Dad’s Highway

by Sherry Riter in Dad,Family

When bad things happen, the logical mind tries to make sense of it all. Life is often compared to school, however, all aspects of life are not logical. For instance, if I do not listen in class, read the material or do the homework, I will probably fail the test. That makes total sense.

Life isn’t like that at all. People can live an unselfish life, try hard to do the right thing, etc. and then get shot and killed during a bank robbery, have an unexplained heart attack, be afflicted with an inoperable brain tumor, or be a passenger on a plane that has problems and explodes in mid-flight.

Bad things happen to good people. THAT is the logic albeit hard to conceive.

“Time goes by so fast,
people go in
and out of your life.
You must never miss
the opportunity
to tell these people
how much they mean to you.”

I took a long, emotional trip with Alyssa this weekend to see my dad. We went in Alyssa’s car and she insisted driving most of the way. I watched her, marveling at how quickly time has passed because I’m sure yesterday she was a toddler running around in diapers. It is almost inconceivable that now she drives a car and will soon graduate from high school.

I’ve been in constant contact with my brother who has been telling me on the phone that “Dad looks good,” but two days before I visited, his health drastically plummeted. Upon walking into the room to find him sleeping, I had to choke back a sob and went quickly to another room to get control of myself.

He doesn’t look “good” at all. He has the look of impending death and hopelessness.

I didn’t need anything during this visit with Dad because we’ve already said our goodbyes, but I wanted to be there to show my support of my brother, have Alyssa experience the potential shortness of life, and if at all possible, to just say “I love you” one last time face-to-face. No matter how many times I say those often life changing words, it never feels like I’ve said it enough.

A few minutes after my arrival, Dad awoke and for a brief moment, he was lucid. When I said, “Do you know who I am?” he quickly replied. So I told him those precious three words and he repeated them back to me. That was the only conversation we really shared and it was more than I even hoped.

Dad spent most of the time sleeping and I simply stared at him. Numerous thoughts and emotions passed through my mind as I watched him sleep. I need comfort and I know that only God can provide that for me so I was willing Him to reassure me with a calm spirit. I needed it to flow over me like a river – something obvious.

So I sat hoping for a feeling of peace.

“Time is too slow
for those who wait,
too swift for
those who fear,
too long for
those who grieve,
too short for
those who rejoice,
but for those who love,
time is eternity.”

~Henry Van Dyke~


I watched as my brother would administer medication and lovingly rub Dad’s chest and head. It was obvious that there is an abundance of love between them and I had to squelch back tears for all the missed opportunities in my childhood when Dad was absent. I can not change the past and I no longer have any hope to some how cushion the pain with a future including Dad.

I have to cope with all the disappointment, pain, grief and loneliness.

Consumed in my grieving thoughts, I glanced over at my daughter to see her quietly reading a book. My heart overflowed with love for her at that moment. Alyssa was there for me and giving me unspoken support and comfort. When she glanced up and smiled, two memories of my life flashed through my mind…

    I was playing with a rubber ball in the front yard and watching Dad throw it as high as he could. It nearly disappeared and then when it came down, I eagerly tried to catch it.

Then I was pushing Alyssa in the swing in the back yard of my own home while she giggled and said, “Higher Mommy!”

Alyssa was looking at me quizzically now, so I just smiled. I’ve been a good mother and always there for my daughter while loving, caring and doting on her. My dad has been tormented with guilt at not being around for me and although I have truly forgiven him, there is a big hole in my heart that still aches to be filled with memories made by doing things with him.


“A goal without a plan
is just a wish.”

~Larry Elder~


Alyssa won’t have to feel that way about me. We’ve experienced so much together that the memories overflow like a happy bowl of ice cream.

In that heart wrenching moment with Dad, I had a heart filled with love for a daughter that truly cares for me, a mother who has sacrificed much for me, and a father who gave me all the love he could give – it was his all and everything he could give to me. I have so much to be grateful for and wonderful memories still to make with those still living.

Dad’s time on life’s highway is almost over and I’m sure it will be a blessed relief to relinquish his cancer ridden body to the grave.

Late last night I started making Dad’s funeral program, I cut and pasted in the dark with only the light from my monitor illuminating the room. It was during the wee hours of the morning while typing the words of my heart that I felt peace. Dad will leave soon to be with his Creator and he will be so much happier – free from pain, heartache, disappointment and finally have acceptance of the gift of forgiveness we have all freely given him. Dad gave all that he could at the time and learned so much during the latter part of his life. Can anyone ever ask for more than “all” from anyone?

