6 June 2013

Published June 5, 2013 by rochellewisoff


As always, writers are encouraged to be as innovative as possible with the prompt and 100 word constraints. 

Henry David Thoreau said it best.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”



Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. (No one will be ostracized for going over or under the word count.)


Make every word count.


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Genre: Memoir

Word Count: 98


            Dad was my first hero. Nobody surpassed him when it came to making up silly stories and songs. His lap was my throne.  

            After cancer took Mom, he deteriorated into a frail, lonely old man who depended on our daily phone chats.

            “You didn’t call.”

            “The kids were nuts this morning.”

            “Your line was busy.”

            “Ruth called.”  

            “You don’t care.”

            “I’ll be by this afternoon, Dad.”  

            Hours later, I found him lying on the sofa, mouth agape and eyes half-open. Stunned and filled with regret, I dialed 911.  

            Thirty years later, I still long to hear his voice.

Rochelle the Child 001

Robert Edward Wisoff


137 comments on “6 June 2013

    • Dear Patricia,

      It was actually cathartic to put this on paper. I’ve had a rough time with that last day because of our last conversation. At that time I knew his death was imminent and that I’d most likely be the one to find him. I just wasn’t prepared for his illness to spew such venom.

      Thank you for your comments.




  • Rochelle, what a beautiful story. I can imagine this animal in the picture as something a father would make up as a bedtime story. Your story is a great reminder that each moment with loved ones is precious.
    (By the way, as soon as I posted my other comment, I thought of a great idea for my story.🙂 ).


  • As a father of 3 daughters when I read about a daughter’s testament to her father it is always an emotional experience. So powerfully written, and so evocative of the bond. True stories always have that edge.


    • Dear Managua,

      In retrospect I’m sure my dad didn’t mean to be hateful or mean, that day. I’m pretty sure, by the way I found him, billfold open to a card with my name and phone number, that he knew the end was imminent.

      Thank you for your kind comments.




  • My dear friends, I do hope you’ll forgive me this once. The pic is very cute, but it led me down another path that really needed a different picture. I ditched the pic prompt for a different pic… when you read, you’ll understand. The story is also non-fiction. But, that said, I did manage to stay just at 100 words this time!🙂


  • I think your friend Hannah said it perfectly “A sad story but also a lovely tribute. Well-done Rochelle!”. I hope you have good thoughts about your dad today. I’ll say one thing from my own memories — your dad was great to work for as a teenager. He was kind, very funny, and handled immature teenage employees wonderfully.


    • Dear Ed,

      I have very fond memories of my sharp-witted daddy. You must know how much he loved all of you. No one laughed harder than he did the time that his young employees covered our yard with stolen real estate signs. I even have pictures of the event.

      Thank you for commenting and sharing a piece of Dad with me.




  • Wish I could get home sooner this summer so I can see my parents, but I’m so busy! May disagree with my dad on a lot of things, and we argue a lot, but it really hits me sometimes that one day my parents won’t be around, and I should stop being such an ingrate!


    • Dear Miss K,

      Our parents are such an integral part of life. I remember when we first learned my mother had cancer, the confrontation with her mortality struck me with a vengeance. She wasn’t perfect and neither was my dad. But they helped shape who I am and I miss them both.

      Thank you for your comments.




  • A beautiful and touching story, Rochelle. You give us so much of yourself in these pieces – thank you. Illness and the drugs we use to treat them can spawn such cruelty to those dearest to us, but I’m sure your Dad knew just how much you cared.


    • Dear Jen,

      Writing this piece has been a healing experience for me. I believe Dad knew. In retrospect, I’d say that phone call was laced with fear and loneliness. As a young mother with three kids, you could say I was a bit self-absorbed.

      Thank you for your sweet comments.




  • Poignant words and expressed with the raw emotion that comes from an experience such as this. Your dad would have been proud of you today, your accomplishments and most especially as a mom! Exceedingly moving and well written! Penny


  • Rochelle, there isn’t much to say after reading all the comments before mine. My parents live in Arizona, so there isn’t much chance of this happening to me (finding my dad like this), but the pain once he and/or Mom are gone will be the same, even with no guilt. You know that you don’t need to feel guilty and hopefully this story helped you get rid of some of those feelings.

