I thought 2008 was going badly and then the bottom dropped out on September 13th. I lost the man who was my best friend and hero at the same time, someone who understood me and loved me and was proud of me. He was the irritable grump with a big heart, who was strong as a bear but could be incredibly gentle and kind. This man is the standard by which I judge being a father and all too often I come up short, but I also know he would tell me I'm being ridiculous. We hugged and parted by saying "I love you" as we always did, and only days later he was gone. It's been eight years, and life has been dragging me down harder than ever. I've never wished more that I could talk to him, get his advice, draw on his strength, figure out what the hell I'm supposed to do next. But all I can do is remember him and try to be someone that would make him proud.