'I thought I was tough until this happened': Inside a widower's heartache

Widower's message after losing wife in Dallas office shooting

SULPHUR SPRINGS, TEXAS - It hasn't even been three weeks since Dennis Canada's wife Lana was shot to death by a disgruntled employee in a Northeast Dallas office building.

They'd been married just over a month at the time of her death. He's left with the overwhelming grief and the thorny realities of what happens when someone dies so unexpectedly.

“There's not a day goes by when somebody asks me about it that I do not cry,” he said during an interview at their Sulphur Springs home. “I thought I was tough until this happened.”

Dennis hasn't been able to find a will for Lana. He doesn't know if she had life insurance. Her bank accounts have been frozen. The house was Lana's. He'll have to deal with probate court, and they’re meeting with an estate attorney this weekend.

“We had dreams and plans and they are gone,” he said. “In five minutes, they were destroyed.”

He and Lana had known each other for about 10 years. Friendship turned to love about a year ago.

Lana, a nurse by training, had recently come to work for the hospice company, Dignity Home Health. She had been made a partner and promised a stake in the company, her husband said.

At the time of Lana’s death, she was the breadwinner. He'd put his fishing guide business on hold. Her 16-year-old daughter Bailey was living with them. He said they’d laughed about him being “Mr. Mom.”

For now, Dennis and Bailey are living in the house.

“She has been so devastated by this and it hurts me every day to watch it,” he said.

Bailey's three sisters and his children visit often. He's hoping that he and Bailey can afford to stay there.

“It's just pretty much up in the air,” he said. “It's hard to sleep at night worrying about it.”

He's set up a GoFundMe account for Bailey to try to help with expenses. She is a star pitcher and plans to play in a travel softball league this summer.

“I just feel like it’s my duty to make sure that Bailey gets to play,” he said.

Dennis is planning to restart his fishing guide business so he can try to pay the bills. But Dennis wants others to learn from what’s happened to his family.

“Just take care of business,” he said. “I mean you never know. I kissed Lana goodbye that morning and she never came home.”

His advice is to make sure it's all written down and be sure to have a will.

“The burden would be so much easier on us. We would just have our time to grieve for our loss, instead of having to deal with all of this,” he said.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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