Sunday Post 20: An Acre of Bed

Posted by Danny

I miss her the most at night.  I think that’s why I stay up so late.  I just can’t bring myself to go into that room and face the night alone.

When we added on to the house about five years ago, we were excited to build a new master bedroom.  It’s a nice room with built-in bookshelves and a large walk in closet.  Lisa got 2/3 for her clothes; I took what was left.  Most of her things are still there, although I moved them to the back so I could have the prime real estate.  Sometimes I’ll pull  out a dress I never really liked and put it on the dining room table.  When my parents come to town, they know to take those things with them.  I’m not sure where they go – not sure what they do with them.  Not sure I want to know.

I used to complain because she left a ton of clothes on the chair in the front of the closet by her dresses.  By the end of the week, it was like a Grand Garment Teton. 

Now I stack my clothes there.  Yes, Mr. Clean has his own Teton.  Maybe I just can’t stand the sight of the bottom of the chair.  I’d seldom seen it before.

After construction began on our addition, we walked in the uncompleted space and began to measure for our furniture.  Lisa said that she didnt’ think we’d ever be able to fit a king size bed in the new space and wondered if we should build out another four or five feet in case we decided to get a bigger bed.

“No” I insisted.  “I don’t want you that far away from me.  I like to hear you breathe.”

There’s no breath now.  The warmth of her body is gone.  Often I don’t even pull the covers back on that side of the bed – it’s more like a single that way.

I feel like I’m sleeping on an acre of land –

She is so far away. 

Hold your spouse tonight.  Listen to her breath.  Snuggle.  Revel in your cramped quarters. 

Take advantage of every second you have together.


Memorial Day, A Few Months Early


I promise you, this is a blog about two well-meaning but often clueless guys trying to raise three wide-eyed girls in the wake of their mother passing away at too young an age. It is not a blog about a grief-stricken family. The latter, though meaningful and heartfelt, does not seem like a blog I would be interested in following for very long. The former is full of funny tales and moments that make you think, and, hopefully, would be a blog folks would find to be an interesting read.

But it’s “remembering week”, so that’s what we’re doing.

I speak for myself here, but yesterday (yes, February 24th was the date she died) was really not a difficult day for me. Maybe it’s because we were always on the go, flying up to Boston and running around town most of the day. Maybe it’s because we’re away from the house. Maybe it’s because–due to the approaching anniversary and some other stuff–I had a miserable week last week and didn’t have enough left in me to stay sufficiently glum.

But whatever the reason, I did not feel the harrowing sadness I did a year ago, and that I have felt at times this past year, and feared I might experience yesterday. Whereas I appreciated every single word, note, comment, and letter I received a year ago (even the ones I was never diligent enough to respond to) and read and re-read most of them multiple times, yesterday I kind of got annoyed as the texts, emails, calls, and facebook messages rolled in–like I was getting reminders that I should be feeling worse than I was. (note to friends: yes, I just irreverantly dismissed all of your good intentions. I am that jerk. But what can I do? That’s how I felt. I still advocate friends reaching out to friends, I promise!)

Which brings me to the multiple rememberances that have gone up to honor Lisa. Much like the generous gifts that were given in her memory to First Presbyterian Church and St. Timothy’s (and the $20,000+ that was given to cancer research through St. Timothy’s Spring Sprint), the physical memorials are a beatiful tribute to her legacy. But after yesterday, I wonder: will I look at these memorials and be happy and nostalgic? Or sad and annoyed? Will they bring joy in rememberance of a life well lived or anger at a life cut short? Of course, the memorials are not FOR me. They are for her, and Danny, and their girls, and my family, and all those who knew and have heard and will hear about Lisa. So I can get over myself. But I do wonder.

Regardless, they are beautiful and touching and despite my terrible introduction, I hope you enjoy seeing them. I hope I do, as well.

