When we asked our readers, "Share the story of someone sharing last words with you. How did that person say goodbye? How did you react?" many of you submitted stories of powerful, unforgettable experiences. Here are are some of the responses we received.
When my husband died, he did not speak, but he did grab my hand in his & raise both hands towards the sky. He looked up as if looking directly at someone (perhaps angels), and then I felt his spirit leave his body & his hands both dropped to his side. I always say that I walked him to the gates of Heaven & handed him over to the Angels... --Pat
My daughter was dying and I had her brought home with me. She had a journal I had given her. I brought her home on Friday and she passed on Sunday. I didn't think she had written in this journal. As I was putting her things away I opened the journal and the only thing written was, "Thank you mommy." I felt so good, we had just spent 2 weeks in the hospital, and I felt like I wasn't doing enough for her. I never left her side, but I still felt helpless and that I was not doing enough. She felt I had. It's a feeling I really can't describe. She gave me such a sense of peace and love. --CarolAs my grandmother lay in the hospital, with family gathered, she called out my name over and over. As I comforted her, she chanted the hymns as she had done everyday. But this time, it took on a special significance: In Hinduism, the last words of this life are an echo into the future of your soul. This particular hymn ("Vishnu Sahasara Namam") blessed God's names and asked Him to release her from the cycle of rebirth and allow her to join Him in moksha (eternal bliss). I looked into her eyes, held her hand, and prayed alongside, as she slipped into unconsciousness. The last breath to leave her mouth uttered the word, "Om."... It was the way she would have wanted to leave this world: surrounded by family, chanting the name of God. --MMGMama will always love you. --Jo-AnneWhen my mother was dying of breast cancer, confined to a bed in her den, we talked on the phone nearly daily, and I drove to Las Vegas from Salt Lake City nearly every weekend. One day, I expressed my frustration at not being able to be there for her more often. We chatted a bit more and, as we were signing off, she said, "What you said about not being here enough--don't worry about that, because I carry you with me ALWAYS." As she uttered the words, I realized it was absolutely true; she and I would never be separated; we were too much a part of each other. I realized I, too, would carry her within me forever. In the 7 years since we buried her body, her essence has remained with me, in the words I say, the beauty I notice, the thoughts I think; sometimes, I look in the mirror and see her eyes in mine. In one sense, I miss my best friend's hugs and lively chatter; in another, I know she is completely alive and well. --DebbieJIt is difficult... My father was trying to say goodbye and I wanted him to keep fighting to stay alive. Sometimes we can't recognize it until it is too late. I listened, but I wasn't as supportive as I should have been. I heard his requests; "take care of your Mother" but it wasn't registering. I wanted him to get better so badly, that I missed the opportunity to comfort him when he was getting ready to move to his next home with God. --BillieMy dad told me that he was ready to go, he loved us and would miss us, but he was ready to be with Jesus. These words made it easier for me to let him go. --CACS My father had stomach cancer. He was fading quickly, as the cancer had spread to his throat, and his voice was hoarse... He kissed all of us, stroked my hair and my sister's hair. I always remember exactly what he said to me. It means more to me that anything to know that he loved me and he was so proud of me... Sometimes when I am feeling down I will run my fingers through my hair. I still remember him doing that. My dad had huge hands. It's comforting to me. --MichelleThese were the last words between my father and my little sister before she died. She was six years old and dying and she looked up into my father's face and said, "Papa are you coming?" He told her Yes, by the grace of God he would be there, and for her to tell her sister who died years before that he was coming. She died then. --L.H. It was more the words and love that my grandmother shared with me while she was alive that continue to give me strength, love and joy to this day. My grandmother would always say "You be my strength and I will be yours." She still is.... Another thing she was always saying was, "If you have your health, you have everything." She was right, and I try to live my life in a healthy way, thanks to her. So I feel very fortunate that my grandmother and I shared with each other all of our lives and therefore, I have many loving memories to cherish. --pmbI was taking care of my aunt and a week before she passed to the other side, she said, "Helen, you're doing such a good job. Why don't you just let me go?" Of course I couldn't, but she took a turn for the worse and died peacefully while I sat on her bed holding her hand and talking to her. --HelenMy grandmother, after I told her I hated to see her suffer, she replied, "And didn't He suffer for us"? Then she died. --DVCMy Mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January, 1984 and was given a 3-month sentence. She died 11 months later, in November. One month later on Christmas Eve, my father arrived for dinner and to open gifts alone. He carried a box of wrapped gifts, and I will never forget how alone and small he looked, as he struggled to get in the door. He had gifts from my mother that she had bought for each of us with a note attached. Mine was a ceramic clown and around its neck was a note that said, "Be Happy." --Denbears"I never had the last goodbye..."
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