    Wonderful story!



    • Dear Janet,

      Your words mean a lot to me. It goes without saying that you should cherish them while you have them. Writing this and reading it in print did help with the feelings…not so much guilt as resentment.

      Thank you and Shalom,



  • i don’t know what to say except thank you for so generously sharing with us a piece of yourself through this story… your honesty and courage is truly admirable.


  • I’m glad it was cathartic for you to write. When illness changes personality, it’s tough to hang on to the former memory of the loving person. Your story is filled with love for your father ♥


    • Dear Maggie,

      It was very hard to watch. I know I’m not alone in this. Others have and will experience similar situations. Dad did maintain a semblance of his humor to the end, but it was indeed sad to watch him waste away to practically nothing. Even after all this time, I think of him nearly every day. So much of him in me, my brother and my sons.
      Thank you for your kind words.




  • Oh, Rochelle, sometimes we get so cranky when we’re sick! When my dad and his friend, Harlan, were in the same hospital for cancer treatment at the same time, I heard Harlan yelling at his wife down the hall. She and I had a good cry together, more than once.

    My parents both had long illnesses. They weren’t so much cranky as melancholy. They missed us in advance. Thankfully, my mom lived long enough to see my nephew born, and spend a little time with him.

    My own response to illness is not very noble. I cry in pain and stupid self-pity. But then I regain my faith. I read or write, or listen to jazz, and finally I feel better. I try not to annoy my friends and family with my stupidity, but they probably interpret my silence as ignoring them.

    The point is, very few people handle a serious illness with grace all of the time, or much of the time, or any of the time. I sympathize with what both you and your dad went through, and I applaud you for writing about it with such great feeling and love. God bless you!


    • Dear Jan,

      Thank you for baring a bit of your own soul. I can’t imagine what it was like for Dad. I, too, tend to just retreat when I’m sick or not say anything about it. But fortunately, for the most part, have been blessed with good health.
      In any case, in a recent talk with a friend about our fathers, I felt the time was right to share this story. Again, thanks for your comments




  • Among the best bonds are between fathers and daughters. A very sweet picture and I love the image of your throne! Best wishes for fathers and daughters, and fathers and sons, too!


  • HI Rochelle
    You tell your story beautifully, it’s so hard watching parents grow old and frail, harder still to lose them.
    Thank you for choosing my photo, it was a big surprise to see it when I opened my emails. And it was surprisingly tough thinking up a story! I can’t wait to see what everyone else has made of it.


    • Dear EL,

      Thank you.It was a difficult time but cathartic to write the story. There was something healing in committing the story to page.
      I love your picture. I could see my dad bringing something like that home or making up a story about it.

      Again thanks for your kind words and the delightful picture.




  • You’re very brave to write this Rochelle, and I think there are always regrets when a parent dies. We can only do so much, our lives are full, but it may always seem that we should have done more. Thank you for sharing such a personal memory with us.


  • I think most of us would do things differently at the end – if only we could. I know of several people who sat for hours with a dying parent, then turned their back for a short while only to find it was over. Your story captured that sense of regret beautifully, but then your stories always do strike that compelling empathy you do so well.


  • One never gets over it, they just get used to it.
    My father died on November 28, 2010. He had a stroke six years previously. When he fell and tore his quadricep two years later, it was the beginning of the end. Confined to a wheelchair, he developed congestive heart failure and his vascular dementia worsened. It was merciful when he passed.
    Of course my mother has never gotten over it. Now she calls to ask the same thing at times. I don’t think she’s demented, but I do think she’s at loose ends. I myself deal with mental illness, so I’m not able to be as much help to her as I wish I could because sometimes its all I can do to get out of bed.


    • Dear Cie,

      It sounds like we’ve traveled some similar paths. I’m sorry about the loss to you and your mother. I hope you are finding help. There is light at the end of the tunnel but sometimes it takes a lot of painful work to get there.




