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Dear Dad,

Though you left this world, in 1972, before my three children got a chance to spend time with you, they were all three introduced to you on their trip home from the hospital.  I will never forget your last words to me before they wheeled you out for surgery.  You looked at my huge tummy and said I was having a girl.  Well, I guess your x-ray vision was looking at Gayle's tummy instead of mine because I had a boy on December 22nd,  the day after your 60th birthday.  Gayle, on the other hand, gave birth to a girl on May 24th in 1973.
Five years, one month, and three days after stopping by to introduce you to Harlan, on January 25th in 1977, we stopped by and introduced you to Mardi.  Boy, was she a screamer!  Unlike Harlan, who slept through the night from his first day home from the hospital, Mardi wouldn't sleep at all.  You see, her insides were growing faster than her outsides and she was in constant pain, the poor thing!  To put her to sleep, we had to put her in her car seat and take her for a ride.  Sometimes 'the ride' was just to go back and forth in the driveway but it worked!

July 19th in 1983 Daryl arrived.  Boy, did I ever need you then!  Daryl was born with Agranulocytosis.  Unlike David, "The Boy in The Bubble", Daryl wasn't missing his white blood cells, they just weren't maturing.  After staying in isolation in the hospital for a few weeks, we decided to take Daryl home with us.  I knew I had two other healthy children and a dad watching over us so I felt everything would be just fine . . . and it was!  One day Daryl got a fever and I found blood in his bowel.  I took him to the doctor who sent us directly to the hospital.  This was Daryl's turning point.  Either the fever would make the white blood cells mature or we would lose him.  Thanks to you watching over us, he survived!
Now we get to the present.  On June 9th in1998, Harlan came to stay with you.  The day I lost you was hard on me but that day was even harder.  You see, Harlan had a rough time from his teen-age years to adulthood and turned to drugs as a form of escape.  There was nothing we could do for him, though you know we tried!  Mom had a stroke in January of 1997 and was unable to attend his funeral.  Gayle felt Mom needed her more than I would so she stayed with her.  Garry just couldn't make it, so Penny was the only one who came for the funeral.  In fact, despite all her medical problems, including having lost a leg, she arrived here just before midnight on June 9th.

May 29th in 1999, just days before Harlan's first anniversary with you, Penny decided she couldn't take any more pain or surgery.  Randy, Mardi, Daryl, and I were with Mom the very next day.  In fact, since we had Harlan cremated, he was there as well.  Why did we bring Harlan with us?  For one thing, I knew he would want to say his own goodbyes to Penny since she had come to say her goodbyes to him.  Also so that Mom could visit with him.  Since Gayle had told her about Harlan, Randy and I had to tell Mom about Penny.  How do you tell your mom that her daughter has gone to be with her husband and grandchild?  It's not an easy thing to do but we did it.  In fact, I'm sort of glad that we told her about Penny since Randy and I knew exactly how she felt, having lost Harlan just over 11 months earlier.
Well, Dad, that pretty much brings you up to date.  Take care of yourself and, if Harlan will let you, give him a BIG hug and a kiss for me.  Give Penny one as well.  And don't ever forget . . .