TODAY | March 25, 2013
>>> a spouse to cancer. cheer's dr. nancy snyderman .
>> reporter: another normal day in raleigh, north carolina , for bruce hamm. the father of three young girls is doing laundry, making waffles for breakfast.
>> pretty good.
>> reporter: and getting himself ready for work. but there's something missing from this picture that makes bruce 's family a little different.
>> it just wasn't registering when i went through it that she was going to die that quickly. i thought we had more time. and we just didn't.
>> reporter: in 2010 , bruce lost his wife, lisa, to cancer, after 16 years of marriage, and in that moment, bruce became a statistic, just like the estimated 20,000 other men who annually lose their wives to cancer and find themselves facing parent hood alone.
>> cancer is certainly amongst the leading causes of early parental loss in this country and around the world.
>> reporter: psychiatrist dr. donald rosenstein realized a need for these grieving families, he started a first of its kind monthly support group to help single fathers who lost their wives to cancer. bruce was one of the first to join.
>> when i heard about this group i thought you know, that's interesting to be in a room with folks similar to me.
>> reporter: the journey hasn't been easy.
>> the crying started the first night with the first person that opened his mouth, and i think it began to be a safe place for these macho guys that didn't share their feelings.
>> reporter: soon men who started off as strangers became dear friends .
>> definitely call these guys my friends, every one of them, yes, we've been through a lot together and we share a lot of pain together.
>> reporter: these men are participating in a university of north carolina project to get the word out. they have launched a website called singlefathersduetocancer.org offering resources and support for fathers struggling to put the broken pieces of their lives back together.
>> it has been particularly meaningful to watch these men pull themselves together over time , recognize that they can do this, that they're going to be all right, that their kids are going to be all right.
>> reporter: bruce 's children bailey, lucy and annie see how much the group has helped their dad as he deals with life one day at a time.
>> i think he likes meeting other guys and talking about it.
>> their struggles together.
>> makes him feel like he's not the only one.
>> reporter: a dad with new roles and responsibilities that once upon a time he could have never imagined.
>> it's critically important to me that my kids have the same childhood that they would have had, had my wife been alive. i think lisa looks down on this household. i think she laughs. i think she rolls her eyes,