At St. Timothy’s, the front playground was dedicated to Lisa’s memory, marked by a plaque and a statue of two children on a bench reading (the picture at the top of the post is the writing on the bench). At DJ’s urging, Danny and the girls tied a balloon to one of the children in the statue before we left for Boston. Someone was also thoughtful enough to attach one on St. Timothy’s famous “Balloon Day”, one of Lisa’s favorite days of the year.


At First Presbyterian, an incredibly constructed, hand-made wooden music stand was dedicated to Lisa’s memory. The story, I believe, is that well before Lisa died the maker was moved to build the music stand, but wasn’t quite sure why. Then Lisa, a long-time director of the Children’s Choirs, passed away, and he realized (and I don’t want to speak for anyone here, but this is how it has been told to me) that the stand had been divinely inspired, his actions and hands guided by God. It is magnificent enough in its construction that I would find it difficult to disagree.

The engraving reads:

Lisa’s commitment to First Presbyterian Church was evident through her deep level of involvement. Lisa loved music and shared that love through her service as Co-Director of the Children’s Choir.

Dedicated in Memory of Lisa by the Choirs of First Presbyterian Church.

Designed and created with loving care by Hilliard Green, Jr.


At our family vacation spot, Capon Springs, WV, they have been going through some major building improvements. Our family opted to dedicate a new fireplace in the main house to Lisa. We picked the fireplace because it is the centerpiece of what was probably Lisa’s favorite activity at Capon: sitting around the main house living room, chatting with friends, catching up (read: gossiping!), playing group games, having sing-a-longs, and generally just loving life with good friends. After some good family brainstorming, my mom came up with “Sing Songs, Share Stories” for the inscription–it’s perfect. (note to Caponaires: the stone may not look exactly like this when you arrive in August).

There was a lot of Good!

One year ago my wife passed away after a short fight with colon cancer. I’ve spent a lot of time this past week reliving her final days. I know she’d rather we move forward.  I know she’d rather we remember her almost 40 good years.

These are excerpts from comments that were shared by friends and family at her Memorial Service – and they are really good memories.

From Sallie, Lisa’s younger sister:

As her little sister, I used Lisa’s bossiness and emphatic suggestions to guide many of my choices in life.  I liked how Lisa dressed, so I bought the same clothes (or more often just stole hers).  I liked how she threw a party, so I’ve used all her party ideas.  I liked her choice of a husband, so I tried to find one just like him.  She had some very specific thoughts about how to plan my wedding, and we used every one of them. 

I have often found myself in a “what would Lisa do” situation.  As a result, I have modeled much of my life as a friend, neighbor, wife, and mother, based on Lisa’s example.  I strive to run a household like Lisa’s… full of energy, music, love, and tasteful decorations.  I strive to organize and lead efforts in the community that make a difference, like Lisa.  I strive to maintain amazing friendships, despite a busy job and home life, like Lisa. I strive to have a marriage that is based on a friendship, faith, and love, like Lisa’s.  And finally, I strive to raise polite, self-confident, loving children like Lisa’s. 

From Jim, a member of our church:

Lisa loved to playfully tease people.

When growing up in the church, Lisa was a slightly mischievous teenager who seemed to take delight in my efforts to serve as a youth advisor.  I was much younger then, and still single.  When Lisa learned I was dating one of her teachers at Broughton High School, she always asked me how “Babs” was doing, with a twinkle in her eye.  At one point she even sent Babs a Valentiine song-gram, signed my name, and didn’t let on as to what she had done for the longest time.  Now I’m not sure that song-gram alone drew Babs and me closer, but I think Lisa might have taken some deserved credit for bringing us together.

Lisa loved Bruce.

Some of my fondest memories are of Bruce teaching our Sunday School class, pushing the envelope on what was appropriate to say.  Lisa, in a way only she could do, would roll her eyes, shake her head, and without saying a word conveyed the message, “Can you believe what I have to put up with!” 

But we all knew this was simply for show, because the love between them was one of the strongest of bonds imaginable. 

From Copie, a colleague at work:

But one of the best traits about Lisa is that she could make anyone and everyone feel special, included and comfortable.  What a wonderful trait for an Angel!

