Duane "Dog" Chapman and his family are toughing it out during their first holiday season without Chapman's late wife, Beth Chapman. The Dog the Bounty Hunter star told Entertainment Tonight about how the family will spend Christmas this year.
"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," Chapman said of his son and co-star. "So this year, everybody's all spread out."
But the 66-year-old said he's doing his best to honor Beth's memory by keeping her holiday traditions alive. "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 traditions," he said. "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."
But that doesn't make doing Beth's Christmas rituals any easier in the wake of her loss.
"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 said.
"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," he explained. "So I think the girls are taking it the hardest without being able to sing with mom."
Beth died in late June in Hawaii after a two-year battle with cancer at the age of 51.
"It's the worst thing you could ever go through," Chapman said. "I've been to prison, I've been let out of prison. I've captured some of the worst sons of bitches in the world, and nothing is worse than this."
He said that he's finding it tough to wrap his head around that fact her death occurred half a year ago already. "It seems like yesterday. Six whole months already," he said. "And pretty soon it will be a year. It's really hard when you start thinking about how long it's been."
"I think that's the worst of all, because I can't believe it's been six months."
"The first few months I didn't care whether I lived or died," he recalled. "As a matter of fact I kept getting upset every time I Woke up in the morning."0comments
But now that more time has passed, he said "things are slowly changing" and he's feeling much better.
"I'm doing much better with my health. I've almost quit smoking. That patch is a miracle. It's just amazing and I'm taking blood thinners for the blood clot in my lung and exercising. I always have worked out every day and I'm double that now," he said. "So yeah, I need to live to get through my mission in life."