NEVER FORGET

NF Master shot +

As I made my way to the stage to speak, carrying a glass of red wine in my hand, one of the women from the lively table next to me perked up, “Oh, good, she’s one of us.”

NF L w:groupHah! Little did she know.

I was at the Freedom Ball in Waco, TX, a charity event born from the desire to let our military know that they are appreciated and held in high regard. What a concept! And the woman who noted the beverage in my hand was one of about 17 in attendance called “The Gold Star Ladies,” all of whom had lost their husbands in the line of military service, and I could smell the freshness of their loss from my table next door.

NF colorsThe Freedom Ball’s motto –

“Forever grateful, never forgotten”

This evening was special for me in many ways, not the least of which was – It was Sept 14th, the 4th anniversary of my husband’s death.

What timing.

And wait a minute; it just so happened that the event raises money for aviation scholarships.

NF fun w:cameraPerfect.

I would get to share stories of Patrick’s and my flying adventures, our love of aviation, it’s challenges, and how much Patrick, as a pilot, showed his “best self.” I couldn’t think of a better way to honor, and remember him on this day.

Although you can’t see it, this Gold Star Lady points to the tattoo of her lost husband’s name, along with the initials of the 2 friends that died with him that she had put on either side of his.

A Gold Star Lady points to the tattoo of she had done of her late husband’s name, and the initials of his 2 friends that died alongside him.

I used to be afraid that if I didn’t feel the pain of my loss that somehow I’d forget my husband. But that was mini-widow thinking when I first embarked into this vast oceanic-sized-cauldron of grief.

It’s amazing, however, how we hold on to our loved ones and those we appreciate. I never “got” the immenseness of our impact on each other until these past few years. Our influence can be far-reaching, even if it seems short and insignificant. What we do, who we know, what we learn moulds us.

NF Wreath

My friend threw this wreath into the water in her sailor husband’s memory.

Like – my beautiful girlfriend, Mela, used to brighten with unabashed affection every time saw me, “Hello, my Daaarling!” And after she passed 6 years ago, I suddenly started lavishing, “My Daaarling!” on those I loved, including my pets! It was like I was carrying Mela’s special love forward.

With one of the 1st responders at the West TX chemical explosion. She cried as she spoke of losing her "brother."

With one of the 1st responders at the West TX chemical explosion. She cried as she spoke of losing her “brother” there. Tragic. The Triage Center set up in the nearby football field had to be plowed up later because it was so contaminated by biohazard material in treating the injured.

And my amazing, recently departed mother-in-law, Patsy, had such an impact on my course in life in encouraging me to persist and pursue my dreams. Even now when hear Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour,” if there’s room, I will break out into dance choreography that she taught me over forty years ago. And I feel united with her in our deeply shared love of dance and it’s power to change lives.

NF L w:balloons

On my way to celebrate Patrick’s birthday last year.

And whether I honor Patrick by speaking, or sending bright balloons into the air, he is always with me. And I like it. We were married for over 34 years, and now, he’s inside me: making decisions with me, helping me figure things out, cheering me on, chastising me when I’m wrong, and offering the comfort of a loving smile. He helps me to be stronger, wiser, and sometimes…he has even supplied a few choice jokes to zing out that have left ‘em laughing in the aisles. Yes, my Darling, I’ve learned well!!

NF P&L 4head kiss

The more time that passes, the more I know this is true – My relationship with him is still close, but now it’s close, very close, in a very different way. And yeah, I miss him, miss his physical presence (today is one of those days where I particularly feel lonely for him), but there is no doubt that I feel his thoughts with me, his wonder, his courage. He offers his eyes to see life through when I need it, as he offers me love to guide me.

Never forgotten?   Not possible.

And at the end of my speech at the Freedom Ball, I raised the glass of red wine for a toast – for the loved ones, friends, and husbands of the Gold Star Ladies that were lost, for the Fallen Soldier, and for my darling, Darling Patrick.

Kiss!

The band was great!

The band was great!

NF Couple cheer:dance - flipAnd all said and done, the music revved up, and the crowd got up to dance. The Gold Star widows, in particular, danced with a kind of unbridled passion. Like no there was no tomorrow. Why? Because they know there may not be.

Seriously, this chick can dance. Got moves!

