Three’s Company star Suzanne Somers passed away from cancer over a month ago at the age 76.
And now her family will experience their first holidays without the bubbly blonde TV and movie star.
‘This year will be our first Thanksgiving without Suzanne and none of us can imagine it,’ her daughter-in-law Caroline Somers told People. ‘She was Thanksgiving to us.’
Usually the family meets up at the Palm Springs home that Suzanne shared with husband Alan Hamel. For a week they enjoy nature and time together, she shared.
‘It’s always been our family’s most treasured holiday,’ said Caroline who used to cook with Suzanne. ‘So much of Suzanne’s legacy is in the kitchen! I learned from the best and I will do my damndest to honor her and feed our family with those familiar comforting tastes of Thanksgiving.’
Suzanne and Alan have son Bruce who has been married to Caroline since 1991.
T-day without SS: Three’s Company star Suzanne Somers passed away from cancer over a month ago at the age 76. And now her family will experience their first holidays without the bubbly blonde TV and movie star. Seen in 2017
In 2022: Here Suzanne and the family are seen at their Thanksgiving party last year
This Thanksgiving, ‘we will all be together, gathered around Alan and leaning on one another for support, sharing stories and laughter, [and] re-creating the tastes that she passed down from years of feeding her beloved family,’ said Caroline.
‘Suzanne always handled the turkey and made the world’s best gravy,’ said Caroline.
‘Her homemade stock was the secret ingredient. She stopped adding flour to her gravy many years ago, and opted for rich pan drippings with finely minced giblets, reduced with homemade stock, then finished with a luxurious amount of butter.
‘She would scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan and literally nothing was better.’
To round out the feast, the Somers women would band together to make ‘creamy mashed potatoes, simply baked garnet yams loaded with butter and sea salt, sautéed Brussel sprouts with fresh lime and a not-too-sweet cranberry sauce with a burst of kumquat or orange zest,’ she said.
Her table ‘was spectacular,’ shares Caroline. ‘Antique linens, precious collections of china, Baccarat green crystal glasses, beautiful peonies or roses and a ton of candles.’
Loss: ‘This year will be our first Thanksgiving without Suzanne and none of us can imagine it,’ her daughter-in-law Caroline Somers told People. ‘She was Thanksgiving to us.’ Suzanne with husband Alan Hamel in 2015
Close family ties: Here the actress is seen with her son Bruce
So much love: Caroline Somers shared this photo from the Thanksgiving party
They were a great team: Suzanne with Alan in front of their cooked turkey
Caroline shares one sweet memory from 2022’s memorable Thanksgiving: ‘Last year she was particularly proud of how good her drippings were and how the gravy made the whole meal come together,’ she says.
For dessert, ‘our tradition is Lady Alice & Jack Daniels Baked Apples,’ Caroline said.
Last month Hamel spoke exclusively to DailyMail.com about her last few days as she lost her battle with breast cancer.
‘We shared a last kiss,’ he said as he teared up, ‘and it was passionate and beautiful.’
The 87-year-old actor and producer also talked about their last road trip from Illinois to California that led them through Utah and Nevada: ‘She loved seeing all the nature,’ he offered.
And he shared that he had a ‘vision’ of his blonde bombshell wife days after she passed. ‘I was alone in bed half asleep when I reached out for her hand and I saw her looking at me. It felt like she was there,’ he shared.
Caroline Somers Instagram with Suzanne and family
The TV producer then shed light on their unique Hollywood love story, from how they met in the 1960s and fell in love on a houseboat. ‘She had an anklet with bells on it, she fit right in,’ he said of living in the hippie community of Sausalito.
And he revealed what her dying wish was: ‘She wanted me to continue to her company, to give organic product to her ‘ladies’ as she called them. She wanted her customers to have the best,’ he added.
Hamel admitted that the first few days without Suzanne have been hard on him.
‘Missing Suzanne is probably not a powerful enough word; I don’t know what the word is. But for the past 55 years we didn’t even spend one hour apart,’ he shared with DailyMail.com.
‘Suzanne and I were so close that she said when I wasn’t in the room she would miss me and I would miss her too – even though we were in the same house. We would actually go to sleep holding each other’s hands which was so special to me,’ he said.
