The holidays are always a difficult time of year for people who have recently lost a loved one, and the Chapman family is experiencing that as Christmas approaches without matriarch Beth for the first time. Her husband, Duane “Dog” Chapman talked to Entertainment Tonight about his plans for the holidays season and how he’s keeping Beth’s traditions going.
“For the holidays, probably half of us, including me, will be in Colorado, and then the other half is in Hawaii, and of course Leland is in Alabama. So this year, everybody’s all spread out,” he said.
“Beth was old style, old-fashioned. So, you know, that means the tree and the presents. All the stockings hung up… so I’m trying to keep that exact tradition,” he continued. “I’ve got it all decorated. All the stockings are hung. We always left — when the kids were young — cookies for Santa, and I think I’ll do that this year also.”
“Every little ball that’s on the tree, every ornament, you know, there’s 20 years plus of ornaments on that tree, so as I hung [them], I remembered where and when we bought each one,” Chapman added.
Dog went on to explain that the holiday season without Beth has hit the kids especially hard.
“Beth knew every single [Christmas song], and she made us all listen to Christmas songs like two weeks before Christmas. As we decorated the tree, she’d put on Christmas songs. Every night before we went to bed she’d put them on,” Duane said. “So I think the girls are taking it the hardest without being able to sing with mom.”
Shortly after her death, Dog talked to Entertainment Tonight about her final moments.
“The last few moments she said, ‘Come in here right now, in the bathroom,'” he said. “I went in and she said, ‘Look at me.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, you’re freaking beautiful, baby.’ [And she said,] ‘Look at me, Duane Chapman.’ And I did, I always saw Beth and she said, ‘Please, let me go.’
“And I didn’t even make a decision, I almost said, ‘I can’t,'” he continued. “Before I could say, ‘Alright,’ she couldn’t breathe and I called the ambulance… But every day she talked as if she was not there. ‘Here’s what to do with this, here’s what to do with that. Don’t keep running your mouth. When they ask you a specific question, just answer that.'”
“So, prepared? No, you’re never, ever prepared. You can’t prepare,” he said. “There is no way. I did not know that this was going to happen that day.”