The Last Goodbye

I watched as they said goodbye to each other, a lump rising in my throat and tears welling in my eyes. Next to me, my cousin hugged her and began to cry, so I hugged her. In the middle of the mess was my grandmother. The oxygen tank ran a line into her nose and the motorized wheelchair she sat in was stationary. Tears stung in her eyes too, and we all stood circled around her. My other cousin and my uncle stood in the doorway, the cousin already having said goodbye.

We all watched as my aunt, the mother of the two cousins, walked over to her for the goodbye. She wrapped her arms around the frail shell of my grandmother and began to cry. “You were the best mother in law a woman could ever have.” Her whisper made the tears start to ooze from my eyes and onto my cheeks as I waited for her response.

“And you were the best daughter in law I could ever dream of.” They remained embracing for several moments longer before the younger woman pulled away from the wheelchair. After all, she had a plane to catch. Then they left, leaving only the wheezing sound of the oxygen tank to fill the room as it pumped my relative with precious air. My grandfather, who had his own disease that followed the lines of memory loss, sat in a rocking chair with the usual vacant look in his eyes.

I walked through the doorway of the bedroom and found myself in the living room after several minutes. Slowly I allowed myself to look out the window and watched as the car disappeared down the driveway and vanished into the road. My eyes closed and I felt a pain in my chest, something worse than being stabbed. Tears continued to cascade down my cheeks for several minutes before I wondered back into the bedroom of my grandmother.

She sat crying in her wheelchair with my grandfather standing next to her, his standing form bent over his cane. I walked over and hugged her awkwardly, attempting to comfort as best I could. Words began to stream from her mouth as I embraced her, “I’ll never see her again. The next time she comes here will be for my funeral, and I’ll never see her again!” After she had stopped crying, I adjusted her oxygen tube and left the room to stare out another window and welcome a refreshing breeze that promised of rain.

Later that day, looking out the same window, I watched god cry for us. He opened the skies with his hands and let his own tears of grief pour down onto our Earth, our homes, and into our lives. As if it was any consolation.





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