Alan also relayed that he feels their souls are linked. ‘Half of me is her,’ he added.
He continued: ‘I do believe in the afterlife – I’ve met with mediums before and they’ve told me things there’s no way they could’ve known.
‘There’s just too many stories about people dying and coming back and having stories it just can’t be a hoax and it actually is comforting to know that someday I may come in contact with Suzanne again.’
As far as his vision, it happened on Thursday.
How they fell in love: Their love story began 55 years ago. ‘I met Suzanne in 1968 or 1969 in San Francisco and we clicked from the very first moment we met over the years are love got deeper and deeper we just wanted to be together or what some people have called ‘functionally codependence’ – it just worked for us they were so much love,’ he said Seen in 1978
Early love: The TV producer shed light on their unique Hollywood love story, from how they met in the 1960s and fell in love on a houseboat. ‘She had an anklet with bells on it, she fit right in,’ he said of living in the hippie community of Sausalito. Seen in 1978
‘It had been four nights without Suzanne by my side. Like I said we always slept side-by-side and held hands so it’s a big change for me,’ he said.
‘On Thursday I was laying on my side of the bed and I stretch my arm out like I always did when I held hands with Suzanne.
‘I was half asleep when I had a vision that she was in bed with me and turned around and looked right at me – I could feel her presence, I felt she was there. It shocked me so much that I open my eyes thinking maybe she could be there but of course she wasn’t. I feel in someway she was visiting me,’ he shared.
Hamel them walked through the last few days of her life.
The last two days before Suzanne died she was not alert: ‘She just laid there and didn’t move, she couldn’t do anything for herself, so I sat down next to her and I told her stories and I talked to her for many, many hours. I wasn’t sure if she could hear me or not but I was hopeful she could.’
Before she passed he gave her a kiss.
With John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt on Three’s Company
Lust then love: ‘It was love first sight actually it was lust at first sight and then it just evolve from there. ‘When I met Suzanne I knew we had something very strong I wasn’t sure what it was but I knew it was important and to stick with it.’ Seen in 1979
‘I kissed her as I always do, and she kissed me back. After the kiss I realized it was a real kiss which shocked me because she had not been responsive. And it was powerful and it made me think that she was there listening to me before she died and I’m happy that I spent so much time with her,’ said Alan.
Alan also revealed that he and Suzanne had discussed at length how she would pass.
‘She said she didn’t want 911 called she didn’t want be in the hospital and she didn’t want to get tubed up – she wanted to be home in a familiar environment. So we agreed that her passing would be comfortable and we would be with her cat Gloria,’ he told DailyMail.com.
She had been in a specialty clinic in Chicago for six weeks before she passed, Hamel told DailyMail.com.
‘When she left the clinic I didn’t want to take an airplane home in case the flight was canceled so we hired a medical transport team and they came with the Mercedes sprinter which was huge with beds, chairs, a small fridge, a TV and two drivers so the car would never stop except for gasoline. That’s how we drove from Chicago to Palm Springs where Suzanne spent her final days.’
It was a nice trip because they got to see nature as they drove through Utah Nevada and California, he added.
Moving forward: And he promised to keep her company going, which was her dying wish. ‘She wanted me to continue to give organic product to her ‘ladies’ as she called them. She wanted her customers to have the best,’ he added. Seen in 2016
‘Suzanne and I love to see middle America and how real Americans lived. We got hooked one point on this TV show called 100 Rodeos, 100 days because we like to see how these people went together to rodeos – it was families and cowboy hats and this was the real heart of America,’ he explained.
He added they liked the simple life, not the flashiness of fame.
‘Suzanne and I weren’t into the glitzy showbiz parties in Hollywood and that’s why we moved out to the desert 47 years ago; we wanted to get our kids out of LA and we wanted to raise them in an environment where we could focus – Suzanne was a great mother that way, she really put the kids first.
‘When Suzanne and I first got together she said she was going to combine our two families and make it into one family and she did.
‘Now I am the beneficiary of her hard work because the children are also close to us and they’ve been out here with me nonstop helping me with the grief.
‘I don’t know if they planned it in advance or what but they have made sure that I’m not alone and that I feel loved and that all has to do with Suzanne’s great parenting.’
Suzanne’s website is SuzanneSomers.com.