“We would, if we could, protect you from all pain and sorrow. But I believe that would be a mistake. It is the trials and difficulties in life that make us stronger and more able to cope with our future challenges…”
Amy MacDonald — formerly Amy Schehr — was late for school one fine spring day during her senior year and knew she was in trouble. She was waiting for a “tardy” sheet that she’d need to get into her physics lab at the old Bishop McGuinness High on Link Road when a friend ran up to show her an article in that morning’s newspaper that she would remember for the rest of her life.
MacDonald’s father, Ray Schehr, had written her a letter on the occasion of her 18th birthday and managed to get it published for the world to see. She only had time to glance at it before class, but when she got there, her teacher instructed her to go out into the hallway to read it quietly.
In the original, published May 15, 1985, Schehr noted eloquently the feelings all fathers of little girls (should) feel as they approach a milestone birthday.
“A slightly sad look in your face coupled with a trace of a tear inevitably reduced my legs to jelly,” he wrote. “There was never any contest as to who was really in charge.”
He continued, as most fathers would, by sharing some of the wisdom that comes with age and life experience.
“We would, if we could, protect you from all pain and sorrow. But I believe that would be a mistake. It is the trials and difficulties in life that make us stronger and more able to cope with our future challenges.”
Naturally enough, MacDonald kept that letter and preserved it in a frame. It grew in stature about a month ago when Schehr was admitted to Forsyth Hospital. He stayed in intensive care, MacDonald said, for nearly two weeks before moving to a rehab center on his 81st birthday.
“I almost lost him just a few weeks ago and all I could think about was the regret I had in not letting him know how much he has meant to me all my life,” MacDonald said.
Thus, an idea was born. She’d write her own letter and find a way for the world to learn a little something about her dad.
It arrived as an attachment in an email, along with a photo of Schehr taken at his 80th birthday; no need for postage or envelopes.
“Only a few weeks ago, we stood around your bedside in the ICU and said goodbye, thinking the next time we met (it) would be in heaven,” she wrote. “But God wants you here. Maybe he wants me to tell you exactly how much I love you before it’s too late.”
In her letter, MacDonald remembers fondly many of the things her dad wrote about in the original — memories already made and those he knew were still to come.
She (and he) wrote of things large and small. A horse named Just Precious, broken hearts, a wedding day and little moments that carried big meaning as a young woman made her way through the world.
“I think about showing up at my dorm room after classes at college to find a bouquet of flowers or some cheese and crackers and a sweet note on my door from you,” she wrote
he most important thing — the one thing MacDonald wanted communicated — comes across most clearly in her closing sentences.
“Please know I could not have asked for a better father,” she wrote. “I feel extremely blessed to have had you lead our family. And so lucky indeed to still have you with us so I can tell you so.
“I love you Dad! Happy Birthday!”
VERSE: “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD” Psalm 150
QUOTE: “A person who loves his job, will never work a day in his life.”
MON-SAT 6A-10A(& Sunday@5 host)