The Evolution of a Man


I had never written a thing, outside of a school assignment, until September of 2009.

They found Lisa’s tumor on September 4.  It was the Friday before Labor Day.  Exactly two weeks later, on September 18, a colleague at work left a blank journal on my desk.  He wrote:

I wish I had superlative words of comfort and healing but I fear them to be inadequate.  The better thing is this journal.

The next day I wrote for the first time:

Mom thinks I’m grieving for something that probably won’t happen.  Although I do have some thoughts around “what if” and it scares and saddens me, I think I’m perhaps more grieving over the loss of life BC (before cancer).  I think about our summer – vacations, laughter, family time without a worry, excitement about courting my wife.  All still possible, all come out now in glimpses – but all happiness, right now, quickly becomes overshadowed by CANCER.  It’s everywhere… on the voice mail, email, text – grocery store, meals arriving at the door, visitors and house guests who wouldn’t be here without IT.  The dread of another trip to Durham where you might find out more… the worry for your kids and constant art Michelle produces all designed to make mom better.  Knowing that for the rest of Lisa’s life, we’ll, or at least I, will be looking over my shoulder for IT to creep up on us again.  We’ll beat it this time, I think we will.

After Lisa died in February, 2010, I began writing a memoir.  It described our happy life together and shared the story of her illness and death.  I’d put together almost 200 pages before I started this blog.

At first I thought my book was about grief and loss.  As I read and re-read it, I discovered that wasn’t really the central theme.  It was more about a boy becoming a man – sort of the evolution of one man, me.

I’ve written a few blogs since then, man have I written.  At times my blogging has been so consuming that I haven’t taken the time to work on my real story, the one that is so personally important to me.

I’ve thought a great deal about why I want to finish my book.  I don’t anticipate it going platinum or being selected for Oprah’s book club.  Although either of those would be nice, it’s not my motive.  My real reason for completing it is for my girls and for me.  I’d like for them, one day, to be able to understand who our family was BC and to have a grasp of what happened the year we lost their mother.  I want them to know how hard she fought to stay with them.  I want them to see and feel how much I loved her.

Recently I began working with a friend, Tanya Stockton at Publishing Unleashed.  She helps authors publish and market their writing.  I have an editor who is currently digging through what I have written, and they’re pushing me to finish the story.  They say we’re going to publish by Father’s Day.  I’m not so sure about that.

The problem is, I don’t know how it ends.  I don’t know what this man ends up being.  I don’t know what the kids look like in the future.  I don’t know if we make it – if it all turns out alright.

Over the next couple of months, I’m going to commit to focusing on my book.  I think that means I’ll temporarily cut down to one blog per week – probably on Wednesdays.  I may toss in a Sunday Post every couple of weeks, if I have something thoughtful to say.  And my plan is to come back full steam once I finish my last couple of chapters.

I have a feeling, I’m gonna need a sequel.

Leave a comment


  1. I have learned much reading your blogs. I look forward to your book. I find value in your thoughts and stories.

  2. I will be sad with less posts but understand why….and I think you wrote your ending in the third to last paragraph.

  3. Gwen

     /  January 9, 2013

    Inspiring post. I hope you do indeed finish your book.

  4. Eloise

     /  January 9, 2013

    Bruce, I’m so glad you are publishing a book. Your candid reflections and blog posts have been blessings to all who read them. I’ll miss your Sunday posts, but will replace the time I take to read them with prayer time for God to multiply your time and encourage you as you persevere in completing your first manuscript. Father’s Day is such a great time for your book’s release.
    Don’t get hung up on the ending. None of us know the details of “the rest of the story.” However, I do find encouragement in Revelation chapters 22 and 23, because they do remind me that ultimately God restores, redeems and renews everything in heaven and earth, … He promises that in the end, we live “happily ever after” with him forever. Press on my friend, and thank you for sharing your gift with us all!

  5. Faye

     /  January 9, 2013

    You can do this Bruce. You are an inspiration to so many. Looking forward to reading your finished product

  6. Fran

     /  January 9, 2013

    You can get this book published and accomplish so much more. You are a true inspiration to all who come in contact with you. As for the future who knows, but for now I see 3 beautiful girls growing up in the way their mother would be so proud of. You have done and are doing a super job with them. Don’t forget to take care of the man you have become as well.

  7. Cris

     /  January 9, 2013

    I might steal this as a theme for a future blog. I’ve asked myself the same question a few times since my divorce 7 years ago. I don’t think the story ends. I don’t think we ever sort out who we’re going to be when we never grow up.

    I think it’s more a TV series with multiple seasons. Each season ends, there’s a huge cliffhanger:
    Will Barney end up with Robin?
    Will Ross end up with Rachel?
    What new series will John Stamos end up on next?

    I’m so glad you’re going to publish your book, tho. You have a lot to say and your voice is much clearer than some of the stuff I’ve been reading on my Kindle. Really. Amazon needs you. 🙂


  8. Homestead Ramblings

     /  January 9, 2013

    Glad to hear this news, God is with you in this.

  9. Gentile

     /  January 9, 2013

    Go Bruce! Awesome! I want a signed copy please!!!! You make us smile – we all always knew that Lisa picked one if the best.
    Love to you all. – Gentiles

  10. What great news. I’m so thrilled for you. You have so much to share that will be of such help to others. God is taking you where He wants you to go.

  11. I’m not familiar with your other blogs. Can you post links?

  12. Wanda Easley

     /  January 9, 2013

    I didn’t know a book was in the offing and am delighted to hear it. I’m a huge fan of your blog, as I consider you a talented writer. Kudos to you! What an inspiration you have been, telling your story poignantly and, yet, with the everyday humor any parent can appreciate. Sign me up for a first edition! And, best of luck!

  13. I learn from your blog and can’t wait for your book.

  14. Thank you again for your blog. For obvious reasons your journey resonates with mine. Although you are a couple of years ahead of me in this “after” life, there is a sense that there still is life. Thanks again.

  15. Jeannie Collman

     /  January 10, 2013

    I’ve admired your extended family for all the years I’ve known them and cried and laughed as I came to know all of you better thru your blog. I only recently became a follower even tho I had read every post since the first. Pleased to know there is a book in progress and will look forward to bringing my copy for an autograph next August. New event on the Capon schedule….”Book signing on the porch.”

    • Danny Tanner

       /  January 10, 2013

      We’ll definiately need cocktails for that one. Man- I hope I’m done by then!

  16. Mrs.Z

     /  January 19, 2013

    I was so excited to read this post. After we talked about it at rehearsal I have been thinking and praying for you to get the push to finish. I can’t wait to read this book and am already looking forward to the sequel. Much love and support to you Mr.Tanner 🙂


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