I started writing my parenting thoughts down a few years ago in the hope that someone out there would be inspired, amused or strengthened to keep up the good fight and the hard work of proper parenting in this technologically advanced landscape. At that time, my biggest fan, loudest cheerleader and most active support was my father. He has battled mental illness since before I was born and has been disabled by it for over twenty years. During that time, I have taken care of him as much as he needed. He was independent and physically capable, but I was his legal representative, and because I was physically capable, his assistant. I have spent large parts of each week for the last nine years at his house, helping, visiting and just being. Every time I saw him, he asked about my writing, challenged my opinions, and double checked my moral compass. He has directly affected nearly every word you have read here to this point. On May first, that ended. My father passed away, peacefully, in his sleep during an afternoon nap. I had never to that point even thought about what I would do after he was gone, and now that he is, I am finding myself with a sizeable vacuous lack of emotion and motivation. I am comforted by the fact that he won his battle with mental illness. He never gave up; he never opted out, instead he passed painlessly of heart failure while snoozing. I, however, have lost my sounding board, my cheerleader, and my confidant. Somehow, someday I will be able to sit here and confidently expound on my parenting insights, but for now, I am just keeping on, helping my family, my kids, and learning to cope with my new routine, without him. It hurts me to write this and saddens me that he won’t see it. I will be back, but for now, I need to heal. I genuinely hope that something I have written over the years has helped someone, made some life a little better, or brought joy. Until you hear from me again, if you still have your parents, hug them. If there are people in your life that you love, tell them, show them, and do it now. Tomorrow you may not have the chance, and forever is a long, long time.