August 9, 2009 marks the tragic night that you left my life. I had just gone to bed, after a wonderful day full of birthday wishes. The last time I saw you alive, you had a drunken smile on your face and a Heineken bottle in your left hand. Half an hour after I had fallen asleep, mom shouted and banged on my door, awakening me from my slumber. Assuming that she was acting bizarre, I thought nothing of it, as I attempted to fall back asleep. Before I knew it, she returned and screeched that you, Dad, stopped breathing; you had departed in your sleep. After that night, I was picking up the pieces of the emotional disaster that was our family. Mom, once forceful and admirable, had become a shell of her former self. Jayden, your oblivious seven month old son, continued to wail for his attention. As for my own self, I became a weak, lifeless, and demoralized teenager. Although our family became hollow, I recognized that you would never have wanted us to continue life on like this. You always told me that life was precious, and crying would not bring back the dead. Your words of encouragement allowed me to understand and sort my priorities with my education; disallowing myself to be unsuccessful because I missed you. I helped mom regain her stability as a mother and we slowly picked our family back up; working hard to smile and be as whole as we could, without you. Dad, you have always been the only man in my life that I have truly loved; I had never imagined what life would be like without you. As I matured, you taught me that life should always involve happiness. Being an employee of The Record, you allowed me to see what an accomplished and driven father you were. You worked seven days a week, always focused on supporting our family with the low income you made. Nonetheless, you always made sure we had all the necessities, no matter the cost. You asked for little in return, only to come home to a family dinner with your wife and children. You bathed us in your happiness, letting us know even though you worked yourself hard every day; being with us was good enough for you. All of these actions made me grow into the type of person I have always wanted to be: a strong, respectable, independent, and ambitious woman. Additionally, I inherited your liveliness, humor, and ability to make others smile - which I continue to use on a daily basis. It has been two years since I’ve last seen your happy face, and we have learnt to deal with your absence. As daddy’s little angel, mom and I never got along. You were always the one holding us together as a family. These days, we continue to clash horns with each other, but are as close as our tempers allow us to be; which I assume is good enough. Growing up unaware that you were gone, Jayden has developed into a brat. Nonetheless, most children go through this stage, so I believe he is progressing perfectly fine. As for me, once shy and reserved, I have become a self-determined, outgoing, and motivated young woman. I am finishing my high school year, planning to continue my education in college, and striving down the path of careers. Your death was a huge event in my life and you will always be in my heart. Though I became weak from losing you, your memory continuously preserves my strength and allows me to push forward in life. I’m growing up daddy, and I hope I will make you proud as you watch over me.