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. --Carol

As 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. --MMG
Mama will always love you. --Jo-Anne
When 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. --DebbieJ
It 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. --Billie
My 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. --Michelle
These 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. --pmb
I 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. --Helen
My grandmother, after I told her I hated to see her suffer, she replied, "And didn't He suffer for us"? Then she died. --DVC
My 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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  • My mother was dying due to a sepsis infection. As she laid there she could not speak but she could move her hands. i was crying -- i dont think i have ever cried that hard or felt so much pain in my life. then all of a sudden she motioned for paper and a pencil, and as i stood there crying she wrote "Please don't cry for me (i am in the arms of jesus he is holding me now!). of course i never stopped crying and my mother died that night. but i know in my heart she was at peace. --Rhonda

    I never had the last goodbye, the last kiss, or the last hug. People don't know how lucky they are that have that. I found my husband dead in bed. I went in to give him his bedtime medicine and that's what I found. Something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I keep saying to myself, why wasn't I there? If I didn't have my faith in God I wouldn't be here today. I take one day at a time and I firmly believe that Johnny is watching over me as if I have my own special angel. --SGC

    I was with my mother who was being put on morphine drip after years of painful cancers. As we talked she looked at me and said "I was always so proud of you" and she thanked me for being there with her. I have 3 other siblings and I was blessed to have had heard Mom's last words to me and to this day 10 years latter I still can hear her voice saying her words. --Hanna
    I was in tears as my 13-year-old son saw me and he said, "Dad, please don't cry." I have been unable to stop. It will be 12 years this May, and I still miss him, even more, and have too many tears left! I have burried a mother, father, a brother -- but all three cannot match the total grief of losing my precious son. --J.J.S.
    My Grandma passed away on October 15, 1997, and before her death, we spoke on the phone many times during her last days. While we were talking she would ask me, "Can you hear them? Can your hear my babies? My babies and my husband Robert are here with me, the babies are playing at the foot of my bed." I told her, "No I can't hear the babies, but I know you are happy to see them and please tell Grandpa I love and miss him very much." My Grandma lost six of her twelve children while they were very young and I knew at that point they were with her to take her home. --Suni

    My mother, she just kept repeating, "You are beautiful, I love you, I love you, I love you." I was filled with love and awe for being loved so much that she would think only of me on her deathbed and in her suffering. --KR
    The final two weeks of my father's life were not easy for him; he was losing a 9-month battle with esophageal cancer. I shared with him how unfair I thought it was that he went through a difficult surgery to remove the tumor and he was still going to die. I felt he should at least get a couple years to live and see his grandchildren grow up. I remember him saying, "Those are the breaks, you are just going to have to learn to deal with it." At the time I thought his words were harsh, but looking back on it they were words of truth and harsh reality. He obviously had come to terms with his own death and now was helping me be more accepting. --DC
    Before my mother died all she said is that "It will all come out in the wash." Boy! It was strange. I keep on trying to figure out what she had meant. God Bless! --Tom
    My son died Feb. 3, 2004 from Cystic Fibrosis. I called him early in the evening to find out how his day was. Before we hung up I said "I love you" and he said "Right back at you." He was 27 years old. He went to sleep after that and did not wake up. --Carolyn
    At the very end, as i held my mother-in-law's hand, she asked me, "Do you see her? My mother--do you see her blue eyes? She has beautiful eyes." She was smiling the most beautiful smile that I had ever seen and I knew that she was seeing her mother, waiting for her. I told her that it was time to go; that i would be alright. I cannot tell you how comforting that knowledge is to me... that we will be met by those that we have loved and who have loved us!! Just as Jesus did. Ruth was always, to the very end, a source strength and an example of faith for me and i am forever grateful. --jane
    My mother's last words to me were Goodbye Honey. She said this to me while I'll was scrubbing the kitchen floor. She left the house and came back in looked at me again and said, "I love you, Honey. Be a good girl. I'll be with you." I was fourteen years old at the time. I believe she had never left me until I was in my sixties and sometime I think I feel her near me still and I'm older now. Of course I didn't know at the time they would be her last words to me, but I never forgot them. I love her as much today as I did when growing up. --momEJI

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