Lost in the Last Goodbye

February 26, 2020

Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe. I have to take myself out of that moment. The one 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. 

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 where 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 that 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. 

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. 

xox, Chels

I miss her fiercely every single day.
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15 comments so far.

15 responses to “Lost in the Last Goodbye”

  1. April W says:

    I get this 100%. Today was one of the days where I got lost on my mom’s last day. She will be gone 2 years on Friday and this week just is terrible. Thank you for your beautiful words, they mean so much.

    • chelseaohlemiller says:

      Thank you so much for reading my work and taking the time to share a piece of your heart and story. It’s the very reason I created this page. Saying an extra prayer of comfort for you this morning. xox, Chels

  2. Carolyn Joy says:

    This is me! Every single word is me. My mom went to heaven six years ago yesterday. And just like every April 29th, I found myself lost in that last and final goodbye! It is so hard still, just something you don’t get over. Thank you so much for sharing this, it’s like you took every feeling in me and put it into words. Hugs!!

  3. Mal says:

    I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone. I have to snap my brain out of the flashbacks and the what ifs. Thank you for this article. It’s oddly comforting knowing I’m not the only one with the vivid memories of my mom’s final breath. That other people go back to that moment and remember every last detail. It can make a person feel insane. And I’m sorry to anyone that feels this pain and grief.

  4. Teri says:

    I couldn’t have said it any better! It’s 2 years for me too and it feels exactly the same! I do thank God I was there 💞

  5. Angela says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s like you wrote my story of watching my mom take her last breath. It is a moment I treasure yet it haunts me. It was 2 years ago I lost my mom and it still seems like yesterday. I wish you peace and light. Life just isn’t the same without our mommas. ❤️

  6. Doreen Bell says:

    My Mom passed away on August 30, 2021. I had the privilege and honor of being there with her when she took her last breath. Your writing resonates my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes that memory creeps up and leaves me breathless. It is a moment in time forever etched in my mind and on my heart.

  7. Sonja Metz says:

    This is the second of your pieces that I’ve read, and again I’m in tears… My mom passed in November 2020 (in the middle of Covid, she was hospitalised for complications from chemo, for lymphoma. She contracted Covid in hospital). Miraculously, we were allowed to see her in ICU, but by that time she was dilerious from morphine. I sat with her as life ebbed away. I watched her struggle to breathe. I watched the monitors show her heartbeat get slower, her oxygen levels drop. And then it stopped. And my world stopped.
    I know I will never be the same. She was my best friend, my soul mate. I’m struggling.
    Thank you for sharing your experience. And thank you for letting me tell my story.

  8. Cheryl Nicholson says:

    Imagine not being able to say goodbye lost my Mom 4 months ago and she died unexpectedly and in her sleep its heartwrenching

  9. Michelle Wilkinson says:

    I could of wrote this, every word. I miss my mam with every breath. I long for the day we meet again xx

  10. Sarah says:

    10000% my mum passed on 27th July…those final 2 days was the quickest yet slowest days of my life…I sat with her just the way you have explained..breaking my heart inside but having to be strong for her to let her know it was time to go promising thats she going be OK her mum and dad a family members are waiting for her…then feeling guilty for telling her to go…she had dementia for years and to watch this horrible disease steal her away…NEVER will this leave me saying my last goodbye ..thank you for sharing this and giving me the courage to actually write this 💔💔

  11. Tina says:

    It’s so nice to know that other people feel the same as I do, my mum died 5 years ago today, and the pain still creeps up and stings just as hard. I find myself feeling sad not only that I’m missing my mum but also that she is missing so many occasions that she would have loved to have been part off.
    Our loved ones take a part of us with them that will never heal.
    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful words xx

  12. Lorie Rapp says:

    I remember my last good bye with my mother over 40 years ago like it was yesterday but most recently I had my last good bye with husband just 8 weeks ago. I can’t get over losing the love of my life and it brought back the memories of my precious mom!😢

  13. Dana Nicholson says:

    I go through this every single day of my life. My mom passed away July 21st 2021. We had 2 days to prepare for her passing. My sister and I were the only family members allowed in the hospital to be with her. I don’t know if I will ever be able to get the last goodbye out of my mind. 😪😪

  14. Teresa Kirkland says:

    The last goodbye…ugh! The stabbing of my heart as we spent her last breathing moments together. As I lay and my lil rescue dog, Murphy on her bed in her home. We sat together holding on and comforting her through her transition. It was as though we saw her leave. And then ….the still came. I lay there trying to take it all in as if in a dream. It was beautiful and painful at the same time. My mind plays back to the last few months and moments that led to that time. I dream of her every single night. Good dreams.
    I am so thankful to hospice and the hospice aid who was by my side for her last days. I learned so much about the important things in those hours spent together. As if God sent them to me for support and love.
    RIP my beautiful mommy, Madelene 8/6/20.

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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