Twenty-five years ago, I was a 4th grade book nerd who said goodbye to a dad dying early and to the world where everything felt certain.

Goodbye to the dad who wanted to teach me basketball and chess.

Goodbye to chocolate cake in the freezer and pizza on Friday nights.

Goodbye to waking up early on Saturday morning to run to the bank, of all places.

Goodbye to a dream of walking down the wedding aisle with my dad to give me away.

Goodbye to a world where Dad held Mom and me safe . . . and hello to another.

Hello to watching mom strive to make ends meet and thinking her a superhero in the making it.

Hello to watching mom’s hair turn white from grief and thinking her beautiful when she showed up tired to chorus concerts.

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Hello to trying hard even when that tired trying meant finishing last in sports like running and swimming.

Hello to fighting mental illness and gripping onto God until its grip became less.

Hello to getting married and having kids even in that vulnerable space of terror that the past would repeat.  

Twenty-five years ago, I watched my father slip off this earth, and I didn’t know how much my world would change. In March, the rest of the world and I said goodbye to one world and hello to another.

Goodbye to restaurants and parks and hello to eating in and searching for toilet paper.

Goodbye to carefree trips to visit the grandparents and hello to masks, scary news headlines, and the surge of unemployment.

Goodbye to the constant rush of keeping up with the frenetic pace of life and hello to staying in, slowing down, and resting. 

Goodbye to a world that never said thank you to the workers we never knew were valuable and hello to one that called them essential.

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Goodbye to a world that quietly avoided matters like injustice and hello to one that made us realize how much we long for things to be made right. 

Twenty-five years ago, I said goodbye to my dad and hello to a mom and daughter bond that hell itself can’t break. Several months ago, we said goodbye to one world and hello to another. 

Twenty-five years ago, I wanted so desperately to go back to the world from before—the world when my dad was alive and I never saw my mom cry. Several months ago, we entered from one world that felt safe to one that is now called uncertain.

I wouldn’t go back to that world though.

Several months ago as we all said goodbye to the world where everything seemed familiar, I was saying hello to a daughter who would make me the tired mom of three little ones under four.

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Some day, by God’s grace, we will say goodbye to one world where death holds sway and hello to a world where tears are wiped away forever.  

In that world, there will only be hello

Melissa Elizondo

Mel Elizondo is an avid photography enthusiast, cook, and nature lover. She's also a mom of three kids, three and under. When she's not busy scraping food off the floor, she's either looking up a new recipe she'd like to cook or editing her novel. You can find her adventures over at https://theothersideoftherabbithole.wordpress.com/