This article is dedicated to those who were never given the chance to say goodbye to someone they loved, because it can haunt you for the rest of your life.
I never got to say goodbye to you. And I'm sorry for that. Time and distance got in the way. And I honestly didn't believe you would leave so soon.
When you left, though, I felt relieved. And that may sound awful, but after all the pain, and watching you forget who you were, I, as your granddaughter, was relieved. Because you were going somewhere better. Somewhere you would remember who you were and the people who loved you for who you are. And I know you had more to live for.
I never got to say goodbye. And I think about that often. Sometimes it doesn't feel like you are gone because of it.
If I could have said goodbye, I would have said I loved you. I would have said I loved when you would make me breakfast, when you wouldn't for anyone else. I loved when you made your homemade popcorn. I loved when you would take me to get ice cream, to the park to play, to the desert to find adventure. Las Vegas was a second home because you made it one for me. And I miss you so much.
If I could have said goodbye, I would have said I'm sorry I wasn't able to take care of you. If I could have said goodbye, I would have said I am going be a doctor as a physical therapist. I would have taken care of you. I would have called you more. I would have said how much I loved you.
If I could have said goodbye, I would have said it was okay to go. I loved you, but I didn't want you to be in pain. I didn't want you to forget who you were. Dementia and Alzheimer's are cruel, awful diseases. Watching you fade away is one of the hardest things I've ever seen. You were so much more. And despite the fact that I was the only one you truly remembered at times, I didn't want you to suffer.
If I could talk to you now, I would say I miss you. I would tell you about college. About the struggle in the beginning, and the adventure it's been. The friends I've made, the real ones, and I would tell you they exist. I would say I hope you are proud of me. I would say I wanted to take care of you, and I am so sorry I couldn't.
I would tell you that when you don't get to say goodbye, it haunts you. It leaves a hole a little bigger, because you never get closure. And that makes the difference. I know that you know that I loved you. But I needed you to know before you left. I wanted to hold your hand. I needed you to know that as you left this world you I supported you through it.
I would tell you I love you. I would tell you I'm sorry I didn't say goodbye. And I would ask that you would forgive me.
When someone leaves us, they aren't truly gone forever. They stay with us, always. But saying goodbye, that means something too. Because when you can't, it never leaves you. It haunts you, like a ghost. And I wish, every single day, that I could have said goodbye, because saying goodbye matters so much more than we think.