that they miss the most is her back scratches.  “Dad, you don’t have fingernails.  Mom scratched.  You give a nub rub.”

Instead of trying to change the world, maybe I should just grow my fingernails out and take more visits to the candy store.  In the end, maybe that’s what counts the most.

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101 Comments

  1. Mom

     /  February 24, 2013

    We’re finishing the third year this week. I look back at where we started and am amazed at how far we have all come. I am thankful for time and it’s healing abilities. I don’t think even you are aware of all the healing that has taken place with you. As hard as the anniversaires are, you have done an amazing job of starting over and building a new life for you and your girls. The fact that they laugh and are happy children and are able to talk so freely about Lisa with a smile and a happy memory tells me a lot about the progress that you four have made. As we finish this year, I want to say …good job! .You did it right.

    Reply
  2. Melanie Walker

     /  February 24, 2013

    I (and everyone else who knows you) echo your mom’s sentiment. You all are doing an amazing job. I think it is often hard to find the “window” God opens when he shuts a door, or the good that comes from tragedy. In your case, as I look in from the outside, I already see so many amazing things that have come because of Lisa’s life and death and the way you have carried on.

    But, I thank you for this post for reminding all of the crazy, frentic moms out here, like me, that the thinks that matter to our kids are the small things. We often put those off or don’t appreciate those traditions or quiet moments with our kids. But they do – appreciate and remember.

    We all miss Lisa so much, but we adore Bruce, Bailey, Lucy P and Annie T more than ever.
    XO

    Reply
  3. This is a well-known and déjà vu situation for me ( I was left orphan at 9) but invite you to go on this way ,remembering your mother and keeping her in your heart….

    Reply
  4. Sweet memories, indeed. Thank you for sharing your family and life. It appears to me that you are doing an admirable job with your daughters, remembering your precious wife and mother in so many big and small ways.

    Reply
  5. Amen, mom. Amen. And may the peace of our Lord be always with you, Bruce. +

    Reply
  6. George

     /  February 25, 2013

    Simple memories make for a touching remembrance and tell a story of your lives. Thank you as always for sharing in a way that makes me TRY to remember to appreciate every day, and the little things that make our families and lives.

    Reply
  7. Alma Cutler

     /  February 25, 2013

    What is more important than memories? You are doing an amazing job, you are amazing. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  8. When our loved ones pass away all we have left are the sweet memories. Kudos to you for helping the kids remember those sweet memories for many years to come. Thank you for sharing Angelia @ http://dixielandcountry.com

    Reply
  9. This was lovely. Today I have a special friend experiencing her first birthday since her mom has passed. All I could do was remind her that her mother is always with her even if not in body but always in heart and soul. Thank you for this post it confirms that while losing a loved one is never easy that when time goes by we can remember the great memories rather than dwell on the sadness of loss. Thank you again.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  February 28, 2013

      One year out is hard – three still hurts, but not nearly as bad.

      Reply
  10. Enjoyed this post. :) Precious Memories, as the old hymn sings. :) So thankful that physical death is not the end. Blessings. :)

    Reply
  11. Kudos to you to keeping your wife’s memory alive with your precious children. As someone who lost their mother at a younger , I can tell you memories are the greatest gift my mother left me. Keep them alive always. Sending positive and healing thoughts to you and your family.
    {Simply Sweet}

    Reply
  12. While I don’t personally know you, I could not imagine a life without my children’s mother here. I hope that I never have to face that. However, if the good Lord decides I do, I pray that I am as strong as you and your family. As my blog states; everything happens for a reason and we are not in control of it. I firmly believe that but it is hard to understand the reasons when a loved one is lost. God bless you all!

    Reply
  13. What a beautiful post. I’m so very sorry for your loss, and am glad that your children have a father like you to talk to them about their memories. It’s so important, and not something everyone does.

    Reply
  14. Beautiful post! I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Reply
  15. Really we all have been so busy in this race known as life that we have forgotten that we all are just temporary in this world.

    Reply
  16. May you all have the strength to bear the loss of a loved one! God bless:)

    Reply
  17. It is so true, yet often forgotten – it’s the small stuff that matters most:) inspiring!

    Reply
  18. Thank you for sharing your journey. Your wife would be very proud.