This woman seriously let loose. Girl’s got moves!

 

And also, because the immense feelings that rumbles inside threatens to overtake us, torture us, cripple us. This dancing out loud is a way of exorcising the demon part of grief, turning it into an “I love you!” and a “Good, or bad, I’m still here!”

And with your help, my Sweet, I will find my way.

 

 

 

NF GS toastsNF L toasts

Comments

  1. Barbara Maffett says

    Lisa, after reading your article, I realize I am human after all. I just hit the three-year mark and I find myself missing Jack now more than ever…..why, I can’t explain the reason. Maybe because of my own prognosis although I am still in remission from Stage 3C Ovarian Cancer with no treatment…it has been 14 months since my surgery and I am still doing well. But I am with you…….some days you feel lonelier than ever without them, especially for the past two weeks. You are an inspiration to me for sure.

    • Lisa says

      That loneliness and hurt can still raise it’s head big-time, even years later. And for me, it’s only now that I’m starting to feel some purpose in life again (it’s taken sooo long). Glad to hear you’re in remission Barbara! Maybe Jack is helping YOU!

      • Jacklyn Smith says

        Lisa and Barb,
        You are so right. That lonely time rears its head up and you wonder-where did that come from. It has been 2 1/2 years for me and I think I am doing OK then Bam–out of nowhere, something happens and it seems like I am right back there to that day that my Buddy passed. Thank you Lisa for inspiring us all and giving us that little glimmer of hope, that one day we will be OK, or close to it. The one thing I take away from your blogs, is it is OK to move on but you do it at your own pace.

        • says

          Bonsoir Lisa,

          Votre film One last Dance est une merveille de persévérance et de fluidité. Avec Patrick vous danser et vous ne faite qu’un c’est magique émouvant des moments très dure dans la danse classique mais vous deux quel merveille et qu’elle persévérance pour arrivé à un tel niveau. Il doit beaucoup vous manqué comme à moi. Sachez que One last dance je le regarde souvent je vous adore ce film est une merveille de la danse classique quel beauté dans votre danse de l’amour aussi . Il doit vous manquer Patrick il me manque à moi aussi je ne pourrait plus vous voir danser tous les deux quel dommage. KRISTEL

      • BARBARA MARTINENGO says

        YOU ARE A GREAT WOMAN. AND EVEN IF YOU HAD A GREAT HUSBAND WITH ALL FAULTS. YOUR LOVE AND ‘THE MOST’ STRONGER THAN ALL. AND DO NOT END ‘I LOVE YOU NEVER KISS

    • says

      Bonsoir Lisa,

      Je m’excuse pour les fautes dans mon premier courrier mais j’écris avec un clavier virtuelle je ne suis pas habitué. Simplement vous dire que One last Dance est une merveille de persévérance de fluidité et quel persévérance dans votre danse avec Patrick qui doit vous manquer. Il me me manque aussi je ne pourrais plus vous voir danser avec Patrick quel dommage. kristel amitié

  2. Lindsay Luckadoo says

    Wow, Lisa. I love this blog so much. You are SO right, your Buddy is ALWAYS with you and ALWAYS will be!

    As always, much, much love to you, Daaarling! :) XX

  3. Deana Kayworth says

    My daughter, Kolby, really enjoyed meeting you and when she came home we watched you and Patrick dance in YouTube! Being a dancer herself, she loved you even more! Thank you for coming to Waco and may God bless you!

  4. Patricia says

    It’s nice that you remember Patrick on his ‘special day’. All of his fans did. We will never forget what a kind and gentle man and great entertainer he was. Watched 3 of his movies the other day, sure made me feel better, as this is a rough time of year for me. Lost my only daughter on Oct. 15th, some years ago, but she will always be with me and NO ONE will ever take her place. We all miss Ms Patsy also. She was such a great lady.

    • Keisha says

      To Patricia, I am sorry you lost your only daughter. So sad. I agree with you. Patrick and ms. Patsy are dearly missed and she seemed like a wonderful lady

  5. says

    Sometimes life happens at particular times. Life being those things that moments are strung from. From the moment Patrick departed this world for bigger and better things, every moment since then leads you to particular moments and…life ensues. I don’t believe it was any accident that that charity ball being held was accidental. In a lot of ways, it was predetermined a long time ago. The perfect way to honor service members, honor the widows and widowers…to honor Patrick in that way and on that stage. Four years removed from the event and he is still teaching us. As you are, too. One moment at a time, one life event at a time. Beautiful blog!