The work Lisa has done to build and grow our school is her legacy.  She will be remembered as the backbone of St. Timothy’s for these 14 years.  And for that we need to say thank you—one of those thank you’s that is bigger than the two words themselves.

As you all know, co-workers have a special bond—we spend a lot of time together!  All of us treasure the honor and opportunity of working with such a wonderful person.

We will miss her.  We already miss her.  We miss her leadership.  We miss her lists.  We miss her smile.  We miss her ability to write well.  We miss her story-telling.  We miss her version of a bad week—when she hasn’t had time to get her nails done.

From Charlotte, one of Lisa’s best friends:

Lisa loved to be in the thick of things, but she never sought to draw attention to herself.  Believe me, I feel her eyes rolling at this very moment.  I feel confident that where Lisa is now, committees are being formed, lists are being made, and things are being whipped into shape.  She made things happen, but never took the credit for anything.  Lisa just so loved to be part of things—one of the gang.  And I don’t know if you know this, but Lisa really loved to talk, and was quite gifted in this arena.  She was a one-stop shop of information on everyone and everything, sometimes telling you just a little more than you needed or wanted to know.  And who can forget the conspiratorial whisper when she gave in to the urge to dish just a little bit.  On our annual girls’ weekends she would sit up as late as she could, head leaning back against the couch, eyes closed.  Every now and then she would rally to make a point so that we would know she was still listening, taking it all in.  At some point, when she just had to throw in the towel, she would sternly instruct us to not say anything interesting or funny until the next day.

Lisa, you were incomparable.  It’s the only word I know that encompasses you.  I am sorry for going on and on about you in front of the world.  It comes from a place of deep love and gratitude.  Thank you for the gift of your friendship.

From a letter I wrote to Lisa the week before she died; I read the letter at her inurnment:

From the time I fell in love with you in the canoe at Camp Seafarer, until this day, our partnership and relationship has been more than I’ve ever dreamed it could have been.  I believe that we have complimented each other’s strengths and weaknesses like no other couple I’ve seen.

You – comfortable talking to a perfect stranger in a waiting room at the dance studio.

Me – looking for you to be my companion at the dance studio so I don’t have to talk to people I don’t know.

You – providing the much needed wings for our children, pushing them toward independence and self confidence.

Me, kissing them, hugging them and holding them in my lap as long as they will possibly stay.

You, the shopper; Target employees know you by name.

Me, the yard man, trying endlessly to grow fescue grass, to no avail.

Me, the funny man, even in inappropriate situations or when you clearly aren’t in a good mood. The funny man, a wise crack, sarcastic comment, silly made up phrase from years past, zany dance moves or a strange garment on my head.

You, the straight man, eye roller, zinger on occasion. You have always been able to give me as much as I give you and I think that’s one of the best parts of our connection. 

Both of us with tremendous love and respect for one another, our kids, our work, our church and our community.

These are the things we should be remembering.  There was certainly a lot of good!

Until It Passes

I do not believe that grief is insurmountable.  I do believe it creeps up on you at times when you think you’ve already kicked its butt.  I don’t sit around in a stupor day in and day out.  I’m not a sad or bitter person.  I have afternoons, like today, that are painful.  I suspect that will be the case for the rest of my life. 

I don’t have that many vivid memories of the weeks after Lisa’s death.  Perhaps I was just numb to the world.  However, the week and a half prior to her death are fraught with memories – this week I struggle to escape them.  I don’t believe that it is the date February 24 that has me so down right now.  I think it is these memories, suppressed for months, that are all flooding back to consciousness. 

One year ago last Monday was the last time that Lisa saw the girls.  She was telling them goodbye as they packed for a trip to the beach with  their friends.  As DJ walked up the stairs in only a t-shirt, Lisa said, “Great, my last memory of DJ will be her butt hanging out under that shirt.”  I said, “They’ll be back Thursday.”  She replied, “I know.”

