That 80’s hairband Cinderella was right. You absolutely do not know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

I thought I was prepared to say goodbye to my Dad after watching him suffer for 7 years, but the truth is you are never ready to say goodbye.

I knew my Dad was a larger than life, real life super hero. He was my father, my best friend and really the greatest man to ever walk to planet.

I learned how to dance while standing on top of his feet, he taught me how to throw a baseball, but most importantly  with an enormous amount of love and patience he showed me how to stand on my own two feet and helped me evolve into the independent woman I am today. Right up until he took his last breath he was telling me he loved me. I know God smiled at me the day he chose me to be Al’s daughter.

My Dad prepared me for almost everything life would throw into my path, but I wasn’t ready for the incredible pain I would feel once he was gone. I wasn’t ready to feel as if someone tore my heart out with a butcher knife leaving it outside my body for me to attempt to put back.

My father was a fighter and he fought hard to be with his family. I took for granted that he would continue to fight and would just be here with us forever. I never stopped to think that someday he just wouldn’t be here.

I absolutely adored my father. I cherished every single second we had together. I took hundreds of photos together, so many he would call me the paparazzi and we would laugh endlessly. I posted our hospital selfies on Facebook and he would call me to announce how many likes we had. I never knew all of those wonderful moments would evolve into memories. I never thought despite all the photos we took, someday they just would not be enough.

One day my Dad was here and the next day he was gone.

One day I was standing next to my Dad’s hospital bed quickly talking to him because I had to get home and the next day he was gone.

One day I was rushing my father off the phone to watch television, and the next day I would be yearning to call him.

I always made visiting my father a priority – NOTHING was more important than spending time with my father. But even with that, there was just never enough time.

Cherish every single second with your father.

Pick up that phone and call him. Stop making excuses no one is too busy to call their parents.

Visit him. Stop making excuses no one is too busy to visit a sick parent.

Love hard and forgive the mistakes because we are all human.

As my Dad’s quality of life diminished and his illness progressed, my entire world exploded.

I was never ready to say goodbye and I’m still not ready to live in this world without my father. I miss him with every single breath I take. I still cry for him and yearn for the incredible father daughter bond we had. It’s been three years and I’m still learning how to survive in a world that doesn’t have a seat at the table for my person of significance.

Learn from my heartache friends, make the time to appreciate what you have before it becomes what you had.

This originally appeared on: A Daughter’s Love