She can barely see the road because the tears are falling more rapidly now than before. It doesn’t bother her though; she’s driven this road all her life. This is the road home for her. She is usually excited to go home and see her family, but this time it's different. This time it won’t be to say hello and receive hugs, this time it will be to say her final good bye.
She still can’t believe the phone call she received. When she heard that her dad had passed away she went into shock. She couldn’t breathe or feel her body. It was as if she were dead too. All she could feel were the hot salty tears running down her checks. She just sat there gripping the phone until her knuckles were white. She doesn’t even remember hanging up the phone, packing, or walking to the car, but there she is, driving home.
She rolls down the windows thinking that the cool Autumn air would help clear her head, all it did was bring back memories. She started to remember the time they went snow skiing. The breeze was crisp and clean smelling, just like it is now. When they were on the ski lift as a kid she took the deepest breath she could. Her dad looked over, smiled, and put his arm around her. That was one of the best days they spent together on the mountain.
She noticed the song that was playing on the radio. It made her smile; it’s the song that her dad would listen to when he had had a bad day. She really listened to the words for the first time and she realized why it made him happy. The words are as follow, “I say a little prayer for you. Forever and ever you stay in my heart and oh how I love you. Forever and ever you never will part I will always love you. Together forever that’s how it must be to live without you…” It’s a little cheesy but it makes her smile and she begins to sing along, but she can’t handle it and ends up turning the radio off.
She comes to a bridge and yet another memory is resurrected. This is the river that they went canoeing on. She pulls her car over to the side of the road and walks to the edge of the bridge. She closes her eyes and listens to the rushing water. She smiles and opens her eyes again and sees a canoe. She hears the scared, but excited scream from the little girl and the husky laughter coming from the father. He is the one doing all the work so that they won’t tip over, but he doesn’t seem to mind. He just sits there enjoying the time he is spending with his daughter. As they go under the bridge she turns to watch them round the corner, but they don’t come out. She starts to get worried, but then realizes it's just another memory of her father.
She slowly turns around with a sad smile and walks back to the car. She finds it really hard to walk; her whole body feels like it is full of lead. Finally she gets to the car door, and as she sits down the tears are falling again. She sits in the car for awhile trying to regain control.
She drives the next ten miles in a trance. She doesn’t even remember turning onto the correct exits. Then she sees the sign that states there is only thirty miles left before she reaches home.
She dreaded seeing that sign. That sign means there is no turning back. It’s finally hitting her that she will never see her dad again. She will no longer get that phone call once a month from him asking how she is doing. She realizes that she will never again see his warming smile at Christmas time, or see him in his favorite blue shirt, or smell his woodsy cologne when he gives her a hug. No not now, she can’t turn around now, not when she has come so far to say her final good bye.
She was driving too fast and was now sitting at the stoplight that marks one mile until she's in town. Instead of driving the posted speed limit of fifty-five she slows down to twenty-five, anything to prolong the moment of saying goodbye.
As she drives into town, she takes a look around. She sees the changing colors of the leaves, hears the birds, and smells the burning of wood. For a moment she feels at peace.
She pulls into the driveway, instead of getting out right away, she just sits in her car so she can listen to everything around her. Everything is still, like the whole world was dead.
Finally she gets out and walks to the front door. Before she can even step foot on the door step her mother is there embracing her in a fierce hug. They stand there crying together before they go say their final good bye together.