  6. Mary Grant-Young says

    Our lost loved ones are never far away. Just say Patrick’s name and its as good as telephone call. His soul is always with you!

  7. Tracey Quintin says

    Lisa, I follow all your blogs, have read your book and Patrick’s. YOU my lovely lady are a true inspiration for us all to live by.
    I look forward to EVERY blog you post because there is ALWAYS a message I get personally from them.
    Thank you for writing them and being you.
    Patrick was one of my idols but since I read your book and all your blogs, YOU are that to me as well.
    Sending you HUGS.

  8. Rudi Supan says

    Lisa, I love reading your blogs. I have read everyone where you have your ups and downs. Where a song out of the blue or you just flying in clouds will bring memories of your Buddy. My husband has been gone 8 yrs now and the loss still comes back just as fresh as if it was last week. I was listening to the radio and concentrating on some of the lyrics in the country song where the guy sings about everything his lady means to him. How he would drop everything he was doing if she called him and wanted to come over. I have to say I think that is what I miss the most. Having someone to come home to or to be their everything. When his smile could make a bad day a better day. When his hug could take all fears away and know that together you could make it through everything. It gets very lonely when you dwell on it. Thank God for my dog and horse. Sometime you have to dance like there is no tomorrow.. because tomorrow does come and you don’t know what it will bring. Thanks for sharing these ladies story..

  9. says

    I love “mini-widow”, what a great way to put the difference in us at the beginning, and us years later with some time behind us.
    I also loved the dancing like there was no tomorrow, because the widows knew there might not be. For the first five years or so of my widowed life, a bunch of us had Get Togethers, many in Las Vegas. They were a crazy mix of tears and laughter, pain and hugging and dancing. One memorable time at Margaritaville, a bunch of us (widows and widowers) were at a table drinking, laughing, partying and a Margaritaville guy on stilts (yes, stilts) comes over and yells “Hey, what’s the party??!” and we yelled back who we were. Heh. I am sure he never forgot that moment!
    My fellow widows that I met online truly saved my sanity. There is such comfort in someone who “gets it” as opposed to those we call DGI’s (those that Don’t Get It).
    As much as it sucks, I am so glad we find each other.
    So very beautiful, Lisa. Much Love, Diana

  10. Julie Clements England says

    Hi Lisa
    Wow! don’t you look beautiful, life is treating you well you are helping so many with your lovely blogs.
    You are a real trooper in supporting such wonderful causes, and you do it so well your strength has made you a real woman of substance able to, write books, carry out speeches with such confidence you have come such along way and still there are many things to come, you are so much stronger now I bet Buddy is looking down on you with real pride as you are taking such wonderful steps in your life now, and we are all getting to share them. You make me feel very proud to be allowed to read your wonderful blogs written with great feeling and support for others. So be Happy Lisa you are doing such great work.
    God Bless you love Julie xxox

  11. Sioux Schaefer says

    Hi Lisa,
    Today I wrote on my Facebook page “This may sound stupid because I know I am moving forward in my life but is my mind keeping up or is it stuck somewhere in my past?” You helped me to answer that question. As I read your thoughts I thought “that is EXACTLY how I feel.” Sometimes I go back to the years before I lost my husband and think “what do I have to look forward to without him.” Then I have to remember if I hadn’t taken that journey with him I would not have him with me today just as you spoke about Patrick. It is interesting that you posted this today because I really needed to hear this.
    Thank you. I miss Your husband too. I was, still am a big fan.
    Hugs to you.
    Sioux

  12. Janelle says

    Lisa what a beautiful blog and picture of you and patrick. He is so very proud of you as we all are. you and patrick had a very unique relationship like no other in hollywood. You both madly and truly loved each other. YOu both supported each other greatly. Keep up the good work. YOu are amazing lisa

  13. Elaine says

    Lovely words. I still feel my husband is with me in everything I do. Making decisions, telling me off and guiding me when I need him. I miss his physical presence greatly but carry on and hope he would be proud of me.

