I doubt any words I say could ever do the man justice. He died December 19, 2009 from COPD complications in the hospice house. It was an early Saturday morning and I remember getting the phone call. Thankfully, my husband answered it, but I knew when the phone rang what had happened. He was 59 years old. My fondest memory was when we'd sit outside on our front porch stoop and look at the stars. He'd talk about his life in the military, about his life before my mom, and I'd just listen...taking it all in. I'd share some too...I never thought there was anything I couldn't tell him (although I'm sure I tested those limits some). He was the most understanding man I knew and would always give me great advice, whether it was what I wanted to hear or not. He'd never take sides, even when it concerned his daughter...he was trying to get me to see all sides of a situation, not just the side I wanted to see. And for that, I'm extremely grateful. He was a surrogate father to all of my friends, even ones who had dads themselves. And I won't forget having to comfort one of my friends when she went to visit my dad for the last time. Ironic, but it made me feel better. The last memory I have of him and I was when he was in the hospice house and I took the day off work to stay with him (my mom and I took turns as much as we could). I read most of the day because he was sleeping. He had asked me if he could buy me lunch but I declined...wouldn't have taken his money, because it was all he had. I wish now I would've let him buy me lunch. Regret is a heavy burden to bear, and God knows I have my share. But I honestly never thought he'd die. I knew he was sick...knew dying was a real probability. But never really believe he'd actually never be around. And now he isn't. It's been over two years since he's passed away and although I'll never ever be over it, it has gotten easier with time.