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  • Brenda Paulsen

On Saying Goodbye...

Its been a summer of different kinds of goodbyes. Some have been sad, some bittersweet, some kind of comical and some necessary.

My brother passed away in December and my parents were unable to get home due to circumstances beyond their control. His daughter was able to come help me with the final days while he was in the hospital and with the final arrangements. I will be forever thankful for her and her husband and their kindness. My brother was a very private person and he did not want a funeral, in fact he wanted just a private family memorial and to have his ashes scattered in an area that we camped as children.

I had shoulder surgery and was still recovering when I had to go to the funeral home to pick up his ashes. We had his ashes put into two separate containers because of where he wanted them spread. It was a really icy day and I was trying to figure out how I was going to get myself across the parking lot with only one good arm all the while trying to carry two containers of ashes and not fall. I had visions of slipping, falling facing more surgery and ashes going all over the parking lot. I got the giggles because I knew he would find that absolutely hilarious. Fortunately, the funeral home had everything ready to go in a very nice bag. Whew! I was so relieved.

We had stuff to go through and my sweet hubby helped me go through his bedroom and sort through stuff to donate, stuff his kids might want and that sort of thing. But the stuff he had in storage I didn't really touch. My mom and dad said they would come this summer and help me go through everything.

They did come and we did go through his belongings. We laughed at some of the things he had saved: all of his school papers (the highlights) of every single year he was in school. That was a head-scratcher. Photos were found and we laughed and cried at those memories. But finally we got it all taken care of.

The only thing we had left to finish or complete was to scatter his ashes. The day we chose the weather was just perfect; warm with a slight breeze. My parents and husband, my two youngest sons and their wives loaded up and headed up to our favorite camping spot. We walked over to the hill that my brother and I and our family dog ran up and down and explored thousands of times. Hiking part way up the hill we found a spot we liked. We shared some of our favorite memories about my brother. We each had scattered his ashes and my husband (my favorite pastor) prayed. I glanced over at my folks and saw them forehead to forehead in their grief and I was shredded. I have lost a child so I know their pain and it was raw and it was hard and it is now a precious memory I will carry.

As I released my last handful of ashes the wind started to swirl and God prompted a memory of my brother when he was about nine years old wearing his favorite red sweatshirt and the dog right behind him running up the hill as the ashes swirled away.

My necessary and final goodbye and I will miss him for the rest of my life.

My Final Goodbye


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© 2019 by Brenda Paulsen