This I Believe

Melissa - Chandler, Arizona
Entered on May 19, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death, family, love

Bittersweet Goodbye “Goodbye.” We often say this simple word without much thought. However, “Goodbye” is never easy to say to a loved one, especially when it is the final farewell. It is nearly impossible to let go when all you desire is one last embrace, but at the same time, it is more difficult to witness your loved one endure pain. It is none other than a bittersweet moment – the bitter thought of losing someone is swirled with the sweetness of freeing your loved one of all pain.

I paced back and forth in the hospital room, too nervous to glance over at my grandfather. His wrinkles told the story of his hardships as his troubling moans sent shivers down my spine. I tried calling out his name, but my cries fell on deaf ears. As much as I wanted to deny the truth, I knew that his end was near. I couldn’t help but wonder why he had to depart from my life so soon. How could he leave my world before he truly entered it? There were no memories for me to cling on to – just the disturbing image of his limp body lying in bed and the haunting echoes of his torturous screams. I hoped for one more day to spend with him, to introduce him into my life. Only, I knew that his feeble body could not withstand another day. My heart was torn between my selfish wish and his well-being. How do I even begin to accept the end?

I looked at my mother and met her understanding eyes. I gave her a faint, reluctant nod as scorching tears rolled down my cheeks. It had to be done. I couldn’t bear to witness him undergo further pain. My mother stepped out of the room to speak with the doctor, leaving me alone to accept the overwhelming truth. When the doctor shortly returned, my heart nearly stopped. As he inched towards my grandfather, each footstep echoed throughout the room. I couldn’t contain myself any longer.

“Grandpa,” my voice broke, “I know that you can’t hear me and that you hardly know me, but I wanted to tell you that you have nevertheless impacted my life. I know that you will be better off and free of this pain.” With a heavy sigh, I whispered, “Goodbye.” After that heartbreaking farewell, the doctor’s outstretched hands finally pulled the plug. With that, my grandfather was gone forever.

Through this experience, I learned how to slowly mend my shattered heart and how to cope with tragic changes. Although my world will never quite be the same again, it is from these depressing moments that I grow and value life.

Letting go is among the toughest tasks that we all must do in our lives. I still believe that liberating him from his agony was the best decision, regardless of my wish to spend more time with him. At one point in our lives, we must taste the bitterness of a tender goodbye.