  • I’m sorry for your loss. It doesn’t really ever end, does it? My dad was with me until 2010, but I miss him every day still. My mom only lasted 9 months without him – she truly died of an empty heart it seems.

    Love, loss, longing – all are the primary themes of human existence.

    You did your dad proud with this story. So heartfelt. My favorite line: His lap was my throne. I knew exactly how you felt.


  • When they are ill, what they say is not what they mean. He loved you, he called you. You were the last thing he thought of before the end. He loves you still. Now you must love yourself as much as he did. Also, I’m sure you are leaving your boys with a wonderful legacy. They can see in your words how much you loved your parents and them.🙂

    Oh yeah, wonderful story.


  • I thought this was going to be a tough one. Already 57 stories! Yours is sweet. My dad was also a good story teller…I’d like to think I get some of my creativity for writing from him.

    I even managed to connect it to the continuing story I’m doing with Alastair.


  • A very touching story. My Dad had dementia the last three years and would say mean things, but we just turned the other cheek, knowing he didn’t understand what he was saying. I did have the good fortune of doing a StoryCorp interview with my mother three years before she died. It’s great to play the CD and hear her voice, even if I do get misty-eyed.


    • Dear Russell,

      I have a cassette tape of my dad a friend made not too long before he died. I’m grateful that both my parents had their mental faculties when they passed. My dad had a “gift” for biting sarcasm which sometimes stung. However he also had a sharp wit and sense of humor. The best memories I have of him are when he made me laugh so hard the tears ran down my leg.

      Thanks for your kind words and sharing a bit of your own story.




  • Beautiful and brave. I am glad you found this flash composition a cathartic experience. I lost my Grandpa to Cancer – I cannot imagine what they have to go to – I think the bitterness and venom comes from the disease – it is the disease talking and not these strong men we once knew. That is a great photo of you both.
    Sorry you lost your father to such a horrid disease. Watching loved ones deteriorate is one of the biggest challenges we can face in life.
    I am sure you were very loved, when we are ill – it is those closest who get the venom of our words and feelings, we know we can throw our darkness towards them and always be forgiven.


    • Dear Neen,

      It’s hard to watch someone you love whither and die. Actually my dad didn’t have the big C. My mother died of it. Dad was a type ‘2 diabetic. After years of neglecting it, he ultimately died of congestive heart failure.

      I do know he loved me. Never doubted it. Thanks for your kind and encouraging comments.




  • Poignant and well written. Pressure to be everything to everyone in the family can be overwhelming. Solace can be found in the fact that his last phone call, the last voice he wanted to hear, was his daughter’s, and she was on the other end of that line.


  • Thank you Rochelle for sharing such a personal piece of your life. Your father loved you so much and I can just see that in the picture you included. I had a similar time with my mother as her cancer drained her life and spent time with her at her house to try to hold on as much as I could, but I never felt it was enough.


  • That was a sad story Rochelle. I can understand how it might weigh on your mind and spirit, finding him like that after the conversation you describe. I hope other memories – the silly stories in his lap – usually dominate. I’m sure he would prefer to be remembered as the loving storyteller.


  • I was expecting a lot of humour from this, but not the kind of ‘stomach-in-knots’ type of story you are so good at. I have a terribly estranged relationship with my father, so this hit me where I live.


    • Dear H.K.

      I’m sorry about your relationship with your father. A tough situation to be in. Somehow humor just didn’t come my way this week. Although I’m sure my dad would’ve enjoyed that little critter or brought one home to me if he’d seen it.😉
      Thanks for your kind comments.




    • Dear Amy,

      Some stories are harder to write than others. This one wasn’t one of them. I loved my dad and I know he loved me. Writing the truth about that last conversation was both cathartic and healing for me.

      Thank you for coming by.




  • Dear Rochelle,

    Your father knew you cared. I’m sure he was wistful and longing for what he had with your mother. He could have been jealous of your busy and full life. We tend to forget the important ones when our lives are overrun with domesticity. I wish you peace my sweet.

    Love, Renee


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