  14. Brenny says

    Thank you for this column, Lisa. It spoke to my heart. The last 2 or 3 weeks have been especially hard. My Skip died Oct 3 last year. Working my way through. It’s good to read your thoughts about Patrick…helps to see how you deal with it all. Hugs and sweet dreams.

  15. says

    Just finished your book….Worth Fighting For….the last couple of chapters carried me back to the last few days of my mother’s care at home. The part that really struck me is about the face of the dying taking on a child like feature. I experienced this with Mama and was elated to know that YOU saw that too. I thought it was just me and people look at me with puzzlement when I speak of it. As life changing as it is…..death can be beautiful….as I watched her move on to her heavenly home I saw the beauty she was taking on. I held her and had my head on her chest as her beautiful heart beat one last time…..pause…..and then once more. At peace, out of pain, and she moved inside my soul.

  16. Laurie says

    Thank you. From one widow to another, thank you for speaking so honestly about the grief. So many expected me to just “be over it” after that first year. I’m now 9 years down the road, remarried and moving forward, but every day I look back with love. I miss him still. He is inside me, I know this is true, he has guided my journey starting from the day his physical presence left me.

    • Sioux Schaefer says

      Laurie, After reading your post I felt hope that I am handling my “widowhood” in a rational way. I can’t even imagine someone else in my life right now (besides my husband who passed 3 years ago.) I do have a life but some how it feels dulled without my partner. I set goals of small things to accomplish so I can keep moving forward but sometimes I will have a day like I just lost him. I don’t want to go backwards but I feel that I live in the moment now and need to honor those feelings.
      Thank you for sharing.
      Sioux

  17. Violet says

    I see the pain in your eyes for the love of your life what you Patrick had together he is with you when you are at home you will know he is there with you It is so amazing the love you have , Violet humphries

  18. Sandra v.S says

    How wonderful to hear from you again!

    Please, KEEP
    smiling your beautiful smile,
    dancing!,
    up your absolutely good work as the National Spokesperson for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network,
    writing your wonderful and INSPIRING stories,
    speaking at so many meaningful events,
    riding your beloved horses,
    walking the dogs,
    flying and travelling,
    touching so many lives,
    listening to people,
    looking people in the eyes,
    honoring your loved ones, one way or another,
    being the smart, classy lady you are,
    learning and growing,
    and please,
    DO keep moving forward!

    You’re doing such a great job!! You don’t ever have to question yourself if you’re doing the right thing, because YOU ARE!
    Wish I had you in my life, but then again, in a way, I do have you in my life…I really do and I thank you for that! You are one special lady, who is making the very best out of her life, inspiring and helping people; what a great way to give meaning to your life! Love ya!

    X Sandra

  19. Donna Kirkley says

    Dearest Lisa,

    I just began reading your blog today, your entry from Sept 14th, my birthday & the terrible passing of your husband, Patrick. Since Patrick passed, I celebrate my birthday night on youtube looking up anything I can find on him & the two of you. I’m sure you’ve already guessed I was a huge fan and I always will be. In every performance he was in that I’ve seen, Patrick poured his very soul into each & every frame.

    As I watched “One Last Dance” I cried my eyes out watching that beautiful way you two interacted with each other. Most people never experience a love like that and I can only ask God to send someone to me as sweet & compassionate, devoted & caring as Patrick was with you. So far if he sent one, I sure as Hell missed him & somebody else grabbed him up!

    I just really wanted to say you that I love you, Lisa…thank you for writing about Patrick..it means so much to us fans that he offers his eyes to you to see life through.

  20. Susanne Blessing says

    The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart…

  21. Regine Sievert says

    My dear Lisa!
    Thanks so so much for this beautiful post! I`m so happy to hear that you can feel your Darling so strong with you …!! You are a wonderful and beautiful lady …. Wish you All The Best Ever ….!!

  22. Maite says

    Hi Lisa,

    It’s wonderful hearing to speak like that of your Pt’s memories. I know is hard living without a loved one and more when i speak about Patrick . After 34 years of marriage, it must be harder come back to a real life because it seems that one is always lame. But it’s not like that, time passes for all up lameness too and one day the sun comes out again. And then we realize it’s the same sun but now sun warms us and gives us more light.

