Looking Back...

I had a difficult time falling asleep Monday night. I kept thinking about the last year. Work-wise, 2013 was amazing. I covered a lot of interesting stories, met some wonderful people and I also got to travel a lot. On top of that, I was fortunate enough to win a hand full of prestigious awards for my reporting. When it came to my career, 2013 was everything I hoped it would be.

As for my personal life, 2013 brought a tremendous amount of heart ache. The bad news didn't unfold until September, when my family learned my stepfather had been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung, liver and bone cancer. Eventually it spread to his brain. From the day he was diagnosed until the day he died, we had less than 2 months with him. I had less time with him since I was in Colorado. I was fortunate enough to make it back home for a week in between to go fishing with him one last time.

I said it before and I'll say it a million times again, my stepfather was a great guy. I considered him my dad. He's the first thing I think about in the morning and he's the last thing I think about at night. I think that's why I've been having a difficult time sleeping lately.

After he passed away, I heard from a lot of you. Many of you told me the pain never heals. I believe it. If I had to guess, I'd say I'll feel the same way a year from now as I feel today. There's an emptiness - and there's no way to fill it. 

Sure, 2013 was awesome in terms of work. I'm grateful for that. But if I could, I would trade all those awards, all of those amazing stories, all of the travel and everything else for one more fishing trip with my stepfather.

If there's one thing I've learned in the last year it's this: Spend as much time with the people you love as possible. Laugh a lot. Always tell the ones you love how much they mean to you. Appreciate the little moments in life. Smile. If you're away from your parents, call them at least once a day. Take lots of pictures with them. Visit them often.

2013 took one of the most important people in my life away from me... A man who taught me to work hard and to appreciate everything life gives you.