the kinetic pen

wired by words

The Words We Use to Say Goodbye


Last week I helped my husband’s family bury his mother. On Sunday I said goodbye to my grandfather.

My grandpa hasn’t passed away yet, but there is little time left, and he lives six hours away, so we made a quick weekend trip that allowed me to rub his thin arms, fold the blankets back when he felt too warm, and shout into his hearing aid that I love him. It took me back two weeks ago, when I sat at my mother-in-law’s bedside, swabbing her mouth with a water-soaked sponge and telling her to squeeze my hand when I’d interpreted her grunted request correctly.

“I’m pushing 94,” my grandpa said in one of his lucid moments, as I leaned in for a kiss. My grandmother stood in the doorway, resting on her cane and watching. They lost a son last year to cancer. I got to say goodbye to him, too.

The last time I saw my grandpa, this past summer, I was with my daughter. He wasn’t expecting our visit. He moved slowly into the kitchen, using a walker for the first time in his life after breaking a hip, and when he spotted us he stopped in the door frame, shook his head, and called out with a cracked voice, “God bless you!” He choked back tears, asked if we were all right, then said, his voice still cracking, that he loved us.

As I leaned over him Sunday for one last hug, I could feel him reach out for my husband’s hand over my back.

“I’m so glad you married my granddaughter,” he said.

What a gift he gave me in those seven words to my husband. He may have chosen them carefully, but I believe he simply spoke from the heart . A full heart that I’m going to miss very much.


Author: thekineticpen

Freelance journalist working on a narrative nonfiction book about a woman who, after the freak death of her husband, decides to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to deal with her grief and finds a second chance at love.

2 thoughts on “The Words We Use to Say Goodbye

  1. Oh Robin, your story brought tears to my eyes. I’m sorry for your loss. Your words are so poignant and are such an important reminder to all of us to live in the moment with our loved ones. Thank you for sharing from your heart. Sending hugs, Kathy

  2. Thank you for the thoughtful message, Kathy, and for your hugs. I feel so blessed that I was able to have that visit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s