5 Things I Wish I’d Done Before Losing My Wife


1.  Asked her what she would have done had she lost me.  Lisa died 20 months ago.  I bet I’ve wondered 10,000 times what she would have done if she were in my shoes.  I wish I’d known more about how she thought.  I wish I’d had time to do role plays with her – maybe one big truth or dare game, minus the dare, with all questions related to how to handle life without her.  If only I had a shred of her wisdom.  If only I’d observed better.  If only I had asked more.

2.  Find out the most important lessons she’d want me to pass on to our kids.  Lisa did leave a list of four rules for the girls.  But I can’t say for sure what she considered the most important life lessons and life skills she’d want me to focus on.  I can make some guesses and assumptions, but I’d love to have her top 10.

3.  Done a better job of letting her know how much I loved and respected her.  There is no doubt in my mind that Lisa knew I loved her.  I told her on a regular basis.  But I’m not sure my actions always mirrored my words.  It’s one thing to say it.  It’s another to live it.

4.  Shared more about our faith.  We talked about God and talked about our beliefs, and we talked a lot about what we didn’t believe.  But I sure would have liked to have had more in-depth conversations about heaven – what she thought it would be like, what she feared.  We didn’t want to believe she would die.  We didn’t go there.  I wish we had.

5.  Made us a higher priority.  Some of my fondest memories of Lisa were when the two of us had time – with no one else around:  a quick trip to Florida for the weekend, a night out at Porters for dinner with no kids, a Saturday morning on the front porch reading the paper.  Time and life got in our way.

That’s what I wish I’d done differently.

Leave a comment


  1. I think we’ve all been there. Hindsight is 20/20, I have found. I’m sorry for your loss – for your wife and the mother of your beautiful girls.

  2. Elizabeth

     /  October 23, 2011

    what were Lisa’s four rules?

    • Danny Tanner

       /  October 23, 2011

      They were more eloquent than this, but basically: teach each other/ love each other/gang up on dad when necessary/support your father if he decides to remarry – pretty simple yet pretty amazing huh?

  3. My prayers and thoughts are for you.

  4. Katie Martin

     /  October 23, 2011

    This is going to live on my refrigerator as a daily reminder. What an incredible gift it is for couples that you shared your reflections. I think we all need to be having the important conversations – not only with our spouses, but with our kids, our parents, our closest friends….Thank you.

  5. Anna Turley

     /  October 23, 2011

    There is no doubt she knew how much you loved and respected her. Prayers daily for you and your family.

  6. Aunt Susan

     /  October 23, 2011

    Oh she knew how much you loved her, and the girls, just as you know she loved you and the girls.You two always had such a great relationship. I think you know, without knowing what she wanted to share with the girls, and you are doing exactly that. It’s tough, but you are accomplishing so much. It would be nicer and easiser with her physically there with you, but we all know she’s there spirtually, in each and every one of you.

  7. Mom

     /  October 23, 2011

    Aunt Susan’s exactly right. She knew that you loved her….and you are raising them like Lisa wanted. We see that every time we are with you. You are careful about the principles that she taught those kids and I see a lot of Lisa in all of them and her touch on your life. You do need to reread Lisa’s rules that she left for you every now and them. They remind you of the rules for the girls and for yourself. You remember the ones for the girls but at times maybe not for yourself.


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