Beth Chapman died on June 26 at the age of 51 following a battle with throat cancer
Duane, 66, admitted to PEOPLE Now on Wednesday that some of her kids are “barely making it” without their mom.
“Each one copes differently, there is a few that really barely making it,” Duane said. “We don’t know what to do. We haven’t read, we weren’t prepared. I lost my mother first, and when my mom passed away, I’m like, ‘I wish dad would have died first, you know, ’cause I love my mommy.’ So I went to them and said, ‘I’m so sorry that I didn’t die first and mom did.’ “
“And they were like, ‘Yeah dad, why?’ ” Duane added. “So I was like, ‘Oh my god, I know what that feels like, I should’ve been the one. The guy goes first.’ “
In addition to husband Duane, Beth is survived by four children: Bonnie Chapman, 20, Garry Chapman, 18, Dominic Davis, 34, and Cecily Chapman, 26 (Beth’s daughter with her ex-husband whom Duane adopted).
Continued Duane, “So that’s hard for them. … And I guess I’m the softy of the group, because I never wanted to punish. I said, ‘Your mom is gonna get you if you don’t do that.’ So now I gotta be the one that does that, and I don’t like that and they don’t either.”
Duane added that while the children are contributing at home with what they can, most of the responsibilities are still falling on him.
“Its not been that long,” he said. “They are helping cook, because Beth was a fantastic cook.”
An emotional Duane added, “I am doing their laundry, I’m vacuuming, making my own bed. So I don’t wanna lie, they do nothing. They’re kids. … It’s just, ‘Dad’s there, he can do it.’ “
Beth died on June 26 at the age of 51 following her aggressive throat cancer diagnosis. During her 13-year marriage to Duane, he helped her locate and reconcile with her first child, Dominic, whom she gave birth to as a teenager.
Last week, Bonnie opened up about her mom’s last moments of consciousness, which she said were vulnerable and sudden.
“My dad goes over and over and over what happened because he can’t get it out of his head,” Bonnie told SurvivorNet. “She quite literally choked on her cancer.”
“My mom was naked in the bathroom and told my dad to look at her,” she recalled. “And he goes, ‘I am looking at you.’ And she goes, ‘No, look at me.’ And then she was standing there and she started gasping.”
“And my sister came into the room, and they called 911 immediately,” Bonnie continued. “And that was the last moment that we really saw her completely conscious.”
Duane also recounted the tragic moment and said that as Beth prepared to die on June 26, she told him to simply let her go.
“The last few moments she said, ‘Come in here right now, in the bathroom,’ ” he told Entertainment Tonight. “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.’ ”
Duane continued to ET, “And I didn’t even make a decision, I almost said, ‘I can’t.’ Before I could say, ‘All right,’ 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.’ ”
After Beth’s passing, the family honored her at a gathering with friends and fans at Fort DeRussy Beach in Waikiki, Hawaii, as well as at an emotional memorial service at the Heritage Christian Center in Aurora, Colorado.
Beth’s cancer journey will also be documented on WGN America’s upcoming series Dog’s Most Wanted, which is set to premiere on Sept. 4 at 9 p.m. ET on WGN America.