A few months ago I thought, "I need to write Dan a letter to thank him for loving my mom and coming into our lives". I am sorry I did not write that letter and send it to you months ago. I thought we would have more time together, more adventures to share. Losing you has been hard on us all, it still feels unreal, but it brings me comfort knowing you are no longer sick or in pain.
I remember the first night I met you, it was summer 2008 and I was in Utah staying with my mom for Andrea's wedding, when I drove back to Bountiful one night you were there with my mom. For some reason, I brought out my big U.S.A map and we looked at it together. I liked you from the moment I met you.
Before you, my mom was alone for a long time. She put all of her energy into Amie and I. I use to worry about her being alone and I wanted nothing more for her than to find someone she could share her life with. Moving to Utah and meeting you was the best thing for my mom, she become the woman she was truly meant to be.
A few weeks after I first met you, you and my mom took your first trip together. You traveled to Catalina Island, California where Zach and I were working at the Boy Scout camp. The two of you camped there a couple nights and then went on to camp in Malibu. I remember thinking how neat of you to travel to California with my mom just to camp.
In 2009 I moved back to Utah to live with my mom and you took us exploring all over Utah.
In 2010 you threw me a going away party at your house before I left for Guyana. Shortly after I left, my mom moved in with you, I loved Skyping with you both! For Thanksgiving 2010 you traveled all the way to Guyana with my mom and Papa to spend a week exploring in the jungle. In 2011 you took my mom with you on your's and Nicole's father-daughter trip hiking Machu Picchu, which was a once in a lifetime exploration and I am so happy you all had that time together.
In 2012 I returned home from the Peace Corps and you opened your home up to me, letting me live with you and mom before I moved to Hawaii. That summer you and I enjoyed watching American Idol together, we would rush home after mom's yoga class because we didn't want to miss it. That was the first and only season either of us watched American Idol.
I love that you and mom came to visit me and Zach in Hawaii three times. Our trips to Kauai and the Big Island will always be special to us. In March, while we were sitting in the jeep at the top of Maunakea Zach and I asked you both if we could move into your basement once we move back next year and you said, with no hesitation, "we were hoping you would ask us, we'd love to have you." After that Zach and I talked a lot about when we moved in with you and mom and how excited we were for more adventures together and barbecuing in your backyard.
Dan, thank you so much for being so good to my mom and to us. I cherish the time and amazing adventures we shared. You showed me my first wild moose. You took me on my first motorcycle ride. You took my mom and I snowmobiling and snowshoeing, which neither of us had done before. When our bus broke down in the middle of the night in the middle of the Guyanese jungle you helped the local men try to get the bus unstuck. You shared so many wonderful stories and made us all laugh. You were so patient and kind to my mom. You treated me and Amie like your own kids, always so thoughtful. It really sucks that you had to leave us so soon. I hope you know how grateful I am that you were a part of our lives and for everything you did for each of us.
I will always love and miss you.