Not only did she know that they would be home Thursday, she also knew that this was likely the last time she would lay eyes on her daughters.  How was she able to walk back to our bedroom with intuition telling her this was it?  Lisa was always good at letting go.  She was matter of fact.  It was what it was.  She could not change it.

They return to the beach this Sunday.  It will be hard for me to say goodbye even knowing I’ll see them again in three days.

Wednesday would have been her last night in our house.  Her last shower at home.  I remember calling the girls at the beach that evening to tell them Lisa was going back to the hospital.  She was packing, showering and shaving her legs – something all women do before a visit to the doctor.  The phone conversations were difficult. 

One year ago yesterday, Lisa and I had four wonderful hours in the Duke waiting room.  We were annoyed at the time it took to check in, but what incredible conversation and laughs we shared. Food from the snack shop.  A conversation with another woman who was undergoing major surgery the following day.  She didn’t know if she would make it.  I wonder if she did? 

 That Saturday she told my parents goodbye.  

“You’ve been good to me and you raised a good boy.”  

We were put in ICU that night.  She walked in seemingly fine.  She had brushed her teeth and walked to the bathroom thirty minutes before in the cancer center.  When I returned after dinner, she couldn’t stand up – she had lost the function in her legs; the fear and disbelief we shared in those moments.

Right now each day has a memory; each day has a specific meaning.  Most are painful.

So you endure.  You plan things to look  forward to.  You talk to your best buddy in the office at work.  You hunker down and ponder the past and type through cloudy eyes.  You call your mom.  You eat dinner out.  And you allow yourself to live the grief – until it passes once again.

Moms, how do they do all that?

This is just the beginning...

Posted by Danny

Last Monday morning I nearly went into a panic.  I received four emails from other moms (when I’m in this mode I consider myself one of them) about signing kids up for summer camp.  I’m not sure why all of them emailed on the same morning.  Is there a national Begin to Think About What You’re Doing with Your Kids All Summer day that I had missed?  Do all mom’s just intrinsically know that the third Monday in January is THE kickoff for beginning your summer plans?  Was there a mailing that I missed?  Is it genetic?  I don’t know.  But I entered that date in my outlook calendar with an annual reminder.  Next year I’m going to email them first.

I will say that without these four women and my other “girlfriends” my kids would be sitting in front of the television with their older sister eleven weeks in a row, June to August.  They have saved my tail numerous times over the past 18 months.

Three days before Lisa died, we were sitting in our hospital room at Duke.  I had written her a letter that I later read at her inurnment.  In the letter, I had worked to capture the essence of Lisa and the essence of our relationship.  I wanted to be sure that she understood how much I loved and admired her.

I had mentioned the letter multiple times that day.  I knew she was very sick and although I had not accepted her fate, something inside was preparing me for the worst.  I desperately wanted to share my thoughts with her.  When she woke after a mid day nap, both of us in tears, I hung a handwritten “Do Not Disturb” sign on our door and crawled in the bed with her.  I read the letter – it was difficult to get through. 

She said, “Honey, that was beautiful.  Put it in the bag with the notes I’ve written to the girls.  Now, get out a piece of paper and a pen and come back over here.”

This was it.  Lisa was going to share something incredible with me.  Perhaps she was going to give me insights into what she thought about death.  Maybe she was going to tell me how much I meant to her (later I discovered she had already written that – she left nothing to chance).  Instead, she said, “List the children’s names down the left side of the paper.  Now, get your calendar and list the weeks of the summer across the top of the page.  Let’s go through the girls’ camp schedule – you’ll  be able to use this as a guide for the next few years.”

With significant painkillers in her system and with a body being overtaken by cancer, my wife was not concerned with her fears.  She wasn’t concerned with moving to ICU later that afternoon.  No, she wanted to make sure that DJ, Stephanie and Michelle would be taken care of last summer and that they would be with their friends.  And with me as her husband, she had right to be concerned.

