JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

All parents make an unspoken promise to care for their child, but one local man is now sharing the special promise he made to his daughter. He shared his story with Channel 4's Mary Baer.

He put it in print and said it wasn't easy -- writing a book that details the final months of his grown daughter's life, the promises he made to his little girl and the lessons in life she taught him.

"I've never written anything before in my life," Brendan Hoffman said.

But now, the retired Navy man has written the book of his life.

"It was hard to do, but it was also therapeutic," Brendan said. "Very therapeutic and just like she said, 'One day it will help you.'"

Brendan was talking about his daughter, Dawn. His spunky sidekick whose life suddenly took a sudden turn at 28 when she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, a cancer that's curable if caught early. Sadly for Dawn, hers was not caught in time.

"One of Dawn's things was, don't sugarcoat nothing," Brendan said. "You tell me the facts. Tell me the facts now. Don't sugarcoat nothing and he (the doctor) flat out came out and said we found eight tumors on your brain and you have six months to a year to live. We just lost it. We just started crying and she looked at me and said 'Daddy.' Then all of a sudden she she stepped back. She put her hands on my arms and she says 'Daddy, I'm so sorry. I know how much you love me and I know this will break your heart'."

Brendan was stunned. His daughter just found out she was terminal and her first concern was for her dad.

"I saw a total change in her," Brendan said. "From that day forward it was like she was already at ease with it and she just found out two minutes before."

Dawn spent much of those last months out on the porch. Brendan said she would spend six, seven, even eight hours a day reading and taking notes of the bible.

She told Brendan she wanted him to keep those notes and give them to her children when they're older.

"She also told me in the meantime, that I needed to read them and study them," Brendan said as he laughed.

That is one of the promises he made to his little girl. Another promise really hit home for Brendan. She told him she was leaving this Earth a lot earlier than she had planned.

"She said, 'You know I'm going to heaven?' I said yes I do and she told me that one day we could be together again. I said to her what do you mean we can, we will. She told me not if I don't bring God back in my heart."

Brendan had strayed from the church and God had taken a backseat to all the busy-ness in his world. But his little girl opened his eyes.

When Dawn passed, he sat up writing, most of it in the wee hours of the morning, upstairs in his Ohio State Buckeyes "man cave".

"I made a promise to Dawn," he said. "If that book can help one parent relieve some of their pain, it was worth it. It was worth writing. Dawn knew I didn't write. If it didn't pertain to a football, basketball, baseball, I couldn't write nothin'. She challenged me. I mean, I'm far from being a good author, but that book does hit home."

Brendan said Dawn told her to reach down deep into his heart, pull his feelings out and put them on paper. He said she was right.

But Brendan hesitated once the book was finished. He was hesitant to publish it because he was afraid to reveal to others such a personal side of him.

But there was one thing that kept him motivated."The promise was to get it out so it'll help others," Brendan said. "So I said to heck what people think ya know? I'm keeping my promise to my girl."

Another person close to Dawn the last months of her life was her step-mother. Cathy.