And so today is the one year anniversary of my fathers death. This past year, all of my underlying thoughts have been about him. Missing him so much, I am always thinking this time last year.......... this time last year was our last camping trip with you, it was so important to you to be there with us, but you were so sick, you barely made it out of your trailer, you did get in that last fishing trip with the kids though. I am sure they will cherish that memory as I cherish all of my fishing trip memories with you. This time last year we had an intervention and we called that ambulance to get you the hospital. The doctor said if we had waited 2 more days you would of died at home from blood loss. This time last year you had your surgery and that same day I had my ultrasound and found out I was carrying a healthy baby girl. This time last year, we had hope for the first time in a long time. This time last year you came home from the hospital and came to our wedding reception. This time last year you had your cat scan and all of our hopes were smashed to bits and pieces. Just to be sure we saw the oncologist and he spoke only of pain managment not treatment. This time last year you got sicker and sicker you lost more and more weight and it seemed like your pain would never be 'managed'. This time last year I dropped my son off at pre-school grabbed my pregnant belly and ran home so I could be here to meet with the palliative care doctor and nurse. This time last year we had to take you back to the hospital for drug toxicity and that was one of the hardest days in my life. This time last year the doctors told us, "any day now" they thought you would have a heart-attack because the medication you were on was messing your blood-pressure up. This time last year, it was so hard to see you suffering and in pain but we wanted to spend as much time as we could with you. This time last year, I had my baby girl at home on the bedroom floor, and I remember thinking of you as she was being born. I felt so relieved that you would be able to meet her. You wanted more then anything to hold her and on Christmas Eve, she was 4 days old, we brought her to you. You were so sick that day, you hadn't been able to keep anything down, but you held her for a few moments. You held her in your hands like she was the most precious thing in this world. I sat beside you and had her in my lap and you rubbed her hair and you said, "it felt just like silk". There is nothing that could have stopped my tears from flowing at that moment because deep down, I knew that you had fought so hard because you so desperatley wanted to meet your newest grandaughter before you left this earth and now that you had it wouldn't be long. This time last year, I remember the last day that you were alive. My brother Joe and I were with you all day, along with some other family members. That was a very hard day, because you were in so much pain, and fighting death so hard, I couldn't even look at you. I was there, I had my baby girl (I was nurisng and couldn't leave her all day) but it hurt so bad to see you. I don't even know if you knew I was there, at one point you looked at me and said to Joe, "that nurse looks just like Shauna" and Joe said, "dad that is Shauna". Finally after what seemed like an eternity the doctor came and explained to you that he was going to give you some medication that would put you to sleep but that there would be no going back. As long as I live, I will never forget the look in your eyes and the doctor was telling you that you were going to die very soon, you fought so hard untill the very end, you never did accept it, you were not ready to leave, and that I think that was the hardest part for me. Finally you were sleeping in the bed and there was nothing but relief in that room. Family came and left and a nun came, she was going to try and get a priest to give you your last rights. After the medication had started to work and you were sleeping, it was just such a relief to see you still and not fighting it. I wanted so badly to hold your hand but I was so afraid of disturbing you. I nursed my baby girl on and off, I was so sad that she would never know you. I wanted to lay her on the bed next to you, just so she could be with you for a little while. I went home that night feeling somewhat relieved that you seemed at peace. I think deep down I knew that would be the last time I saw you. The next morning, I nursed the baby at 6:00 a.m but after she went back to sleep, I just layed there looking at the clock waiting. I was waiting for the phone to ring and at about 7:20 a.m, it did. You left this world at 7:17 a.m. on January 10th, 2009. What I felt more then anything at that time was relief. Relief that your suffering was over. Through out the funeral and arrangements that were made, I was still mostly relieved. It took a few months of you being gone, to really know what I was missing and to really start to grieve. I don't know for how long, I cried myself to sleep every night. I was afraid to be around people incase I broke down and started crying, and just about anything could set me off because everything made me think of you. Now grief is just a part of life. "Death leaves a heart-ache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal." For the past few months, I have been trying so hard to forget the end, to forget the pain and suffering and to just remember the good things and I am just so proud to be your daughter, I am so lucky to of had you in my life for thirty years. To think that a man with a heart like yours shares my blood and is also in my childrens blood makes me proud. I am so glad that you come visit me in my dreams, I wake up feeling healed. I miss you. I can't claim to know what happens when we leave this earth but a quote I heard a long time ago comes to mind, "To the caterpiller it was the end, but to the butterfly it was just the beginning."