“Week one the girls are going to the lake.  You need to register for dance camp the next two weeks – tryouts are in March but Kirstie has assured me they’ll make it.  You have Bible School for Annie T. the next week and Catherine can help with the carpool – y’all might share a sitter those afternoons.  I have nothing for weeks 8 or 9 for Michelle but call Maura, she’ll find something for you.”  She proceeded to tell me which friends would be with each girl for each week.  The only thing we didn’t cover was the cost – which I later discovered would be the most painful part of the process.

I really don’t understand how women do it.  My wife worked full-time and brought home a decent salary.  She drove our kids all around the world from 3 – 6 pm and often had our plan for dinner at 7.  She never missed a registration.  She never missed a dance recital or signing up for a tryout.  The camera bag was always packed and the battery charged.  She kept snacks and bottles of water in her car in the event there was hunger, a hurricane or a bomb threat.  In May, there were new bathing suits in the upstairs laundry basket; the beach towels were out and cleaned and the sunscreen packed in the pool bag.  And, she looked like a million bucks whenever she climbed out of that minivan.

Lisa was a swan:  beautiful on the top – no one exactly sure what was going on with those paddling feet underneath.  I look like a whale that never learned how to swim.  How’d she do all that?

Sunday Post 5: The Pinnacle of Despair

Posted by Danny

Does anyone like February?  As I struggle to get through this month, I’m thankful Lisa didn’t die in April.  February already stinks – why not maximize the suffering?  It seems that much of the progress I’d made with my grief has flown out the door as we approach the one year anniversary of Lisa’s death.  I can write about Tupperware, but my mind is on her.  I’ve turned off the car radio this month – too many memories.  There are memories in the den, memories in the bathroom, there are even memories in the refrigerator – her favorite stir fry sauce right there on the door next to the Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls.  Magazine articles take me there; the newspaper takes me there.

I was reading the News and Observer yesterday and was drawn to an article entitled Talk, don’t just treat, docs say.  As I read, I was reminded of our visit to UNC Hospital last February for a second opinion.  I picked up my journal and opened to my entry on February 12, 2010, less than two weeks before Lisa died. 


Went to see Dr. Goldberg at UNC yesterday for a second opinion.  I think what he told us was:

1) Your cancer is very, very serious, aggressive and unique

2) There is not a lot of hope for long-term

3) You have few options

4) Prepare for the worst

Lots of tears yesterday.  Held hands with Lisa in bed, cried and talked about the future – sadness and fears.  I’m so scared; I’m so very sad.  I think I’ve been in shock since September.  Lisa is still on significant pain meds.  In some ways maybe that is easier for all of us – perhaps keeps the intensity of emotions down.  She says she has the easy part – sleep, some sedation – if she dies she’s done with it all.  She says I have the hard part – putting the pieces back together and carrying on.  I’m not sure if she’s right.  I guess it really doesn’t matter.  It’s just hard all around.  In writing, it seems that hard is not a strong enough word.  It is so much more.  The prep work for an emotional colonoscopy – I emotionally ache – to the depths, deep, deep depths of my soul.  I don’t know how much more is in me – is it like boogers?  You just make more?  Or a glass of water that eventually is empty?

I’ve had many hard days over the last 18 months.  The hardest was this visit to UNC.  It was the day that we, together, had to face her impending death.  We’d both had thoughts about her dying.  When one of us wanted to talk about it, the other would dodge the issue.  This time there was no dodging.  We both heard the same thing at the same time. 

Our doctor at Duke was so emotionally attached to Lisa and me that she could not bring herself to give up hope.  Dr. Goldberg was an outsider to our situation.  He felt a responsibility to be honest –

Lisa sat in a chair, black stretchy pants and a white zip up sports jacket.  Her fanny pack of pain meds and her husband by her side.  She had her pad with questions she wanted answered.  I had mine, the proven scribe.  He said, “You’re young.  You have kids.  You need to prepare.  Your last hope is chemo. With your platelets this low, it is very dangerous.” 

Lisa asked, “What if the chemo doesn’t work?” 

He responded, “Your time is limited.” 

“What does that mean?”

