Lisa

I’d been married to Lisa for 16 years when she passed away at the age of 39 after a short battle with colon cancer.  I always thought I’d been an involved father.  That changed when my wife died.  In many regards, I was lost; not knowing how to complete some of the simplest tasks.

There are many adjectives I could use to describe my wife.  She was capable, heading up project after project at home, work, church and in the community.  She was an extrovert who made everyone who crossed her path feel like they were the most important person she had talked to that day.  She was intelligent, with a strong opinion on politics and religion.  She was fiercely loyal to her family, friends, church and to the school where she worked.  She laughed at me, a lot, and loved it when she made me laugh.

Lisa loved to shop and could sniff out a sale like a bloodhound following an escaped felon.  She loved her girls, encouraging their self esteem and independence.  I’m better at the nurturing piece.

I was at my best with her.  She was at her best with me.  I’ve told people we didn’t have the perfect marriage; but we had the perfect marriage for us.

She was organized and taught us well.  She could handle anything and did.  The holes she left are large, but she’s here guiding us in many. many ways.

About two weeks after Lisa died, at a very low point for me, I remembered that twice I had promised her that when she could no longer fight, I would take care of the girls.  At the time, I was falling down on that promise.  Our house had been full of joy, laughter, and dancing for sixteen years.  We couldn’t lose that even though we’d lost the heart of our family.  I was determined to bring those things back.  And with three great kids and an incredible uncle, I think we’ve done pretty well.

Obituary

http://www.newsobserver.com/search_results/Elisabeth%20hayes%20Ham

She Looked Fear in the Eye, March 18, 2010

http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/03/18/394316/she-looked-fear-in-the-eye.html#storylink=misearch

Mom2Mom Article

http://www.trianglemom2mom.com/content/hope-later

A League Angel Taken Too Soon

http://www.jlraleigh.org/link_archive/2009-10/theLink_May2010.pdf

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/06/17/2142859/raleigh-dad-finds-his-stride.html

Leave a comment

49 Comments

  1. Helen LaVere

     /  January 11, 2011

    Dear Bruce,

    I was complaining about the day off today. The arrival of your blog when I actually had the time to sit down and spend time with you and your family’s love and experiences is truly a blessing. You have done much better than pretty well – with humor and dedication and love. H.

    Reply
  2. Eva

     /  January 11, 2011

    Amazing! Thanks for sharing and I can’t wait to read the book. You guys are incredible!

    Reply
  3. Leslie Silverstein

     /  January 11, 2011

    Bruce, I have just finished all that you have written and am smiling all over. I know this has been the toughest journey you have ever taken … But are your girls ever lucky to have you! Keep writing … It truly soothes the soul. Leslie S.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  January 11, 2011

      Thank you Leslie! Writing has been critically important in this journey. Still don’t like the journey but am glad I found writing as an outlet.

      Reply
  4. George

     /  January 12, 2011

    Bruce – Hi, we worked together a little bit when I worked in community relations for a large company in the area. I hate getting back in touch this way, but saw of your blog on a mutual friend’s facebook post this week (Dan Bain). Can only say how very moving to see your blog and the incredible way that you and your family are sharing your experiences here. You were always the most positive, sincere and kind people I had the pleasure of crossing paths with years ago and I wanted to just say hello and that I’m sure this blog will be a valuable lesson for many of us. Thank you.

    Reply
  5. Lynne Misenheimer

     /  January 14, 2011

    Bruce and Hayes,

    As Lisa’s former English teacher and a lover of all things Ham and Permar, I thoroughly laugh, cry,and enjoy your blog. As they grow, three lucky young ladies will remember much about their mom and learn much about their uncle and dad through your poignant words.

    Reply
    • Thank you Mrs. Misenheimer! I am trying to stay out of the discussion about where DJ will go to high school next year, but I do remind him that the Permars would put their collection of high school educators up against any, anywhere, ever!

      Reply
  6. Robin Williams

     /  January 14, 2011

    Bruce and Hayes,
    Diane passed this blog onto me and Chuck and I have so enjoyed reading it. I was laughing and crying at the same time. You both are fantastic, funny writers and those 3 girls are so lucky to have you both guiding them through life. I know they miss their mother and she is an impossible act to follow but it sounds like the two of you are doing a wonderful job with grace and humor. We still think about you and pray for you often. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  January 14, 2011

      Thanks for reading Robin. I hope that one day I’ll be in a position emotionally to help others who go through really hard times. We’ll keep throwing stuff out there!

