Beyond Borders

courage. faith. action.

One of Your Favorite Days.


Hey daddy-

It was three years ago today I got the call from Melissa. It was 9:14 am. I was walking through the neighborhood yard sale on a beautiful fall morning. You know the kind. The air is crisp with a slight breeze, leaves starting to change their colors and the sky bluer than blue. I sometimes wonder if God made the skies bluer in the fall so that the changing colors of the leaves would be so much more brilliant? Hmmm, that would be just like the artist that he is, wouldn’t it? Maybe you could ask Him for me?

Melissa’s tone on the phone was not one I expected. I thought she was calling to see if I had found any treasures. Instead her voice was somber. They took daddy in the ambulance. He is in the ER. I will keep you posted. Ok. Keep me posted. I think that’s how the conversation went.

Everything will be just fine. I whispered it as I slid the phone back into my pocket and carried on seeking treasures.

They admitted you into the hospital that day. The doctors were not sure what was wrong other than your iron levels were low once again. But you were the same, daddy. You didn’t seem sick. You didn’t seem like you needed to be there in that hospital. Everything was just fine. Until it wasn’t.

The last time I saw you outside that hospital room was at Cassie’s birthday party. Remember that day?  It was at Darin’s house and the kids swam in the freezing pool? I made some grain free vegan cakes for Sydney so she wouldn’t feel left out. You ate two pieces of that chocolate cake. You always said my crazy recipes were good even when they weren’t. Haha! I am still trying to figure out how to bake yummy treats for Sydney. One day I might just get it right.

I got that call on a Saturday and it wasn’t until Tuesday that I actually saw you. The day was a complete blur, we were running to attorney appointments, guardian ad litems, visitation, all for the sake of that little baby.

I lost a lot of time with you daddy, because of that situation. It was worth it though. She is all ours now. You would love the little girl she has become. She is this beautiful soul with such spunk, autism gets in her way from time to time, but you just look past it. You can’t help but look past it. Because she is just that special.

The girls stayed at the hospital with you and mom while we went to our appointments. When we picked them up you were smiling and laughing, watching tv, it seemed all so normal. Just like every other visit to the hospital. We had this down daddy. This routine. Every 6 months we went to the hospital. You stayed a few days and got patched up and came home. How many years did we do this?

On Thursday, Sydney wanted to come see you and show off her new haircut. She cut it short. It was so cute. She was so happy to be free of the tangles. Her hair is long now. Just past her shoulders. And she is as tall as me now, can you believe it? You would be so proud of her, Daddy. She is truly amazing.

Everyone that meets her loves her and they all say the same thing. She has this sprit that you just connect with and they are drawn to her in a way they cannot even explain. But I can explain it. She is the closest thing to Jesus that you might actually meet here on earth. She has such grace and love. It is unconditional. There is this gentleness about her and she forgives without a thought. She is amazing. You know she is almost thirteen years old?

They transferred you the next day, Friday, to the heart hospital for your heart catheterization. How many would this make? I lost count. You needed more some stents. Your arteries were blocked again, 100% blocked. How in the world were you still standing?

I didn’t make it to see you that night after they finished. These horrible migraines. I still get them, but the doctors are getting closer to getting me fixed. I wish It hadn’t been raining that day. I wish I didn’t have a migraine. I wish they didn’t transfer you to that heart hospital on the other side of town. You know they made our favorite hospital a heart hospital shortly after you left? Yup. They finally did it.

Daddy, they gave you medicine that night and you slipped away from us. Right through our fingers and we couldn’t stop you. I don’t know what happened. You just kept slipping. It was only 36 hours later that you headed on home to glory.

The night you left daddy, I couldn’t be with you. Another migraine, of course, a debilitating one. I barely made it to the parking lot to get home. I tried to everything I knew to end it so I could back to you at the hospital. It just wouldn’t let me go. The moment it let up enough, I packed a bag to come back to the hospital. But It was too late. Just as we were headed out the door, Melissa was calling again. She said, “Say goodbye Shelly.” I tried, Daddy. I tried getting everyone in that car and get back to you at the hospital that was 30 minutes away. I just wanted to see you. I wanted to be there with you.

You took your last breath before we were out of the driveway.

I miss you daddy. So much has changed here. Some days are really hard and they are really lonely. I’m dreaming of the day when I am finally there with you. So save a place for me and save some grace for me…

Today the air feels just like that day you went into the hospital. The leaves outside my window are turning orange and the blue sky, daddy! The blue is so beautiful.


This would be one of your favorite days.

I love you. Always.



Author: Shelly Richardson

A stay at home mom, married to my best friend, who loves like Jesus. Together we have four beautiful daughters. One biological, one adopted and two by way of marriage. Our 12 year old daughter was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome when she was 6 years old and our youngest was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old. I have dealt with chronic illness most of my life and at times has been debilitating. It is through this illness and the special needs of our children that drew us closer to God. Beyond Borders is the place where I write out my story of living beyond my borders. A place to share of God’s love and grace, His mercy and sovereignty, and what that looks like in my own little world of chronic illness and autism. A place where courage and faith intersect and He moves me to action. My hope in writing is that you find something that inspires you. Encourages you. Makes you smile.

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