Story Weekend: Saying Goodbye may have been the day you left your five-year-old at the kindergarten door. Or it may have been that long embrace before your husband–or wife–was deployed overseas. Or may be it was the time you hugged your grandmother goodbye, knowing it would be the last hug you’d ever give her.

What is your Goodbye Story?

If  you’re new to Story Weekend, here’s how it works: I pick a theme and you share something from your life that relates to that theme, however you interpret it. Thanks to all of you who’ve been contributing. As always, there are a few “rules”:

▪   The story must be true

▪   Try to keep it under 100 words. Embrace the challenge! That’s about six or seven lines in the comment form. I want others to read your story, and most people tend to skip if it’s too long. I know how tough it is to “write tight” but I hope you’ll accept this as a challenge.




  1. Sheree Gillcrist on March 30, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I have in my lifetime as a dementia director said way to many long goodbyes to an array of wonderful men and women who have changed my life’s perspective forever. John was a favourite of mine suffering from end stage dementia. On a good day he couldn’t remember his name, on a bad day, he ate his napkin. We were .encouraged to stay emotionally detachedI (yeah how;s that working for you) John and I, we developed a realtionship where I brought sweets in my pocket for him and he followed me like a shadow until he dipped his hand in my pocket and gave me his sweet smile. One night I was serving supper and we had no bibs. I gave him a towel to use and he smacked me on the bottom with it when I went by. I told him. ‘if you do that again John, I just might have to kiss you. He replied. What’s stopping you:}. Did I love him. Most definitely.I returned from holidays to find John in a semi comotose state and on his way to the great beond and I spend the last hour of my shift perched on the side of his bed holding his hand. Somewhere in that magic hour, his eyes fluttered open and I knew this was my one chance to say what was written in my heart. So I said ‘You know I always loved you John’ and I did and he, with his end stage dementia,he with no access to accumulated memory looked into my eyes and said ‘ And I always loved you Sheree’ and then he passed over to the place where sweet souls go to wait for us all. My lesson was that love is not a feeling written on a Hallmark card. It is a connection of like minded souls that defy all logic.It leads and we must follow. It gives so we can be grateful for the gift. It is a reminder than no matter our circumstances, we all deserve to feel t’s mighty power. Love concurs All. Even end stage Dementia. Love is not a memory.

    • Diane Chamberlain on March 30, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      Sheree, everyone should be as lucky as John to have someone like you in his life.

    • Bernie Brown on March 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      I had a little story in mind, but after I read both Sheree’s and Amy’s, I decided together they had said it all about goodbye.

  2. Amy on March 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Goodbye MaryKat. Goodbye my Little One. Goodbye my dear little Monkey. No chance to say goodbye Mousy, died overnight.

    Goodbye Renee. Goodbye Malinda. Goodbye Mattie and Cathy with a C. And Kathy with a K. Cancer sucks.

    Goodbye forever Cookie. Goodbye for never Dory.

    Good riddance, not goodbye Myrna and Fred.

    Goodnight my Skunky, Birdie, and Ladybuggy. See you in the morning.

    • Diane Chamberlain on March 30, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      love this, Amy.

  3. Debbie Hearne on March 30, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    I just have to comment on Sheree’s post. It was both heartbreaking and beautiful. How comforting it must be for family members to know that you are taking care of their loved ones.

  4. Debbie Hearne on March 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    The house was empty of all furniture. The closets empty and the walls blank. This house had been my home for 15 years. So much had occurred here during those years. The laughter of little boys growing up and sometimes tears. A devastating house fire in the winter of 1991. We were fortunate to have escaped with our lives. The inside of our house was gutted. We rebuilt and returned 4 months later to start all over again. Five years later sitting alone, I am saying goodbye. The house was no longer my home as it had been sold. in my dreams at night I am often in that house again. I guess my heart never really said goodbye.

    • Diane Chamberlain on March 30, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      I think most people have a special house that will forever be in their hearts. But only if they’re lucky.

  5. Kirsten Moore on March 30, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Almost five months ago I said goodbye to my Grandad without knowing it would be the last time. He died suddenly whilst I was away at university, a few days before my birthday. I was fortunate enough to see him a few days before he died. I wasn’t supposed to be back home; I was originally going to wait until my birthday to visit. But I had done all of my work and it was my cousin’s birthday.
    I miss him so much, but I got to see him one last time. I’d like to say it was coincidence that I decided to go home that weekend but maybe fate does exist.

    • Diane Chamberlain on March 30, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      I’m glad you had that extra time with him, Kristen.

  6. Loujean M Baker on March 31, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I’ve been slowly recovering from a fractured pelvis. Because of the seriousness of the injury, with complications from arthritis, I required home care from rising to lunch and supper to retiring. Thanks to the decision to obtain a long term care policy when I was 60, I had ten hours a day covered so finances were not a factor. Finally, after eight months, I felt I could do without the evening person. They had cared for me, nudged me out of bed, and shoved me back into life; they also provided a shoulder to cry on when my mother died midway through my recovery. These women existed to work themselves out of their jobs. With mixed emotions, I said good-bye to the three women helped me back into living. Thank you.

