June marks a significant date as it is the month that Isabella lost her fight to neuroblastoma. This year will be 5 years since we lost her to this horrible disease on June 28th, 2012. The Santos family has been through their ups and downs in dealing with losing a daughter, sister, granddaughter, great-granddaughter, niece and cousin. But as you have most likely noticed, they have persevered… and they lead the push to fight for kids with cancer in Isabella’s honor. This month we will be sharing both the happy and raw times as we celebrate Isabella’s spirt and the legacy she left behind.

Just one more minute to tell her how grateful I am…

Isabella and Daddy

I wish I could say I love Father’s Day. For me, it’s simply a tough time of year. Heck, let me put it blunt… a shitty month overall.  As fast as it comes every year, I wish it would just be over with. God how I wish I could just push this dark cloud away and enjoy this time of the year. But I can’t. So many of my last memories with Isabella took place over this holiday time period. I can recall every minute of opening her last gifts to me, both at home and at Red Lobster, the last time we ever went out – her favorite restaurant in the world and she couldn’t even enjoy it. Not to mention, the endless hours of lightly scratching her back as my arm cramped up and yes, I kept on doing it no matter how much my arm hurt. What else could I do my baby girl was dying, right there in front of me.

For the sake of Sophia, Grant, (and Erin), I’ll bury it on Father’s Day. I’ll get excited when they celebrate the day, shower me with hugs and homemade surprise gifts. Oh yeah, I’ll play the part. They all deserve it. I know they love me dearly and I know I couldn’t have moved on without their love. The kids continue to love me in such unique ways. Grant is so confident and funny. He truly cracks me up on a daily basis, and I have this deep belief that we will be best friends forever. And Sophia, oh lordy, she has been my rock. She fills up my love bucket like no other. She’s hugged and kissed me through my hardest times. Not sure I’ll ever let her move out. But obviously, someone is still missing. I’m told to focus on who’s here and be appreciative but on Fathers Day, I just wish I could have one more minute with her. To tell her how grateful I am – and always be – to be her daddy.  How much I miss her hugs, laughs, her voice and her love. She made me a better person and being her dad, and with Grant’s and Phia was my greatest gift.  She taught me how to be a dad, or maybe more truthfully, she broke me in. Our memories together are not any better than others I have or will experience as a father… they were just ‘my first firsts’. Grant gets some of the firsts now, but for me, those initial 7 years were really the wonderful learning experiences and I’m changed forever.  Those will always remain my greatest father day gifts.

I know there is part of me that has changed. I am and will be slightly broken forever, but I wouldn’t take back a minute that we spent together. Not one minute of pain if it meant I would have to give one minute of happy time together. I love you each so very very much and hope to have many, more Fatherly moments together.   Love you always, daddy.”  – Isabella, Grant and Sophia’s Daddy

We can accomplish so much more if we fight cancer together.  Learn more about donating to the Isabella Santos Foundation.

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