    I hope the sun warms you always, your sun, your Patrick, our Patrick. Thank you once again for sharing this posts with us, your pics and i have to say Lisa, you’re very pretty with your golden dress. Beautiful party for an special day!!.

    All the best for you, my dear friend Lisa, as always. Take care so much and enjoy your life.

    Maite Sánchez

  23. Brittany Reed says

    Lisa,
    I enjoyed talking to you that night, even though we didn’t get to really get into the details of the West explosion. I meant it when I said, “No one can put a time limit on your grief”. I was most choked up when you spoke about the stallion that bowed at Patrick’s bed at his hour of death. We had so many tributes for my best friend, like a brother, Cyrus. But that, by far was the most touching thing that could have ever been done to honor him. I was honored to be there with you celebrating Patrick’s life, and raising my glass to toast to him. You are the most beautiful woman, inside and out, and I have always admired you. The strength you have is impenetrable and even though every day is a struggle to deal with life on life’s terms, you have done it with grace and style. Cheers to you and your amazing spirit!

  24. Kate says

    It’s so good to hear that YOUR cherie Amore …. Patrick, is still so close by your side.
    You can’t see him or touch him, but I’m damn sure he’s never left you.
    Lovely blog and beautiful picture of you both. I’m re-whatching some of his movies at the moment.
    I just watched Roadhouse and I couldn’t believe in one of the first scenes he’s standing by the bar
    and on the pole next to him is carved …. Buddy’s corner.

    xxx

  25. Cloudy says

    I am travelling to NZ from Australia on Wednesday for an unveiling of my mother’s tombstone, we will gather as a family to remember her and her passing two years ago. Something you said in your article resonated with me…..’I used to be afraid that if I didn’t feel the pain of my loss that somehow I’d forget my husband…’ living in another country, not being able to visit her final resting place any time I could, I felt the same way about my mother but in the time since her passing I have also come to realise that she is in me wherever I go and I hear her too guiding me in decisions and telling me how much she loves me. Thank you for sharing those beautiful thoughts. The human spirit connects us all through love and loss. God bless you.

  26. Lilly says

    Hey there Lisa,

    This post touches on so many important things….

    I LOVE the photo of you and Patrick.

    It speaks volumes.

    Thank you for all you do!

    Lilly

  27. Sharla Pritchett says

    You give me SO much strength by your wisdom. I’ve never had or come across anyone who inspires me the way you do. Me & my husband are fighting our pancreatic cancer journey all alone. No family or friends to talk to about what we’re going through. As his wife, I feel so lost sometimes, not knowing what to do. Reading your inspirational messages helps get me through most days. Thank YOU <3

    • Lisa says

      Hang in there, Sharla. No doubt about it, and no way around it – it’s a tough journey. Take care of yourself, too, in this process. Ar, at least, try to!

      • Sharla Pritchett says

        Just returned from Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, OK. THANK YOU for you kind words of encouragement. He just finished round 4 of chemo & they increased the amount and is very, very sick. So sad for him, but I try to read to him and make him things he likes and such. Don’t know which is worse for him, the neverending pain or the constant sickness. WE WILL get through this with the blessings of wonderful people like you that are tireless in the journey of this terrible disease. GOD BLESS YOU!!!!!!

  28. says

    What courage Lisa, you be a very strong woman who deserves respect!
    We are admirers of your courage and your strength to help the search! We would like to also help you stand up against pancreas cancer! We need your approval to poursuivres our projects! What can we do? There he has things that hurts our intention to help the search!

    Thanking you

  29. HANNAH says

    I am proud of you Lisa. You keep getting stronger and stronger with every time you write. I still think that you have a few more books in you. In Nov. will be the 8th year of a loss that is still felt. Sometimes when something good happens for a split second you pick up the phone to share. But then reality sets in again. Or something is not going well and the same you grab the phone and have to stop yourself. I have come to realize something. Our brain knows they are gone but sometimes you wish it would share that with your Heart. I never tell anyone that loses a loved that time heals all wounds. Because I do not believe that I just believe that time helps to ease the pain and you have good days and you have bad days. And that is ok. But you have to make sure that you have more good than bad because you know in you Heart that the person that has passed would only want the best for you. They would want us to go on and be happy. Remember the good times or the times they did things that would make you want to pull your hair out because that always gives us a laugh now. Don’t focus on the pain or how bad it was toward the end. Focus instead that they are in a better place with no pain and probably near where they can still try and make you want to pull your hair out. Even though we would prefer they were still here with us. At least that is what I think. You are a strong person and I think that Patrick is near to help you through the bad and cheering you on through the good. The Love we have for them never goes away so they will always be in our Hearts. You Keep STRONG and you keep writing. Have a great Sunday and God Bless.

