The month of October holds one of my favorite Sabbats and also one of the saddest times for me. As Samhain approaches it brings a time of joy and a time of sadness. Some of you may know the heartache I am going to express, as I lost my father to stomach cancer during this beautiful month. As fall approaches and the leaves turn their beautiful shades of amber, red, and orange, I am hard pressed not to recall the anguish my family and I went through 18 years ago. As I sit and remember all the wonderful and loving memories of my father, it is still hard to believe that it has been 18 years since his passing to the summerlands. It still feels like yesterday to me. The pain is easier, but it will always be with me. I know deep within my heart and soul that he is in a better place and no longer suffering from the cancer that was eating away at his body, however, it makes it no less hurtful. Every year I try to do a little something special to remember him. One year I wrote him a letter and went to his grave and read it to him, sat for a while and talked with him and then burned the letter. Since I am no longer in travelling distance to his grave, I wondered what I could do in remembrance of him this year. So I thought what better way than to put a post up about him. Lawrence Gerow, known as Larry to his friends and family, was a giving, kind-hearted, generous, honest, and loyal man. He never raised his voice or had a bad thing to say about anyone. When I needed encouragement, he was always there for me. He taught me how to be respectful, courteous, strong and confident. Through him I learned how not to judge people, but accept them for who they are. My father was a Washington State Trooper for more than 25 years and then retired and worked as a security guard for Boeing. I’ll never forget when he taught me to drive. We were driving along 4th Street by the High School not far from my house (I grew up in a very small town, actually the one my father’s family helped pioneer) and my father calmly looked at me and said “Lisa, is there something wrong with this picture?” I immediately realized I was driving down the wrong side of the street!! How could he remain so calm when I was driving in the wrong lane? Well for one, there wasn’t anyone else on the road and for the other, that’s just how he was. I don’t ever remember my father getting upset or anxious. Even when he was rushing me to the hospital in the back of his patrol car after I had a friend’s horse trample me, he remained calm. He was my rock!! Our favorite thing to do was to jog together and train for marathons. I still, to this day, do not understand how a man, who was in perfect health, never drank or smoke, died of cancer. Dad was the glue that held our family together. When he passed, in my grief and selfishness, I submerged myself into an alcoholic and drug induced oblivion, trying not to face the pain of losing my father at the tender age of 23. Some may not think that 23 is that young to lose a father, but for me it was devastating. I’d lived a very sheltered life, in a small town. I always had my father to look out for me; he went so far as to run the license plates of my dates to make sure they had nothing on their record. I knew everyone in my school as we all grew up together from kindergarten. I married my high school sweetheart (and unfortunately as my father was dying my marriage was falling apart), so I really had no idea of what life was really like or how cruel it could be. So here I was, 23, my father dead of a horrible cancer, my marriage failed and living in the big city of Seattle. Talk about getting caught up in a world that I was ill equipped for. Well, the good thing is I made it out ok and the stronger for it. At the worst times of my life my father would come to me in my dreams and wrap his arms around me like he would when I was a little girl, squeeze me tight and tell me it would be ok. That I had to be strong and stand tall and I’d get through it. He was right! I always did. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if I hadn’t had my father. I love you Dad and I always will. Thank you for being my father and my role model.