Saying goodbye…


I’m not going to go into too many specifics here because I want to protect someone’s privacy as much as I can.


My husband and I had a conversation the other night at the dinner table – where all the great conversations in the world should occur, I believe – about dying. Specifically, the things that get said to the person dying and the things the dying person needs to say to the survivors.

My husband is the smartest person I have ever had the privilege to meet and know. Truly. He is bat-shit brilliant when it comes to most things. If I didn’t love him to the moon and back I’d be wicked jealous of all those brains.

Any hoo.

He told me that he was at a lecture once on death and dying ( for those of you not in the know – hubman is a physician//surgeon) and something the lecturer said has stuck with him since then. It was about what a dying person needs and wants to say to the people he/she is leaving behind but doesn’t know how to articulate exactly what needs to be said.

The lecturer said there are only 11 words that need to be said  – by either party – before someone’s death. These are:

I am sorry; You are forgiven; Thank you, and I love you.

That’s all.

Those 11 words cover everything – every single thing – that ever occurred in a life or during a relationship. Think about it. Think about someone you love who is dying. Wouldn’t saying those words do justice to every thing that has ever happened in your relationship?

You don’t need to state what you are sorry for – the person already knows. Saying you are sorry  is enough.

You do need to tell them they are forgiven because they need to hear it, but they already know why you’re forgiving them without stating the reason you are.

You thank the person for being in your life, for being there during the good and bad times and everything in between, and again – you don’t need to state specifics about why you are thanking them.

Saying I love you is the most important thing you can ever say to another human being. 3 simple words, without any further exposition, is enough.

I love you.

‘Nuff said, no?

So. From me:  “I am sorry. You are forgiven. Thank you. I love you.”




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5 responses to “Saying goodbye…

  1. mrsnnnlight

    Wow! That is profound and my mind is blown. Thank you for sharing this, Peggy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so true… As a daughter who lost her father tragically, I concur. I’m a Christian, but I didn’t need verses thrown at me. I know my father loved me; I know he was just unhappy, so I didn’t need anyone to try to explain something that is IMPOSSIBLE to explain. These words are perfect for any occasion of death, and something I’ve tried to express personally and through my writing.

    If it’s okay with you, I’ll only add one thing… Sometimes, no words, with a good long hug work, too. ❤

    Thank you for sharing. This is a great post to help others who are burdened with death.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Peggy Jaeger

    Carmen – I agree- a good long, heartfelt hug goes a long way when words can’t!


  4. Penelope Silvers

    Those small words are powerful, Peggy. They are easy to say, but can release someone from a lifetime of heartache. Thanks for sharing! 🙂


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