      Reply
  7. Courtney Thompson

     /  January 30, 2011

    What a wonderful and creative way to express what you all are going through and I think it is courageous. I have not read all of it but what I have read, I have throughly enjoyed. On a side note, I do believe there is a difference between hose and tights. :) I was always taught, tights were thicker, but everything you said is dead on with anything that can happen will and how they hang down etc….you are amazing person. Keep the thoughts and stories coming. What an inspiration to many.

    Reply
  8. Carlin Ham

     /  January 31, 2011

    This blog is amazing! What a great idea!

    Bruce, Hayes, and my sweet cousins,

    I love you all so very much. I am so proud of you girls, I cannot wait to go to the beach with y’all this summer! Stay strong and beautiful!

    P.S. Fluffy, I loved my christmas present:)
    hahahaha

    Love,
    Carlin

    Reply
  9. Just found your blog and was touched by this post and the lovely stories about your wife. I wish you and your girls the best.

    Reply
  10. What a touching, deeply saddening event. I cannot imagine it. I hope you find writing lethargic. God Bless!

    Reply
  11. Words can have a pretty miraculous healing power, and I hope blogging has given your family a little bit of that comfort. Your blog is honest, witty, and full of life, I suspect that is just the way Lisa would want it to be!
    Great site & Congrats on FP!

    Reply
    • Thanks so much! She would probably forbid us from writing anything about her….but overall I think she’d be happy. Thanks for the kind words and for reading.

      Reply
  12. I am so glad I found this blog. Your daughters are the luckiest girls on earth to have a dad like you. I am glad God is using you as a beacon to show others the way.
    As a cancer survivor not a day goes by without thinking someday I will leave my precious family behind and wondering if my husband could carry the weight of it all…..
    I am amazed….
    Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  February 7, 2011

      You’ll be ok. It’s amazing what you discover deep down when you have no other choice. My wife was a strong, strong woman. I finding that maybe she left some of that down here for me!

      Reply
  13. Hi Bruce,
    My daughter goes to STS and Mrs. Biledeau was telling me about your blog today. I have had your family in my prayers since Lisa passed away. I did not know her well but enough to know she was such an effervescent person! What an incredible job you are doing and I am glad Uncle Jessie is there too!! God bless you all!

    Reply
  14. Hillarey Carder

     /  June 14, 2011

    Bruce and Hayes,

    I am in awe of both of your strength and find myself giggling at your daily struggles of having 3 girls! I am sure that Lisa is giggling too. Summer in WV was so much fun growing up when the Permar’s came to town. Lisa was my best friend in the summers and I will always remember her as that crazy girl who loved to sing. She would orchestrate broadway musical productions in the grandparent’s back yard and everyone in the neighborhood had a role. She was such a vibrant girl and i’m betting you’ve got 3 girls just like her! So inspired and proud of both of you. You all are welcome in WV anytime.

    Hillarey Curry Carder

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  June 14, 2011

      We told stories of summers in WV tonight at our middle daughter’s family birthday party. Sounds like the productions were incredible. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  15. I just found you here! I love Lisa, all of the wonderful memories and your precious family! :) Bless you!
    Excellent blog!!!
    Love,
    Pam

    Reply
  16. Beth Getzelmann

     /  December 20, 2011

    I recently lost my husband who was only 43 he died of a rare strep A virus on December 5th 2011. He was the light of my life, my everything. I am having a hard time going on. He so loved Christmas and LIFE! I still can’t believe that he is gone, maybe I just don’t want to believe it. We are forced to be in this “club” that we didn’t choose! Your story is inspirational to me and I hope that in time I can move on too. I have a 5 yr old son who will be 6 tomorrow and he is the reason I wake up daily.
    Beth Getzelmann
    sandbgetz@gmail.com

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  December 20, 2011

      Beth – just tried to send you an email – hope it went through. You’re at a tough, tough time. Hopefully we can chat over email.

      Reply
  17. Stephanie

     /  July 25, 2012

    Hi, I stumbled upon your blog and am just starting to read from the beginning, and already I can tell it’s going to be an inspiring and enlightening experience. I can almost picture your wife in my head, just from the way you describe her in this passage – pretty powerful. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Reply
  18. Lynne McGuirt

     /  October 10, 2012

    I was brought to your blog by my good friend, Joanna Wells, almost a year and a half ago. As someone who has lost someone very close to them a long time ago (my mom) and also very recently (my dad), I am always touched and comforted by your words. Grief is so personalized, but yet so similar. Days, weeks, months may go by, but when it decides to rear its ugly head, there you are! I truly believe it makes us stronger and more resilient, but the path moving through it is the hardest thing on earth.
    I am always touched by your words and your ability to express just how you feel. I hope it has been as cathartic for you as it has been beautiful for us to witness.
    Your girls are truly a testament to how strong and solid their mom and dad are/were. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us!
    Lynne M.
    Simpsonville, SC

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  October 12, 2012

      I really appreciate you reading. Writing has been good for me, and it’s good every now and then to know that others are enjoying the blog too!

