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  • Writer's pictureA Pathway to Healing Counseling Services

A Beautiful Goodbye

In December 2020, I was blessed with the purest gift. Unconditional love. In my life, I have been given unconditional love by my loving and giving parents, grandparents and brother. I was gifted unconditional love in a very unconventional manner when my former father-in-law was dying. I was told by my former husband, Harvey, that his father was coming home to die. He was battling a very serious lung disease. During the years that my ex-husband and I were married, I would say that I had an okay relationship with my former in-laws. I figured, they just tolerated me because I was Harvey’s wife (this is a good time to mention, not to believe everything you think). I had come to learn in the days to come in December, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. I had come to learn this as “Joe” expressed to me the last time I got the honor of speaking with him, just a few short day’s before he passed away. Harvey had called and told me that his father would like to speak to me. I thought, that is so thoughtful that Joe would want to talk to me. Surely, he had many people who he loved and wanted to share his parting words with. When Harvey told me of Joe’s request, I Facetimed Joe. To say that the moments to follow were profound would be an understatement. Joe spent the next 27 minutes telling me how happy he was that I was his daughter in law and that even though Harvey and I divorced, he never stopped considering me his family. He told me that he was glad that I was his grandchildren’s mother. Harvey and I have been divorced almost 14 years at this point. He struggled with labored breathing as he assured me that I was so important to him in his life. He was so happy that Harvey and I were friends and that our family was in good emotional shape. In the past 14 years, it was no picnic for Harvey or I trying to sort things out, but we did. With my husband’s consent and blessing, Harvey and I hashed things out so that we could be friends and enjoy all of our children. I would joke with him and tell him that our relationship is the best it has ever been. It took a divorce and years of not talking to each other, but we have a positive relationship now. Joe told me that he was happy at home and he was at peace with what was happening. I told him that I have always loved him as well and that I was glad that I got to walk part of my journey as his daughter-in-law for a period in this lifetime. As we were saying our goodbye’s, Joe was making sure I was okay as he knew this was a highly emotional moment for me, something that moves me to this day and will continue to move me the remainder of my life. I had never said “goodbye” to someone who had not yet died. The experience was so moving to me, that I wanted to share this story. I hope you will always remember to say goodbye, not only in death, but in life. A good goodbye nourishes the soul and validates another’s being. What this lesson taught me is that goodbye’s do not have to be bad, they can be loving and kind and that kind of goodbye, will leave me with a lifetime of love and appreciation. Thank you, Joe.




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