The Last Goodbye

“Do you want to see her?”

Without hesitation but with complete dread… I said, “Yes… I want to see her.”

Walking down the hospital hallway my footsteps seemed to be in a vacuum. Gravitational forces seemed to be pulling me into the floor with every forward step. I walked past people without speaking. These weren’t people I would have spoken with anyhow. Divorce does that to people I guess. They were her new life… not part of our world, just a part of her world that I was no longer in. I kept walking… one left turn and then an immediate right turn and I was there.

The door opened… I was in awe. She was beautiful and she was smiling. It was a genuine smile… even though it may have been coming through the nervousness of a first meeting. And those legs! She obviously worked out. It was October 25th, 1994.

We were a mismatch made in heaven. She was the gorgeous social butterfly who spent weekends on the town or weeks on end at the beach. I was the slow talking country boy who drove a pick-up truck. Nobody saw this coming… including us.

We had spent 5 hours on the phone the night before. There was no internet or social media, so one landline conversation was it. It had been one hell of a conversation though. I made her laugh and she kept my attention. Keeping my attention was no easy feat. We were both intrigued and apparently both impatient as well. We made plans to see each other after I got off work at 6:00. By the time the phone call had ended, it was almost time for me to leave for work.

As we left her apartment I asked, “I was thinking Gabriel’s… is that cool?”

“Yeah, I’ve been there before… it’s nice.”


It was a short drive. We sat in a booth and we talked for hours again. I’m sure the atmosphere was amazing, but neither one of us took notice… we had just discovered our own world.

The date lasted until the following morning. She obviously was embarrassed about my mom and everyone else learning that I had spent the night. Everyone at the salon knew about our date. She worked there with my brother’s fiance and my mom. I laughed… because as I guy… I obviously didn’t care.

We saw each other every day for the next week. As my entire family packed for my brother’s wedding in Gatlinburg… I called her.

“Hey… I’m really not crazy about going 3 days without seeing you… so I was thinking… do you wanna come with us?”

If there were any doubts about our feelings for each other, they disappeared somewhere in the Smoky Mountains. Nine months later, we were married.

Donnely House.jpg

Two amazing sons followed with a lifetime of memories. Family was everything to us. We relished in our roles as parents. We had found our calling… but she was damn near meant to be a mother. She was perfect.

Our love was always strong. We loved hard and extreme. There was no room for mediocrity in our love. Sometimes the flames devour everything until there is nothing left – but the fire is beautiful.

I slid the curtain to the left and entered the room. As tears fell, I sobbed like a child. I tried to pull myself together. I walked closer. The resuscitation efforts had left patches of blood on her face. I knew in this moment, our love had never died. It never will. I brushed her hair with my fingers… I kissed her forehead.

“I swear I will finish what we started”