Comedian Jim Gaffigan Gets Serious About Caring for His Wife After Her Brain Tumor Diagnosis

“I don’t want her to die.”

That’s what I said to my wife after she was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year. She had been feeling tired all day long, but it wasn’t until that night when she woke up in the hospital bed that things got really bad.

My first reaction was disbelief: “How could this have happened?”

Then there were tears. The next morning, I went back home and cried myself to sleep.

The news came out just before Christmas, and I didn’t even get to open presents. By then, she’d already left us. She called me from the hospital room where they were trying to save her life. She told me how much she loved me and how proud she was of everything I did for her. When I asked if we could go see each other again someday, she said yes.

A few months later, she died.

It was hard to accept that she would never come back to visit or hold my hand on the couch ever again.

But I knew that she was going to heaven anyway, so why not spend some time with her now?

So I started doing what any normal person does when their spouse dies: I bought tickets for a trip to Disneyland! That’s right; I’m a tourist!

And what better way than visiting Disneyland with my best friend?


When I’m with her, she opens up a whole new world for me. She’s a free spirit who doesn’t let anything hold her down. I’ve never met anyone like her before, and I don’t think I ever will again. That’s why I’m so happy that she came into my life when she did. She has shown me a different perspective on life.

We first met each other at Disneyland when she was about 20 years old. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight; we didn’t even talk to each other the whole day. But a year later when we met up again, things were different. Suddenly, I saw her from afar and just knew that I had to meet this girl. We talked and laughed the whole day, and it was magical.

After a few more dates, I decided to take it to the next level. I wanted to marry her. I wasn’t worried about the age gap. I just knew that this was the one. She said yes on the spot, of course, but we had to wait until she was 21 years old before we could get married.

That’s when we got hitched.

After that day, my life has never been the same again. I had someone who completed me, someone to grow old with, and someone who always believed in me no matter what.

What more could a guy ask for?

“Life is short, Jim. Don’t waste it being unhappy.” This was the advice she gave me on our wedding day. How prophetic. And here I am wasting away the days without her. She died a year ago from a rare form of brain cancer, and it still hurts to this day. I can’t believe she’s gone, and I never thought I could feel this way.

But life must go on. I can’t just sit here and waste away in my misery. This is the one thing that she would hate the most. She would want me to move on with my life, to keep living despite the pain I feel every single day. She was always telling me to smile more and to not worry so much all the time, but as I’ve said before: That’s just how I am.

To help me move on with my life, I’ve decided to travel to new places and go on adventures by myself. That’s why I’m here at Disneyland, the happiest place on earth. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but so far it has been pretty fun. Sure, it’s a little childlike for a 28-year-old guy like me, but that’s kind of the whole point. I can pretend to be an elegant swashbuckler or a daring explorer here.

At least for a little while.

Speaking of which, I’m going to go now. I can’t wait to come back and ride some more rides later. My wife would love this place, but then again, I love it for both of us.

I’m sure I’ll bump into her again somewhere. After all, this is the happiest place on earth!

Sources & references used in this article:

Tig Notaro by J Gaffigan – 2015 – Three Rivers Press

Take My Spouse, Please: How to Keep Your Marriage Happy, Healthy, and Thriving by Following the Rules of Comedy by J Gaffigan – 2017 – Three Rivers Press (CA)

Ellen DeGeneres: Television Comedian and Gay Rights Activist by S Hughes – 2019 –