Two years ago today, my life changed forever. My twin sister and I were coming to the tail end of our annual vacation, watching a Netflix series in the cockpit of a beautiful boat docked in the marina, when she received a phone call. A phone call that there had been an accident. Our strong, kind, smart, amazing and loving dad had fallen backward down the stairs in the basement of our childhood home. My nephew who was staying with him at the time, waiting on a new home to close, had found him lying there unresponsive after coming home from work. Immediately questions started swirling in my head. How could this happen? Did he suffer? How long was he lying there? Did he cry out for help that never came? My dad was not a “frail” man, he had played a round of golf that morning and was actually waiting for a contractor to take a look at the leaking hatchway doors, he was climbing toward. He had only fallen one other time that we knew of and that was on the icy surface of a small incline while attempting to fill a bird feeder, and thankfully was not hurt. The grief was unbearable, but we grieved not only for my dad, but for my young nephew who was so close to him and the impact this had to have had on him. My twin sister’s husband, a former firefighter, flew out to meet the paramedics and the police. Our family was scattered about, however my twin sister’s daughter had just bought the house next door; my nephew stopped her from seeing the horror he witnessed as she ran over, seeing the ambulance pull up. The man we called “Bubby” was gone. Tears didn’t come immediately, the shock was too strong. Our instinct as a family was to get there immediately, to be together, but we were encouraged not to drive in the “state” we were in, as there was nothing we could do. I have never felt so helpless in my life. Here was a man who you could call for help at any time. His advice, wisdom and the willingness to fix anything for his family was unparalleled, yet we could do nothing for him, he was simply gone. I lost a part of my heart and soul that day. Images of him carrying me off to bed as a child, as I pretended I was asleep on the couch, just to feel his strong arms around me, filled my head. I pictured him distinctly in the corduroy pants and sweaters he wore to family gatherings touting his camera to take some of the most awkward pictures of us, making memories. Setback games, the smell of motor oil, his hardworking hands, his war stories, the smile he had for his grandchildren, the way he stood over a hot grill cooking for his family, putting himself last, all these things and more, haunted my dreams in the few hours of sleep I managed that evening. When people pass away, you tend to remember the best and block out the worst. With my dad, there was only the best. I can’t think of one time, I was angry or disappointed with him, he was truly the definition of a father. Today will be difficult, I will think of my dad often, I will also think of my nephew and the memory of finding his beloved “Bubby” gone forever. Our entire family will be joined today in the memories we each had of him and how blessed we were to have him as our patriarch. I say to you, as I pray you can hear me, these simple words, ” I miss you daddy, I miss you so much.” Thinking of mommy, finally joined with you again in heaven will help with the pain. I know I will spend the day watching for signs that you are near. I will comb the river for the beautiful bald eagles that remind me so much of you as they soar with strength, beauty and a quiet majesty through the skies. Rest In Peace my love, my strength, my daddy.