    Reply
  19. thuriayaa

     /  February 27, 2013

    that’s b/c her act showed how much she cared about the interest of the kids so they remembered it. rest of the great deeds, they don’t matter much, someone else could have done them too but someone else couldn’t take them to the candy store always.

    you know. kids need mom like mom, to feed them, cloth them, wash them, play with them, hug them, wipe away tears etc. Mom. a mother at times of happiness and sadness and always.

    Reply
  20. In the end I suppose it really is the small things in life that matter and that we remember most. I’m so sorry for your painful loss, and I pray that The Lord will be your peace and comfort.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  February 28, 2013

      I think He is bringing that peace – it just comes back slowly. Thanks -

      Reply
  21. Mancakes

     /  February 27, 2013

    Wow. This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for the reality check. Really moving stuff.

    Reply
  22. great post..love reading this..

    Reply
  23. Thank you for sharing such a touching story. Losing a loved one is always difficult. As long as you have those memories, part of them always lives on.

    Reply
  24. We remember the simpliest moments. My mother passed away four years ago and I miss the sound of her voice more than anything else.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  February 28, 2013

      I still have Lisa on our voice mail. I just can’t seem to bring myself to erase it.

      Reply
  25. Touching and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you.

    Reply
  26. Evez

     /  February 28, 2013

    very touching. I lost my Mom when I was 6 and still cry sometimes..

    Reply
  27. Things that truly count in life. You’re doing an awesome job.Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  28. My grandma passed away recently and all I can think of was why did I wait so long to see her? All because I was afraid she would disapprove of my life. (long story) Regardless, the first time I saw her 2 months before she passed, she was in the hospital and all she could say was, “I miss you, why haven’t you come to see me?” Then i just broke down and I realized that I had been stupid. Family is important and they will love you no matter what you do. Thanks for sharing your story, it reminds me how I have to treasure my own family and keep communicating even when we disagree.

    Reply
  29. How wonderful that you did not shut the memories of her out! Sometimes pain and grief make us close-off our loved ones who have passed on. It’s beautiful to remember our celebrate our times with them. She must be smiling brightly and proudly at you!

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  February 28, 2013

      I guess she’s a part of our life and I would imagine always will be.

      Reply
  30. With mothers, it is all about the small sacrifices and giving we take for granted until she’s gone or we’re older and wiser. With dads, it’s how they made you feel. That’s my experience, anyway. Thanks for sharing a bit of your world…

    Reply
  31. The little things do count! Loved your blog.

    Reply
  32. Lovely memories

    Reply
  33. To the community she was a spearhead for new school, for the church she was a fund raiser but to your children she was their MOTHER . There is No Replacement. You are the only one who can come to the nearest of what she did for the children. Give ur best. God bless your family.

    Reply
  34. stephaniegeorgina

     /  February 28, 2013

    Really thought provoking post – makes me feel guilty about the relationship I have with my Dad. For some reason there’s always been a barrier, our characters completely clash and I find it hard getting on with him, making conversation without getting annoyed and understanding what’s going on inside his head – and that frustrates me. Sometimes need reminding that nothing is forever so its important to focus on the positives (no matter how hard that might be) because they’ll be the things you miss about a person.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  February 28, 2013

      Yea – my mantra has become “no regrets.” I don’t want to leave this earth with anything left undone or unsaid.

      Reply
  35. I just lost my father in January and the thing I miss the most was putting him to bed. He had Parkinson’s and I slept in the same room for the last six years. Every night i would tell him two things. “I love you ” and “I’ll be right here”. Every night he would reply ” I love you too” and “nighty -night” I still say those things but I have added “nighty-night”

    Reply
  36. You write very movingly. She would be very proud of you and this blog xx

    Reply
  37. Sarah Bergstein

     /  February 28, 2013

    This post was is beautiful in so many ways. Thanks for brightening my day and God Bless to you and your beautiful family.

    Reply
  38. I lost my real dad when I was ten years old and your very correct its the small things I remember thank you for sharing this!

