Life without Lisa

(6 customer reviews)

Life without Lisa is a “must read” for anyone who has lost someone dear to them.

This award-winning book is based on the journal that Richard Ballo wrote following the death of his wife, Lisa. The two had been married only eight years when Lisa, 38, lost her battle with cancer. Richard was left as a single parent with sons Nick, five and Victor, six. He had to adapt to his new role as a young widower, writer, father, and a suddenly single man in today’s culture. He turned to writing to help his grief. Little did he realize that the journal he wrote of his thoughts, feelings and experiences, would one day be published and win an award.

This book serves as a beacon of hope for others charting their way through grief’s black waters.

Life Without Lisa is a Gold Medal Winner of the President’s Book Awards from the Florida Authors & Publishers Association, Inc.

Richard Ballo’s Bullets & Babies FAPA’s 2018 Silver Award in Biographies      FAPA Gold Award to Author Richard Ballo for Life Without Lisa

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Life Without Lisa is a “must read” for anyone who has lost someone dear through death. Author Richard Ballo bares his soul in this brutally honest account of being cast adrift in an ocean of emptiness, anger, and guilt. Lisa was the love of his life, an inventor and successful entrepreneur, a beacon of light to all. During her battle with cancer, everyone was in denial about the seriousness of her disease. When Lisa died, Rich was 39 and their young sons were only five and six. He wrote in his journal that night:

“All hope has died. the hope that she would survive another stay in the hospital is dead. the hope that we would have more time together is dead. the belief in her invincibility is dead. the hope of a married life lived until old age is dead. I feel like I’m drowning in an ocean of tears. I wish I were dead.”

Through Richard’s journaling, we are privy to his innermost thoughts and feelings. We sob when he sobs. We cheer him on when he begins to sense a glimmer of hope. But most of all, we see ourselves in his journey, for love and loss ultimately unite all of humanity.

“Immersed within the airless depths of grief, the temptation is to withdraw and sink ever deeper. Embracing each day in its aching fullness becomes an unimaginable struggle. For those seeking the strength and courage to reach up from the fathoms to the distant light above, Richard Ballo’s Life Without Lisa offers a lifeline of help and hope.”

— Ira Byock, M.D., Director of Palliative Medicine, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Author of Dying Well and The Four Things that Matter Most


“When Grieving the death of someone we love dearly, it may seem that nothing and no one can help us. Life Without Lisa offers help in at least two very important ways. Richard Ballo’s remarkable descriptions of his many painful — and frequently changing — reactions reassure the reader of how normal these feelings are, even when nothing, especially oneself, seems normal. At the same time, his account fo interactions with family and friends and his use of grief support services, including those of local hospice, offer hope and suggestions for growth and recovery.”

— Patricia Kelley, RN, CHPN, Vice-President, Montgomery Hospice, Rockville, MD, author of Companion to Grief and Co-author of Final Gifts

Author Richard Ballo was two months away from his 40th birthday when his wife of almost eight years died of cancer. Lisa was only 38 and fought the disease for 4 years before it won. Their boys were only 5 and 6 and a half. As a journalist Richard  turned to writing to help himself heal. In this book, Richard bares his soul about his grief journey, and how he came to see himself and his world through new eyes.

Author: Richard Ballo

Publisher: Quality of Life Publishing Co.

Format: Paperback: 207 pages, dimensions: 6 x 9

*Also available at Barnes & Noble & BCH

product reviews

6 reviews for Life without Lisa

  1. DG, India

    “I am writing to you after reading “Life without Lisa”. Your book was given to me by a Hospice grief counselor. Eight weeks ago, my beloved husband passed away from cancer. He was 45.Thank you so much, Mr. Ballo for sharing the story of your experience. By pouring out your thoughts and feelings onto those pages you have helped me to know that what I am going through is normal. You have helped to give me hope that I too will survive this nightmare called grief.” DG, Indiana

  2. LA

    “I am not sure why I am sending this e-mail other than I felt I should. I wanted to first thank you for your book “Life without Lisa”. The man I love lost his wife to ovarian cancer 20 months ago. Your book helped me to see things from his point of view. Your book gave me a clearer understanding of the emotions that he is facing and his thoughts behind them. Thank you for sharing your soul with me.” LA

  3. TS

    “I lost my wife a little over 18 months ago. She left me with a week old and a five-year-old. They are why I am still here. I’m grateful that I came upon your book, there are not too many books discussing the grief of a widower with children. We grieve, it just takes longer. Thanks again, I’m comfortable that I’m not alone.” TS

  4. Al

    “I finished reading your book last night. It was beautifully written and really got my emotions going. Especially at the end when you described your last hours with Lisa. The pictures in the back were a total surprise and really hit home the loss and recovery that you and your family experienced. I hope your writers block has been completely cured and I’m looking forward to reading future work.” Al

  5. CT, Dallas Texas

    “I read your book this week, I saw it mentioned on the Young Widow Bulletin Board (the YWBB). I’ll be recommending it to other young widows and widowers. I found your book to be a moving and heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful description of this journey of grief and healing that we find ourselves thrust upon when our spouses die too young. We do have some young widowers with young children and I think your book will be especially meaningful to them although I think it is meaningful to all YWs, men and women alike. Thanks for sharing your story.” CT, Dallas, Texas

  6. Jodell L. Wheeler, ACSW, LCSW, MBA, Psychotherapist

    “Reading Life without Lisa took me back 25 years ago to the time of my husband’s death. He was 31 years of age and I was 29 years old. It was very difficult to read as it so accurately portrayed my feelings then. I only wish the book had been available in 1982, as it would have given me immeasurable insight and comfort during that heartbreaking period of my life.” Jodell L. Wheeler, ACSW, LCSW, MBA, Psychotherapist

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