  30. Janelle says

    HI lisa
    I met you in fort wayne indiana on friday. I just wanted to tell you it was a true honor to be able to meet you. I have been a fan of yours and patrick for so long. Great job on your speech. You can feel the love you still have for him when you talk about him. I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to talk with me and get pictures. I will never forget . Thank you. That was a dream come true for me.

  31. Deanna Brookshire says

    Lisa,

    I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer 11 years ago. There are still days that my heart aches for his hugs. I was a daddy’s girl and the loss has been hard to deal with over the years but my faith carries me daily. I loved the movie “Ghost” and was a huge fan of your husband. I truly believe that the love shared between individuals whether it is a spouse, child, sibling or some other relationship will truly live into the next life. One of the hardest things I find in my life is talking about the sorrow and pain associated with my daddy’s death. I commend you for sharing your journey ( both you and Patrick before his death) and yours after his death. I think it helps people to deal with their own struggles when they see how others deal with theirs. It’s almost like someone is sharing your grief and giving you insights into their healing process. Thank you.

  32. Regine Sievert says

    Dear Lisa! Thank you so much for this beautiful blog and all you do against the Fight of this horrible disease!
    Lisa unfortunately I can`t post on your Facebook Website, I`m sad about it., because I would like to comment there sometimes too, can you perhaps check why this is?
    Please take good care… you are wonderful…

    Hugs to you, from Regine

  33. Susanne Blessing says

    Dear Lisa,

    I wish you would come to Germany some time, that we would get the chance to see and to hear you. That would be a great experience for a lot of people over here, I’m shure!
    The world needs more humans like you to give others the strength to carry on and to show that life is worth to live, even when it is sometimes hard to handle.
    I hope you will keep your sence of humor and your courage!!! Say ‘Hello’ to your doggies! With very warm greetings from Germany
    Susanne

  34. Sioux Schaefer says

    HI Again Lisa,
    A few days ago I had to put down my best friend for the last 23 years (my horse Two Bit was 33.) I am thankful for all the years and experiences we had together. I know she is with my husband and their life is good. I know they are around me but sometimes that isn’t enough to fill the void I so often feel. A friend said to me” IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE SUCH A GREAT CAPCITY TO LOVE—–IT WOULDN’T HURT SO MUCH.” I wanted to share that with you because it truly says it all. Through all the ups and downs we are so blessed to have our loved ones ALWAYS in our lives.
    HUGS,
    Sioux

  35. Simone says

    The blog is beautiful, and so are you. I really enjoy what you write. I have not experienced the kind of grief you have experienced; but I see the wisdom of your words and I have learnt from what you say. Thank you for sharing your blogs and please keep writing. – Simone.

  36. Erin Greenhill says

    I’ve been watching some of your talks & interviews on Youtube today, not sure what took me there, then that brought me here. Your husband, you, your marriage, the fight, letting go … you’re inspirational. Not just as a widow due to cancer, but as a woman and as a wife… you two really had something amazingly special. You could probably teach others how to be married, what the relationship is supposed to be, *how* to work at it, you know? People say that you have to work at your marriage, but not many people understand what that really means.

    I lost my husband to a very different disease, not cancer, but one that changed his body drastically, like chemo would, and ended his life nonetheless: alcoholism. Unfortunately, it destroyed our relationship first, then with his 7-year-old daughter, his career, then with his family. He died at 43 from a massive heart attack in the night, 6 weeks after being released from hospital where he already had almost died from how much alcohol he was putting in his body (he spent 8 days in the ICU, on a respirator, with a brain bleed, got through that & spent 3 weeks recovering on a medical ward, then released because he wouldn’t even speak with a social worker and his family about it). His family tried to get him to go straight to rehab, since he was already de-toxed, but he dug his heels in & utterly refused… and went back to his residence where everyone was alcoholics & spent their days drinking & watching TV. (I had tried to get him to do rehab before, but after I told everyone & his family got involved, over the next year be became very angry with me & abusive, so I had the courts remove him from our house with a restraining order — he seemed to think that I would let him come back if he just hid out somewhere long enough.) My doorbell rang one morning & there were 2 police officers to give formal notification.