I can’t and I won’t expect more from people than I they can deliver, no matter what others feel or think about them. It just makes me feel like a hypocrite to expect perfection from anyone because I’m not perfect either. We all make mistakes and I hope God throws all of mine off the cliff never to be remembered again. I’m going to look forward to making happy memories with my still living family and honoring the memory of my Dad when he passes. I’m looking forward to seeing all those who love me and have passed from this mortal existence when it is my turn to leave. I think it will be a beautiful reunion.

The Redhead Riter

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joaness October 11, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Beautiful! Sending (((hugs))) to my cyber friend!


2 Tyla October 11, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Such beautiful thoughts. Thank you for sharing. May God bless you at this most difficult time.


3 JANE E KIRN October 12, 2010 at 12:20 am

You are on the right path, and so is your dad. You spoke from your heart. Your dad got that. Accepting death too soon is difficult and you have surpassed that. I agree with you, all the great people die way too soon. For reasons beyond our control. Yes, say all the things now, even if you do repeats. Your dad sound more at peace now, and I know he loved having you by his side. People generally die the way they live. My thoughts are with you at this time, and I think blogging about it is great therapy. You must be the oldest of your siblings?


4 The Redhead Riter October 12, 2010 at 12:28 am

Yes Jane, I am the oldest…4 years older than my sister (same mother) and 21 years older than my brother (different mother)


5 Leslie Limon October 12, 2010 at 12:37 am

This post brought tears to my eyes after the 3rd paragraph.


6 Karyn Climans October 12, 2010 at 1:43 am

You have experienced so much loss this year. I'm so pleased your daughter and you are close – she will be a tremendous support to you when your dad passes away.


7 EmptyNester October 12, 2010 at 2:30 am

Wow. There's really nothing more to say other than you and your family will be in my prayers.


8 Mama P October 12, 2010 at 3:13 am

I haven't been commenting much lately, but I wanted to tell you that I am thinking of you, and praying for you and your dad Red.



9 Doreen Lombardo October 12, 2010 at 3:30 am

Such beautiful, heartfelt thoughts. I'm glad you have come to terms with certain things in your life. My thoughts are with you and your family. I cried reading your post. Thank you for sharing at such a difficult time. I wish your father a peaceful end.


10 TJ October 12, 2010 at 6:44 am

It is almost three in the morning and I just read your blog. I thought I will read Shers blog before I retire. It always gives me a lift., I am so sorry for your grief and all you feel you lost. In this life we must learn to live with the choices others make that makes up a part of our life. We must look deep inside our spirit and find the love of God and be at peace with self. I love you and I am so sorry I had a part in causing all this sorrow for you. I love your dad, I love him more than he will ever know. How could I not, look what he gave me. The very best of himself in you and Audrey. He will soon be with the Savior and he will know of your deep abiding love for him. Be at peace my beautiful child, life for him has just begun, and oh how glorious it is.

love mom


11 Teresha@Marlie and Me October 12, 2010 at 1:45 pm

there is a sweet, sweet spirit in this place…


12 CinfulCinnamon October 12, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Just beautiful. And matched my own feelings for my Dad, and in much the same way. {{{{hug}}}


13 Rachel October 12, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Your beautiful words brought tears to my eyes and reminded me how precious life really is.


14 Tina October 12, 2010 at 6:22 pm

I know I keep writing this to you, but "Stay strong." Somehow everything will be all right. It's never easy to say goodbye. Sending you hugs!!!



15 Madison October 13, 2010 at 1:02 am

You've forgiven him and love him now. That's all anyone can ask for. Just focus on appreciating the moments you have with him now. At least when he dies, he will be free from pain.


16 PJ October 13, 2010 at 4:36 am

Beautiful heartfelt tribute to your dad and Alyssa. Of course they always are. You have a beautiful heart and that's where they come from.

God Bless,


17 Corine October 13, 2010 at 12:17 pm

…another beautiful post. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing. I especially love the words… "I can't and I won't expect more from people than I they can deliver, no matter what others feel or think about them." I too, share the sentiment that life is too short to hold a grudge or expect more than people can offer. Life is so much sweeter when we cherish what we have rather than berating and complaining over what we don't.

PS. You and your father are in my prayers at this delicate time.


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