Goodbye for now.

She said “yes” to her sweetheart by the edge of a lake. He would love her for another 58 years on this earth. On June 14th at 11:40am he whispered, “Goodbye sweetheart, I love you” as she took her last breath.

Two months ago I sat near her, our chairs facing each other. He was in the kitchen making latte’s for us. The doctor had told her she had 2 or 3 months left with us. She was much thinner than the woman I had come to know but her smile hadn’t changed. He gave us time together then joined us with his own latte. We talked and laughed together until the light in the room slipped away. At times she would look at him and he would return her gaze. I could see the affection and the goodbyes in their looks. They told me of their journeys, of their faith in God, about the son she would soon see again. We all shed some tears but we laughed more often.

I would come again before she passed. Between my visits I would hear from him. He would tell of days spent by her side of the deterioration he was witnessing. Not wanting to miss a moment, he never left her side. He would speak softly to her, recalling memories of their life together. She opened her eyes from her rest once and spoke, “I love you so very much”.

On my last visit the three of us prayed together wrapped in each other’s arms. It was goodbye for now.

Days later I heard from him again. She had awakened briefly during one of his talks to her. No words were spoken but she had put her hands on his cheeks and pulled him close and looked at him. His heart was breaking.

Then Heaven welcomed her home.

Dearest sweetest one whose words of wisdom, smile, and laugh was unlike any other, you are missed. You ran the race with beauty. Goodbye for now Gretchen.

Tina Stephens

Author of The Common Hours

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