    Reply
  39. This brought tears to my eyes. My mom passed away just over 6 years ago, and it’s the same for me. It isn’t the big things that leave the largest void. It’s the little things that made life with her as my momma so special. It is special that your children can cherish memories of a mother who obviously loved them and built those oh-so-important small memories with them. Thanks for sharing. It not only brought tears of empathy and memories of my own departed mom, but reminded me to cherish these little things with my own small children. Be blessed!

    Reply
  40. It is amazing how such little things turn into big things that children remember for the rest of their lives :-)

    Reply
  41. What a beautiful post. Thank you for the gift of reading about your wife.

    Reply
  42. So poignant and bittersweet. I will not cry at work; I will not cry at work…. ~Rae

    Reply
  43. May the blessings be!

    Reply
  44. Beautiful… it really made me think over this subject: ‘What counts the most?’ Love does….love always does. Thanks for sharing this!

    Reply
  45. Thank you VERY much for this insightful post! After quitting my job about 9 months ago to be a stay at home mom to our three children, the transition has been nothing short of difficult. I have wondered if I am even really making a difference at home. When I think back to my childhood, I don’t seem have too many memories of spending time with my mom and dad as a child – they were too busy working at either of their two jobs to make ends meet.

    I don’t want my kids to feel like they were secondary to my job. I want them to remember me volunteering in their clasrooms, reading books/magazines together, praying with them, enjoying our strolls around the neighborhood just before dinner as a family, etc…

    I appreciate your post. May the Lord continue to give you and your children the strength and comfort to carry on. God bless your family! – J.C.

    Reply
  46. Very poignant reminder that its the little things that count. My mom is alive but lives in another country from me and the thing I most remember about her is the noise her bangles made and the smell of her perfume on her clothes.

    Reply
  47. I know exactly what you mean, its weird to think about it though. I lost my mom as a junior in high school, and when I think about her, i think of how she loved Big Red gum, or how loud she could whistle. I think about how she decorated the house on holidays and was a huge fan of yahtzee. I deffinityl never think about her jobs and such. Great post, thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  48. I grew up singing Almost heaven WV, and going to Capon Bridge. Im a mom of three now and those moments are everything. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  March 6, 2013

      then you understand the specialness of that place.

      Reply
  49. You are right, it is the small things that count.

    Reply
  50. interesting post :)

    Reply
  51. Moving. You write beautifully and I can literally picture her in this story. Beautiful, really. Blessings!

    Reply
  52. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

    Reply
  53. I lost my mom seven years ago. It is definitely the moments together that I miss. Beautiful.

    Reply
  54. sometimes little things are what count the most.

    Reply
  55. love this post! I lost my dad to cancer a year and a half ago and even though he was a man of many many achievements and awards and what not, non of that really mattered. It’s all the little memories that I hold close… like watching him shave his face, sitting in the car out side the house telling jokes, long talks and walks around the mall, and going to baseball games in the summer.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  March 14, 2013

      It makes me sad to hear so many folks who have lost a spouse or parent to cancer. It’s nuts.

      Reply
  56. Reblogged this on chatrandom.

    Reply
  57. I am so tired of hearing people wax on and on about their wussy Ozzie and Harriet family lives and how sweet everything and body was. Families put more people into therapy than all the wars put together. For every happy family and dozen more are pure hell.

    Reply
  58. Very moving and a telling blog for all of us mums out there!

    Reply
  59. I pay a visit every day a few websites and sites to read posts,
    except this website provides quality based articles.

    Reply
  60. Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4
    year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had
    to tell someone!

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  April 24, 2013

      That’s awesome! I wish it would have happened to me – that would be a great blog post! Hilarious.

      Reply
  61. I usually do not create a bunch of remarks, but i did some searching and wound up here Sunday Post 110: What counts the most | The Real Full House.

    And I actually do have a few questions for you if it’s allright. Is it simply me or does it look as if like a few of these comments look like they are left by brain dead individuals? :-P And, if you are posting at additional online social sites, I’d
    like to keep up with anything new you have to post.
    Could you list of the complete urls of all your shared pages like your linkedin
    profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  May 9, 2013

      I just post here – we are on Twitter at therealfullhouse – sometimes I tweet funny things the kids say but not that often. Just simply don’t have time! I do have my posts set to go out automatically on Twitter.

      Thanks for reading! Look for my book, hopefully in June!

      Reply
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