F Simple and Serene Living: HOW TO SAY GOODBYE TO A LOVED ONE 09 10
Monday, February 16, 2015

HOW TO SAY GOODBYE TO A LOVED ONE

Is there a road map or book that tells us how to say goodbye to a loved one? What do we do when faced with the imminent death of someone we love? Yesterday I was faced with just this dilemma. My late father's youngest brother is dying. He has end stage cancer and has decided to stop everything except water and meds to control his pain. 

Claudia Sanders DInner House

On the 45 minute drive to see him, I ran over all of the scenarios in my head. Will he recognize me? What do I say? How will he feel about dying? Will I cry? If I do, how will he react? Should I even be going, or should I just remember him as he was? 


Telling someone you love, who is dying, is never easy, but my uncle made it easier than I ever imagined possible. When my sister and I walked into his room, with our face masks on to keep from spreading germs, he looked up and said, "here's those two sweet girls". I of course wanted to burst out crying right then and there. Let's face it, the number of people who remember me as a sweet girl is dwindling rapidly. (In fact there are those who might tell you I was never that sweet.)

My uncle was apparently having the most coherent day he has had in awhile. He was a lot more coherent than I am on most days. He seemed to know everything that is going on with the family now and remembered everything from the past. He asked us about our families and how they are doing. I asked him what his father, my pappy, had died from way back in 1953. I had never gotten a straight answer on that one and I like to know all of my family's medical history. He kind of chuckled and said he died from pellagra or what used to be known as sharecropper's disease in the south. They apparently attributed it to his life of farming, eating too much black strap molasses, and being a heavy smoker. It is something that is readily treatable these days. I love the black strap molasses part. I can probably scratch that off the list of things I may die from.

grandparents
my grandparents
A couple of days ago we found out my uncle is this year's recipient of the Kentucky Ace Award. It is given to one person a year for their contribution to aviation. My uncle, Bob Holloway, was a Kentucky state trooper who flew a helicopter. He was never a wealthy man, but he was always a good one. I feel proud to have known him.


So how do you say goodbye to a loved one? I guess no book can really tell you the answer to that. Each time will be different. I know that no matter how sad I feel I wouldn't have missed this goodbye for the world, and I know that soon he will be soaring once again into the skies, being greeted by all of his loved ones who have gone on before him. 


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31 comments:

  1. Larua, you have shared a very intimate moment in your life and I thank you. There is no easy way and I do think the dying try to make it easier for the living. He sounds like an awesome man! Hugs!
    Linda

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  2. Prayers for you. It is never easy to say goodbye.

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  3. Laura.. what a beautiful tribute to your uncle! You and he are in my thoughts and prayers, dear friend!

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  4. so glad you were able to see him and that he was having a good day.

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  5. Sorry for your loss. Blessings and comfort. Debbie

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  6. I am so sorry for this time in your life in his...he sounds like a wonderful man.

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  7. I am so sorry for this time in your life in his...he sounds like a wonderful man.

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  8. What a treasured memory that you will have of your visit with your uncle. So glad he was having a good day. Prayers and peace for you and family.

    Judy

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    1. Thank you, Judy. It is definitely a memory I will always treasure.

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  9. Laura, that was a beautiful, loving post. Thanks for sharing. I'm so sorry for your impending loss, and yet glad you got to spend some quality time and say goodbye.

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    1. Thanks so much, Gwen. I feel as if I was given a true gift.

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  10. It is so hard to say goodbye....and sometimes the best goodbyes are the ones that are never voiced....just a See Ya Later...and they are gone. Sometimes saying Goodbye is giving them permission to leave this world and move to the next-even though it is sadly freeing to both sides.
    Great post, Laura. xo Diana

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    1. I think he had one foot in this world and one in the next, Diana. He is ready to go.

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  11. I'm so sorry to hear about your uncle's terminal illness! I know that trip had to be so difficult but very necessary too. It sounds like he led a good life. I hope he is comfortable during his last days.

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    1. I think they are keeping him as comfortable as possible, Kelly.

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  12. I am so glad that you went to see him, Laura, even though it was difficult to know what to say. From what I have been told, just being there means the world to people. Sounds like he was a wonderful man.

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    1. He seemed very happy to see us and I am so glad we were able to get there yesterday before this big snowstorm hit.

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  13. I am facing a similar situation. A very good friend of us, he is like a father to my husband. He has pancreatic cancer. I saw him few days ago and I just wanted to hold the hug a little longer. Most time I have no words. But I believe that this is not the end. Still it's hard.

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    1. I'm so sorry for your impending loss, Daniela. I understand about just not wanting the hug to end. I believe this is not the end, too.

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  14. It's never easy. I said goodbye to my beloved Mother last April and I still replay it constantly in my mind. You tell them you love them and in my case apologized for everything that I did wrong (or thought that I did)

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  15. Saying goodbye to our parents is so difficult. I am sorry for your loss.

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  16. I wish I had been able to say goodbye.

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    1. It is very hard when we don't get the chance to say goodbye, Ronda.

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