Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe. I have to take myself out of that moment. The one from two years ago when I lost my mother. The moment we said our last and final goodbye. 

Sometimes, I find myself lost in that last goodbye. 

Sometimes that fateful moment slips into my head and heart and it aches just as intensely as the moment I was actually in it. The moment when I knew it was over. The moment that no longer held realistic hope. The moment I knew I was saying my forever goodbye. The moment my mother was creating her forever absence

If you’ve ever said a final goodbye, you understand the way it stays with you.

The way the ache, the breathlessness, and the denial stay with you, always. Like the scene of a movie that’s been etched into your memory. Only this scene is yours, and it’s real, and it stings. 

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I remember the feeling as pieces of my heart lifted from my chest and into her soul as she journeyed to Heaven. Pieces of me that disappeared with her. I remember her closed eyes. Her body and breathing becoming more still as each second passed. I remember the exact moment when the breathing was no more.

I remember it all. 

Sometimes, no matter how busy life gets, I find myself lost in that last goodbye. Longing for it to be a mistake, a dream, a reality that isn’t mine. That last goodbye is both a blessing and a burden. It’s a moment I’m appreciative for but also haunted by. It was more than the last goodbye. It was the last everything. The last hug, the last kiss, the last words spoken. The last opportunity to love her. Her last opportunity to live. 

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The final goodbye is the one that sticks to your heart like glue. The one that can’t be erased from your memory or your future. Time hasn’t healed my grief. It’s simply changed my perspective of loss. The pain is still there. The hurt, the fear, and the worry remain.

And no matter how much time passes, I still find myself lost in that last and final goodbye. 

Previously published on the author’s blog

Chelsea Ohlemiller

Wife, mother, and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is married to the love of her life, Justin. She’s the mother to three beautiful and spunky children. She has a deep love of teaching and has always enjoyed helping inspire students. She is a Ball State graduate but an Indiana University Hoosier at heart. Chelsea’s mother always encouraged her to write. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. She decided to honor her mother's wishes and write. It was one of the best decisions she's ever made. Website: Instagram Handle: hopeandharshrealities Facebook: @hopeandharshrealities