    So, grief has been a long journey in my household, too — you’re absolutely right in what you said in Chicago, is isn’t just emotional. I had specialized expressive art grief therapy for children for my daughter (she was 8 when he died, hadn’t seen him since the day he left our house a year earlier) and as parents of grieving children, we learned what physical changes took place one session when the kids drew their bodies laying down on a huge piece of paper — lots of red slashes across their throats, butterflies in tummies, red marks on their hearts to show the pain, clouds in their heads (or fog). Most of us recognized our own physical symptoms in our children’s work. It’s been over 4 years now and my daughter is finally starting to move on; it’s been a very rough road.

    Thank you for sharing — everything, your life, his life, your marriage, HIM, yourself, your love & your loss, and how your life is now, how you’re getting through, and who YOU are. I don’t doubt for a minute that he is with you always, in your heart and in your dreams and if he could wrap his arms around you he would. Maybe he is doing just that while you sleep. I remember hearing the news that he had passed away & my heart hurt for you, having seen a few interviews with both of you and seeing how much you loved each other. You’re one helluva woman — you’d love my province in Canada, known as “Texas North”, where we’re kickin’ ass & takin’ names, too! Although the snow might not be that great, haha.

    Thank you again for sharing your whole life and all your work with PAN CAN. <3

    • Lisa says

      Ah! What a tough journey for you and your daughter. Very painful to watch someone we love destroy themselves when you are helpless to do anything. I’ve spent some good time in Al-Alanon, and know about the process to keep building and healing your OWN life. My thoughts are with you.

  37. Farrah says

    I stumbled on this blog tonight; feeling a bit blue this holiday season. I read your book when it first came out and loved that you were so honest about your journey; victories and grief. I am a little too honest concerning loss and I find that people don’t quite know what to do with me. Some give frustrated advice about how I should remember all that I have! I am so thankful for all of my blessings and especially for my 13-year old daughter! I’m also grieving some HUGE losses and am a caregiver for my dad who has suffered strokes and now stage four prostate cancer spread to the liver. This is my reality every day and I wish people understood that I can’t look on the bright side all the time! Thank you for sharing the good days in your life as well as admitting that there are times when this sucks! I think I’m going to re-read your book. It made me feel less alone and I wouldn’t mind that this Christmas. Keep up the wonderful work you’re doing. People need to know they’re not alone.

  38. Nadine Wood says

    Lisa,
    not sure where you went for black tie affair but you certainly looked stunning. wow! you looked georgeous, a perfectly fitted gown. you look great …so young looks like you did 15 years ago. Btw have a verry Merry Christmas and all the best for a wonderful New Year.xoxo Nadine

  39. Janelle says

    I wanted to wish you a merry christmas. This blog is beautiful. Miss your blogs. HOpe your christmas was magical. Patrick is with you.

    • Lisa says

      Ah! I’ve been locked out of my site since before Christmas while updates were being done! Very frustrating! BTW hope you and everyone had a great Holidays!

  40. Joanna Kontos Evans says

    Dearest Lisa,
    Thinking of you this Christmas season.
    I hope you are having happy and healthy holidays filled with love, warmth, happiness and joy
    surrounded by all those you love and cherish. Also sparing loving thoughts for those no longer here with us.
    Much love and hugs to you Lisa always.
    All my love,
    Joanna

  41. amariella says

    Always in my thoughts. Wishing you all the love and happiness you deserve. Thanks for. your great and always helpful insight, truly appreciated and heartfelt. Fondly, A

  42. Lisa Blais says

    Lisa,
    I have read The time of my life and Worth Fighting for and both have touched me and educated me on your special lives together. What accomplishments you two have achieved! You are an inspiration!!!!
    I have always been a fan of both of you!
    Thank you for Sharing your life with us all!!!