“Months, maybe weeks.”

I remember the look on her face.  She sort of laughed with tears in her eyes.  “Well, I think it’s good that your being candid.”  And she changed the subject.  I looked out of the window.  A cold but sunny day.  And yet the fog in my mind allowed zero visibility. 

As direct as he was, I still don’t think it truly hit me that Lisa would die.  I still have a hard time believing it today.  Looking back on it, I don’t believe there is much that could have been said to prepare us for what was to come.  However, I think that day may have been a turning point for Lisa – she may have fully come to grips that this was the end. 

Not me.  I wrote what I heard that day, but still had full faith that she would be spared. 

My grief counselor recently asked me why I thought God would answer my plea for her survival and not all of the other requests that he gets on a daily basis.  My response?  “Because I’m Danny Tanner.”  She told me that grief is the great equalizer.  I liked it better when I thought I was special –

“She Is As Pretty As A Flower”


Last weekend I helped Stephanie with a school project. I was fishing around for some unused poster board when I found this:

Michelle's poster

It’s a poster Michelle made of Lisa a few years ago. Danny has some paragraph framed above his desk at home that Stephanie wrote in first grade. The kids were supposed to describe something using their senses, and Stephanie picked her Dad so it says things like “he is squishy” and “he tastes salty” or something like that. It gets read aloud about once a month. It also reeks of something her Dad helped her write, thus the framing.

I’m not sure if this was the same assignment, but it also smells suspiciously of something Danny was helping the child craft. Yes, it is sad to read. But it is also very funny. I laughed because I can see Danny poking fun at Lisa’s elegance and class by suggesting things like “she likes to cook spaghetti-o’s” and “she likes to eat pizza” and “and bring some clothes.”

Michelle is pretty funny. And smart. She probably wrote most of it.

I’m not sure why the one about Lisa didn’t get framed and the one about Danny did. So I figured I’d hang this one on our wall, so to speak. We’re in sort of a “remembering Lisa” mood this month anyway. Oh, and how else could I tell that Danny helped Michelle with this poster? Because it says, “She is as pretty as a flower.”

And she was.

Lisa with nephew Sam at Capon Springs

Happy (Chinese) New Year!


I like thinking about which of Lisa’s traits will show up in which of her three daughters. Stephanie has her sense of do-good and the ability to be instantly hypnotized by a television. Michelle loves to laugh and make other people laugh.

And DJ, I am almost certain, will be a slave to tradition, just like her mother. She will one day host the whole family for Christmas Eve dinner, and she will spend the entire afternoon cursing the Christmas cookies. It is her destiny.

I know this because she already favors the customary, especially in this, her 8th grade and final year at St. Timothy’s. The most excited she got during Cross Country season was making sure the team dyed their hair and painted their faces for the final race, as had become the tradition. She takes great delight in participating (and being active in) annual events like the Homecoming pep rally, game, and dance. If her high school classmates are wise (or happen to know anything about her mother) they will go ahead and put her in charge of reunions for life when they’re all in 9th grade together next year.

She even has habitual things she likes to say when we’re driving around parts of Raleigh (often times it is a repeat of her first misperception of whatever the locale is). She’ll even declare that she has started a new tradition: “I used to think that building was a McDonald’s. I think I’m going to say ‘I thought that was a McDonald’s as a kid’ every time we drive by there from now on.”

And she has.

It was really no surprise to hear that after last Friday night’s dance she and Kimmy Gibbler were going by Red Dragon (our local chinese place) for dinner–it’s one of DJ’s favorite restaurants. But she seemed so adamant about going there, and making it before the restaurant closed, that I was curious as to why it was such a big deal.

I should have known: DJ and Kimmy had started a tradition of hanging out on New Year’s Eve a few years back. This year the Tanner family enjoyed some beach time with some of DJ’s other friends’ families for the New Year weekend. They had a good time, of course, but she was sad to break her tradition of hanging out with Kimmy.

