I woke up early this morning, remembering, of course, my dad. It's awful when it's a Saturday morning and you can't sleep in. I heard from CeasarDOP yesterday, and I found myself browsing the memorial forum and reading all of the wonderful posts about my dad. I still think about him every single day. It is so hard to believe it has been 5 years. He passed on the 21st, we said goodbye on the 24th (we skipped the 23rd, as his youngest son's birthday was that day and we didn't want to forever cloud that day with a bad memory), and Sallie's birthday was 9/27. He would have been 67 years old this year. When he was alive, I thought more than once that I was too busy to pick up the phone and call him. Now, what I wouldn't give to be able to call him and talk to him just one more time. I was reading about his visit to Arizona to see my sister in March 2003. He knew he was sick again, but he didn't tell any of us. He had just been to Texas (where I live) in February, literally 3 weeks before that. He looked GREAT! He was healthy and had a great time, although he was getting weekly transfusions. He planned his trips so that he could get his transfusions and then have a week to spend with his kids. All of this AGAINST his doctor's orders. I will NEVER forget that visit. I took most of that time off from work so I could spend it with him. My dad loved to go on long drives in the country, and that's exactly what we did many times. There wasn't much conversation, just a peaceful silence. It was as if he KNEW he would never make it back to Texas again. If only I had known. The next time I saw him was in June. His family always threw a big family reunion at the end of June in PA. He looked drastically different than he had in February. The leukemia was back, but he didn't tell any of us. And, of course, he remained upbeat and positive and didn't focus on his illness at all. He took a million meds each day and had lost most of his once gorgeous hair, but he never let that slow him down. He went to the reunion and visited with everyone just like anyone else. The man was amazing. My time with him during that visit was another amazing time that I won't forget. The peacefulness, the love, the things I'm sure he wanted to say but didn't. They were just understood. We spent hours out on that porch that he so often wrote about while drinking his coffee. Those two visits are times that I will remember for the rest of my life, and I am so thankful to have had those times. The final time I saw my dad was in September. It was just a few days after Johnny Cash passed away. How fitting, as Johnny Cash was his all time favorite performer, and I remember talking with him about how awful it was that he had died. We had a few precious hours with my dad before he became delirious, and they medically induced a coma. He never woke up after that. He passed in the wee hours of 9/21. I remember everything about that day like it was yesterday. My dad wanted to be cremated, so we followed his wishes. My husband's family are pioneers of the area that we live in, and they have a family cemetary here locally. I had my dad's remains flown to Texas, and we buried them in that cemetary after a small memorial the following December after he died. I visit the cemetary at least twice a year, sometimes more. While some people think it's creepy and can't do it, I cannot describe the peace I feel when I go there and visit his grave. Having him buried here was one of the smartest things I have ever done. As my sister mentioned, his mother passed away after that, and his father passed away in July 2007. Children should not go before their parents, but at least they are together now. Well, I guess I've rambled enough, so I'll sign off for now. I can't thank everyone enough for keeping this memorial alive. It gives me such an incredible peace to be here. Peace to all, and take care.