  43. lynn niels sorensen says

    hi lisa first of all to congratulate you on your special news. Wish you both every happiness luv lynn xx

    • Lisa says

      Beside being in something of a whirlwind, my website has been undergoing updates, and I’ve had password problems! I can’t believe I haven’t blogged in so long! Now that I can access my site, I can start doing it again. Thank you!

  44. Laura says

    Lisa-
    Someone just told me where you live now and I won’t say the city but I wrote before I thought I knew where the pic was taken and I was correct. I was telling my friend whose father in law has pancreatic cancer about your blog and she said- you know she lives… Here and I said- I thought so!
    I live within 5 miles.
    I am a professional fundraiser and any time you would like- let me know and I’d be happy to help raise money for pancreatic cancer.
    I want to fly also- flew for my first time at the big air show near here that is in the Spring – want to teach me?:)
    Hope you love it here and are enjoying your privacy as people here are good about not making a big deal about people in the public eye.
    I’m from Plano and the people here aren’t Texans but as you know you will find good people here too-:)
    If I run into you at the local store- I’ll say hello:)
    Excited your bright light is here! Let me know if you have any questions about good places here. Have an amazing hormone Dr here and great health food stores, lil places you would be anonymous.
    I would give you a list but want to respect your privacy so if you want to email me- my email is lewsunshine7@msn.com .
    Welcome:)

  45. Sharla Pritchett says

    I brought my husband home on hospice yesterday. He has approximately 2-4 weeks left here w/ me. I’m hurting so bad that I don’t think it will ever end. How do I cope when it’s over? I feel like I just want to lay down & go w/ him :(

    • Lisa says

      I feel for you. I felt the same when I lost Patrick, and know the pain is beyond any pain you ever experienced. Unendurable. But somehow…somehow you’ll find a way, even if it’s one moment at a time. People survive this all the time, I’M surviving and after a long time am actually feeling happiness again. It can happen for you. Hang in there. Cover yourself with the love you have, and have shared with your husband, and weather this terrible, terrible storm. The sun will come out again one day.

  46. says

    Dear Lisa!

    I hope you are well. Here’s a link to the page of our association against pancreatic cancer. We wanted to share with you a lived moment this weekend, a “theater night” in honor of Patrick’s or our association was to represent and where we could reap the background for research. We wanted to share this good news, the fight against this disease continues. You have opened the way for us and we are proud to follow! Friendship. Team Swayzangel.

    https://www.facebook.com/swayzangel.association

  47. sandra says

    Hi Lisa
    I am a Spanish girl who admires Patrick as an actor and as a person before.
    I want to thank the fans who have left a little more to it through their words.
    The other day I saw Dirty Dancing on TV and although I’ve seen a million times , I can not get excited about seeing. He was gorgeous and a great actor.
    You was lucky to be with him 34 years of his life and I’m sure you’ve done extremely happy .
    Sometimes I wonder if I stay with you , as it did in Santo .. Right, right by your side day and night , helping you , protecting you with his love, and guides you through the difficult path of pain.
    Surely if Lisa , and I’m sure you know it and feel it ..
    I hope my message does not mind, I’d like to be closer and know more about him , which , in their daily lives . I admire you for your courage , for your courage , for your eternal love ..
    I would love to buy the book of his memoirs, but not if it was translated into Spanish and I can not find where to buy .. it would be a good way to be closer to you. tell me if it could be bought in Spain book
    Good luck Lisa , and wherever it is Patrick who is happy and one day become and continue to find loving forever.
    You will always be in our hearts.
    He loves you .

  48. Gary says

    Hi Lisa,
    My husband passed away six weeks ago from the same exact thing as Patrick. He only made it six months from diagnosis to the end but I read your book and all your experiences and feelings were the same. You have been such an inspiration to me and your current happiness gives me hope. I believe Patrick is so proud of you and I believe my
    Rob is in heaven sharing stories with him about how proud of me he is for only they and us know the journey we travelled. We were blessed to have them and they were blessed to have us. Thank you for sharing your story whiwhich was the same as mine. It has made me feel less alone and I think you are an amazing person that God loves very much. God bless you. Gary

  49. Janelle says

    Hi lisa. I loved your interview on the view. I cryed the whole time. You still have so much love for patrick. Miss him so much. You looked beautiful. Congrats on your engagement. Miss your blogs.

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