The solution? The post-dance trip to Red Dragon was really a celebration of the Chinese New Year (which began officially, I read, on Thursday), and the pair had a sleepover that night. Tradition saved. Clever kids.

Oh, and FYI I discovered that, as suspected, Michelle and I are cosmically destined to be similar. We are both Horses under the Chinese zodiac. I also discovered that Horses were very compatible with Dogs, which is what Lisa was. I don’t know if she liked being a “Dog” but the description was pretty fitting: “In their career and love, they are faithful, courageous, dexterous, smart and warm-hearted.”

What’s In A Name

Posted by Danny

I stink at remembering names.  I probably know you.  I just don’t know what your name is.

One of the things that I miss the most about Lisa is that she knew everyone – who they were related to, how many kids they had AND their ages, birthdays and especially their names.  We’d walk into a Christmas party or into a Y basketball game and she would follow me mumbling the names of the people we were about to encounter.  It was a gift, one that I wasn’t given.

I assume that every couple has jokes between them.  Jokes that no one else understands.  Lisa and I had many.  These jokes seem to have much less purpose now.  When you speak a language that only two understand and one is gone, the language is useless.  

We had an acquaintance who had a somewhat unusual name.  One of the first times I met her, Lisa walked up after the conversation had begun.  When the woman walked away, Lisa asked her name.  I said, “I can’t remember.  It was something like Stavrulla.” 

“Are you serious?  Stavrulla?”

“Don’t quote me on it, but it’s something like that.”

A few weeks later, Lisa came storming into the house.  “Guess who I saw today?”

“I have no idea.”

“I saw Stavrulla.  But guess what?”


“Her name is Katrina.”

“Oh, that’s a nice name.”

“How in the world did you get Stavrulla from Katrina?”

“I don’t know.  She just looks like a Stavrulla to me.”

“That’s what a Stavrulla looks like?  What if I would have called her that?”

“You’d have been embarrassed.”

“And you would have been dead”, she quipped.

My wife had a way of looking at me.  It was a mix of disgust, wonder and delight all rolled up in one. 

“I am married to a moron.”

From that point forward, the woman’s name has been Stavrulla to me.  We’d see her at the mall – “There goes Stavrulla”, I’d jest.  Lisa would just shake her head.

I recently saw Stavrulla.  I still don’t know her name.  I picked Katrina for this post because it was the first thing that came to my mind.  And now, no one on this earth knows about Stavrulla’s identity but me. 

When I saw her, I smiled and glance up.  I have a vision of Lisa, up in heaven, looking down on me.  I think she spends a great deal of time shaking her head thinking, “I did what I could in the short time I had.”

One Year Ago…


I have a sinking feeling that this blog is about to take a brief detour to Tears-ville in the next few weeks.

But fear not, loyal readers, there are still plenty of good vibes in the Tanner household. There were smiles in the house the day before Lisa passed away, there was laughter the day after. This is still one of the happiest, most upbeat families I have ever seen and we will not be wearing black and mournfully reflecting the entire month of February. Not in real life, and not on this blog.

In fact, last night Michelle and Stephanie had me cracking up. They have fallen right in line with the family tradition of altering the words to songs for funny usages, and as we listened to Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” Michelle started singing the lyrics we had made up in the airport on our last family trip:

I gotta feeling…that this flight’s gonna be a good flight

This flight’s gonna be a good flight

This flight’s gonna be a good, good flight

Then as she raced from the car to the house, Michelle created a new one, this time to Travie McCoy’s “Billionare”:

I gotta go pee-pee, so freakin’ bad…

She is hilarious.

BUT…I do feel like the mood in the house is growing a bit more somber as February 24th approaches, and it’s only understandable.

As Danny already eloquently pointed out, we are approaching the one year anniversary of Lisa’s passing. I don’t begin to compare what this will mean to me to what he feels, but certainly it will be on all of our minds.

This also means we have arrived at the (infinitely less significant) one year anniversary of me admitting that there was at least a chance Lisa was not going to beat colon cancer and that I might lose her. (more…)

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