      Reply
  19. Hi Danny, I love your blog and I love that you are a widowed dad writing about life as you live it. I wonder if you’d be willing to chat with me about the work that I do for an organization called Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation? You will find us at sslf dot org and further at camp widow dot org. I know, Camp Widow may sound awful, but it is actually REALLY cool. Anyway you can reach me at micheleh at sslf dot org. And I’d really love to hear from you!

    Thank you and all the best to you as you live your next chapter.

    Yours in hope,

    Michele

    Reply
  20. Sorry Danny if you are Bruce? I am confused a little, but would love to talk to the author of the blog…? Thank you!

    Reply
  21. This is beautiful I am sorry for your loss

    Reply
  22. kerry bridges

     /  June 15, 2013

    Mr. Tanner , I lost my wife of 20 years on April 4 , 2012. she fought breast cancer for 15 months. it was triple negative and after one round of experimental chemo and one round of traditional chemo ,then radiation , it still came back with a vengeance., I don’t have to tell you the details but it was a rollercoaster ride. I have a 14 year old daughter who was there through it all. She seems to be doing fine and just finished the 9th grade. I told everyone when I lost my wife I lost my best friend too. She was also the brains of this operation. When something like this happens and it all falls on you ,it can be way too overwhelming to take. I think I have done pretty good but I wonder why the Lord chose to take her and not me. My daughter would be better off that way. I am glad I got her because she has been the reason I have held it together, I mean what choice do we have? I turned my computer on today and saw an article on yahoo news and I am glad a group like this exist. I have had people tell me to get help, but never saw anything I thought that would.. Plus we are men right ,we suppose to do it on our own. It is nice to know that I am not alone in this and that other fathers and husbands are going thru the same things and can understand what I feel.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  June 15, 2013

      I’m glad I found the group. I was lucky. I also have a really good counselor – not at all like me. She pushes when I need it and is empathetic when I need that. Help has been good for me.

      Reply
  23. Just ran across your blog and have enjoyed reading each and every post! You are doing a great job with your kids and I cant wait to continue reading even more posts from you!

    Reply
  24. Eric

     /  July 25, 2013

    My wife Isabelle, age 50, passed away on June 4th this year, after a 4 year battle with cancer, leaving me and my 4 year old daughter. I am in the middle of that Fog right now. I came across your Blog through Single Fathers due to Cancer. I am reading your blog, asking myself what is laying ahead of me in raising my daughter. I am kind of scared, because I hope I can do what my wife wanted me to do for raising our daughter. I know I will have my challenges. But connecting with other fathers who are going through what I am going through, hopefully I can learn from them. Right now, I am the one need fixing, which I am getting help from conselling and my doctor. I just don’t know how people loose a love one move forward. But I have too, since I am the one still alive. For my daughter, myself and Isabelle.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  July 25, 2013

      Eric, I’m going to try to email you. You’re in a tough, tough place right now. That fog is going to follow you for a while. I’m so sorry – the first 18 months – especially that first year – was just excruciating. It’s a ton better now – but I still think about her every single day. Still miss her – still wish she was here. Hang in there man. You can do this – it will be the hardest thing you ever do, but you can do it.

      Reply
  25. Although I have just begun reading your blog, I am already deeply touched by it. You have such an undeniable love for your wife and your family. It is truly a beautiful thing.

    Reply
  26. This is such an inspirational piece of work! God bless you and your family. I look forward to keeping you all in my prayers. Love you all in Christ. God bless! :) -Jordone

    Reply
  27. So beautiful and so sorry for your loss. You are so brave and such inspiration to others! What a blessing you are to so many others who stay silent during their grief. I am looking forward to reading your book and blog! I just came across it and am so filled with hope after breifly scanning through. I too blog and am working on my book about losing my daughter. Hope to inspire as you have.

    Blessings to your family.

    Daphne

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  June 10, 2014

      Write on. You’ll find it is healing and can be so helpful to others.

      Reply
  28. Love the honesty and humor here. We went through hellonearth after adding two members, rather than losing one (the insanity started improving about two years in). Hubby’s been telling me to blog; I finally started and was looking for ideas on other blogs, then found yours. I’m sitting here reading your posts out loud to him, and we’re both cracking up. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Reply

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