My father died a couple of weeks ago after an eight-year fight with dementia.
It's been a long, rough road for Dad and our family as the disease slowly made a 220-pound man disappear.
For me, his final nine days were the toughest part of the journey.
He spent that time in palliative care and my family kept a round-the-clock, bedside vigil.
Dad was so weak everyone expected him to pass within three or four days, but the tough old bugger hung on well past that.
The longer he lasted, the more trying it became.
It was emotionally and physically exhausting, and I can't even begin to think what it was like on my father without going completely numb.
He couldn't talk or move, but he knew we were there.
There was one bright light that shone throughout the ordeal - it came from the staff on Partridgeberry Place South at the Corner Brook Long Term Care Facility.
It's hard to put into words what the nurses, licensed practical nurses and housekeeping staff there did for us.
During Dad's almost two years at the home, the staff were always super to him, as well as to my mother and sister, who live in Corner Brook and visited a couple of times every day.
But when death was near and imminent, they raised their game. They embraced my family and became our angels.
Not because of their selfless and constant offers to help and get us anything we needed, which was really, really appreciated.
No, they became our angels because of their care, concern and compassion.
The staff made sure Dad was as comfortable as possible through medication and ensuring he didn't stay in the same position too long.
They kept him clean, groomed and in fresh clothes and bedding.
Most importantly, they spoke to him with love and respect.
For my family and I, the crew at Partridgeberry Place South stopped to smile, to listen, to comfort and to share their experiences with palliative care.
They were a constant presence and quickly became part of our extended family.
Some of them even cared enough to take time off work and drive to Dad's funeral 50 kilometres away in Deer Lake.
I filled up when they walked in, and the waterworks are starting again as I remember the sight of them coming through the door.
My sister acknowledged them during the service, saying things didn't feel right until Dad's other family was there.
It takes a special person to work in long-term and palliative care. The staff we encountered were very, very, special.
I'm sure, for the most part, the women and men who work in homes and hospitals across the province are the same.
It's important we acknowledge that and the support they give, because none of us know when we'll need them to help us through a difficult time.
Reach Steve Bartlett by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow his tweets at @TelegramSteve.