Two years ago tomorrow, our little family of three became four. In the morning, we will celebrate Missy's birthday - she'll open her presents (mostly Wiggle-related) and we will laugh and smile and take photos. But tonight, allow me a little melancholy.
Just three weeks before Missy was born, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. When my daughter was eight weeks old, my father died. A sharp pain in his side turned out to be secondary cancer of the liver. Doctors found the primary tumour in his stomach. Initially, they tried palliative chemotherapy, but all it did was make dad sicker. So the port came out and we waited. And hoped. And waited.
Thankfully, the end, when it came, was quick. We celebrated a lovely family Christmas at my parents' home, with Gromit decorating the tree and Missy having poosplosion all over her specially-brought Christmas outfit. A couple of days later, Dad complained about a new pain that he could not control, so he went into hospital for what, we thought, was a few days while he got the meds sorted.
On New Years Day, a Thursday, I took Missy and visited him. He sat up in his bed and ate some Christmas leftovers, although it was obvious that he was very uncomfortable, and his appetite had all but gone. On the Friday, I got a call from mum saying he was in a drug-induced coma and I should come in with Gromit. I swear dad knew his grandson, his favourite little boy, was there.
On the Saturday,dad's family, including his brother who had made the trip from Queensland, were at his bedside. A vigil. Going home that night , I commented to the Winemaker that I don't know how people did bedside vigils for days, sometimes weeks. I had done one day, and it was the worse thing I had ever experienced.
At 8.45am, Sunday, January 4, 2009, dad died.
When I think over the past two years, I mark time in the things he missed - Gromit's first day of school and first lost tooth. Missy's first word, her first steps and the funny way she bum-shuffled long before she crawled or walked. Birthdays, Christmasses, a beautiful sunset. A relaxing day at the beach.
Tomorrow, I will hug my gorgeous girl. I will laugh with her as she opens her gifts and I will be thankful for all I have. But tonight, I cry.