    • Diane Chamberlain on April 1, 2013 at 9:35 am

      Oh Loujean, I’m sorry you’ve been going through this! How wonderful that you’ve had good caretakers and the ability to get the long term care policy. I’ve tried, but the RA has made it impossible. I’m glad you succeeded despite your arthritis. xoxo

  7. Jill Anderson on March 31, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    A little over a year ago, my best friend of thirty years passed away from her second fight with Leukemia. I had the pleasure of saying goodbye the night before she passed, and although she couldn’t open her eyes, she knew I was there, and would waken every once in a while and talk for a few minutes, mostly about when she was young. It was her husband holding one hand, me holding the other. When she smiled and told us at one point she was at her friends house, her husband asked, “which friend?” She answered “I’m at Jill’s”. In her pain and state of mind, I was so grateful that I’d meant as much to her at the very end, as she did to me. It made saying goodbye to her a little easier, knowing that tie between us would never be broken, no matter what.

    • Diane Chamberlain on April 1, 2013 at 9:33 am

      How good you could be with her, Jill.

  8. Christina Wible on March 31, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    The guy in the ICU waiting room said, “We can’t go in. The idiot who tried to kill himself and failed coded again.” I sat down with a thud and someone said “Shhhhh.” We waited in embarrassed silence. The nurse let us in. I went to the bed, touched my husband’s bandaged eyes and his hand, asked him once more why he’d done it but he was beyone answering. I kissed him. Tonight he would be dead, off the respirator that was keeping him alive. But I knew then that he will always be with me.

    • Diane Chamberlain on April 1, 2013 at 9:32 am

      Christina, I have no words.

  9. Barbara on April 1, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Two days before Christmas I visited my dying father. There was recognition and a little conversation. It was a day with good blood flow to the brain and it felt like I had my adored father back with me. Christmas Eve I walk into his room to say good-bye and he was sleeping. I stopped at his bedside and a hand from the universe told me to let him sleep. I turned and flew back to New Jersey for the holidays with my family. At 3 a.m. Christmas morning I received the dreaded call that he has died peacefully in his sleep. I will always be grateful for that last lucid moment and also for not risking another day of non-recognition. I said good-bye when he knew my name and that was enough.

  10. Diane Chamberlain on April 1, 2013 at 9:36 am

    I’m so glad you had that time with him, Barbara.

  11. Patsy Kringel on April 2, 2013 at 11:54 am

    My husband was the very first hospice patient in our little town in 1982. He was 36. We had a little girl in 1st grade and a boy in 7th. On the last day, the hospice nurses told me in the afternoon it “would be any time now”. I was so scared – I called my neighbor to pick my daughter up from school. I didn’t want her to be there to see it. My son was old enough and wanted to be there. After several hours of struggle, I realized that Kris needed to say good-bye to Sarah. I called my neighbor to bring her home. She sat on the edge of the hospital bed, kissed him on the forehead and said “I love you, Daddy” and he died.

    • Diane Chamberlain on April 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      I’m glad your daughter was able to be there. It’s hard to know what’s the right thing to do at a time like that. I’m sorry for your loss–he was so young.

  12. Maudeen Wachsmith on April 4, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    My father had been ill with an undiagnosed malady earlier in the summer. At age 81, having had a six-way coronary bypass ten years previously, we knew his days were numbered. He was the last living out of six siblings, all of whom had succumbed to the same heart disease that took their parents. Somehow, he snapped out of that illness coming home from the hospital the day before celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary. The next two months seemed like a gift. Once quite the curmudgeon he had the mischievous glow of youth every time I saw him. However that healthy glow wasn’t to last. In late August I got a phone call from my mother saying that Dad had been taken by ambulance to the hospital and that he was unconscious. We made the two-hour drive to the hospital, not sure what we’d find. At that time we were told he had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was on life support, the prognosis was grim. We asked if they would be able to keep him on life support until all my brothers arrived to say their goodbyes. Thankfully they were able to do this as there were plenty of beds in the ICU. I drove Mom home from the hospital and spent the night with her. The next morning the entire family convened at the hospital along with their pastor. The decision was made to take him off life support. They removed all the wires and machines keeping him alive so we could see him one last time in a more natural state. Our pastor came in with us and we all held hands and prayed. After everyone tearfully left, I stayed for a few more minutes. I had always been Daddy’s girl. They say sometimes the comatose can hear what’s being said. So I held his hand and told him it was OK. He could go now and that we’d take care of Mom. Right after saying that, despite the fact that we had made no movement at all in the last 14 hours, he squeezed his eyelids. I’m sure he heard what I said and this was a response from him letting me know that. He could quit fighting especially knowing his bride of 50 years would be taken care of. That was 15-1/2 years ago and I’m happy to report we’ve kept that promise. Mom is 93 and doing well, living with one of my brothers. I’ve always been thankful for those few extra minutes alone with him so he felt it could go in peace.

    • Diane Chamberlain on April 4, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      It sounds like you have a wonderful and loving family, Maudeen. Thanks for sharing your story. xoxo

  13. Betty Sherman on June 9, 2013 at 12:12 am

    After a month of around the clock Hospice care at home, the night nurse could not come. “Will you be OK? We’ll have someone there at 5AM”. For the first time since my husband had become bed-ridden, we were alone. I told him it was just ‘you and me’ tonight. I laid next to him, whispered memories, kissed him and drifted to sleep. I woke at 2AM to peace-filled silence. He had been waiting for this night, waiting to end our earthly life together as we had started it thirty years before. Just the two of us, his last gift of love.

    • Diane Chamberlain on June 9, 2013 at 11:26 am

      That is beautiful, Betty. I’m sorry, though, for your loss.

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