That’s All Folks

I’ve been told a lot of stories over the years about people’s last words.

Some of them make me laugh.

Some of them give me chills.

Some bring tears to my heart.

I’ll never forget sitting with my friend many years ago as she told me about her mom’s passing.  We were sitting at this friend’s house eating Lays Potato Chips with bacon chip dip as she told me the events of her mother’s death.   That’s not important to the story.  But it’s been thirty years and I still remember it.  Her mom lay on her bed, in her home, with her children around her.  Her mom had not spoken or been awake for some time, at least a couple of days.   Suddenly her mom opened her eyes, said “Hello Jesus” and passed away.

That one made me smile.  And feel so very good.

One friend told me about how she worked in a nursing home.  A lady lie dying.  They didn’t let people who had no one, die alone.  In this case they didn’t have to worry.   But still, my friend stayed with her.  My friend sat by the bed, holding the elderly lady’s hand.  She felt someone come in the room and walk behind her to the other side of the bed.  But when my friend looked up to speak, no one was there.  The elderly lady’s head turned to the other side of the bed where no one could be seen.  And smiled.  And died.  This one has been told to me in many different ways, by many different people.   Going to see the elderly over the years, many of them told me stories of their loved ones passing.  And as they lie dying, most without having spoken or having opened their eyes in long periods of time, open their eyes and smile at someone or something they can’t see, and then they die.  Peacefully and with a smile on their face.

This always gives me calm.  Reassurance.

I was told once that my aunt’s aunt, when she passed, said “that’s all folks” and died.

That makes me laugh.

Death doesn’t frighten me.  But what I leave behind makes me want to live a life of joy, and depth, and character.  When I go I hope to leave behind some semblance of reassurance, peace, and calm.

And smiles.

30 thoughts on “That’s All Folks

  1. Beautiful Colleen.My old boss had been a palliative care nurse and after a few beer she told stories similar to yours that would make your hair stand on end.

    Every time this topic comes up I have the same memory from an old war movie – I must have been about 10 when saw it and I have no clue as to the movie or the actor. There was a Special Forces Team that had an enemy camp and storage facility as a target to be destroyed. They got into the camp and were discovered. One of the team members by the name of “Sailor” was a big brawny aggressive but cheerful guy. He got trapped in a lookout tower that had fuel storage directly below. There was a big gunfight and then reinforcements arrived and rescued the team, completing the mission. When all was over and the team was gathered together going over the operation, the leader asked Sailor why he chose to climb into the tower where there was no escape possible. Sailor grinned and said that was precisely why he climbed the tower for the escape. When the leader asked how he planned to escape from the tower, Sailor replied: “When I was sure they were going to capture or kill me, I had a grenade ready to pull the pin, count to four, and jump off the tower into the fuel storage and see what comes next. “

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sailor didn’t seem to fear the idea of death. I love that he had faith in there being something ‘next’. I don’t want to die any time soon. And I don’t like the idea of sunny days of bike riding, or rainy days of comfort, being missed when I die. But I figure if there’s such great things here I love, there’s gotta be greater things I can’t comprehend….. 🙂


  2. I think people know when it’s their time. We were all at my aunt’s 90th birthday. She had always been a feisty woman. When our visit was almost over she announced that we would not be at her 91st birthday because she would be gone. She was right she passed at home in her sleep a few month later.

    Enjoyed reading your story. :o)


  3. You may have heard this one before from me, too. I worked at a nursing home for five years as an Activities Director, we visited many people and I loved our outings. Lori, my asst and I were on a fun time at Recreation Unlimited with our six gentleman fishermen and one lady. The man who was very dapper in a felt hat, one of thoes kind you might see on Fred Astaire or on Gene Kelley, told us we would know when he had made it to Heaven, maybe not on the day it happened but through his “knocking the hat off your heads on a windless day.” We smiled and hugged him, Mr. Van Gundy. Well, we lost dear Mr. V. G. and we were on our first trip to the Whetstone Rose Garden in Clintonville with a few women and a couple of men. While unloading people we commented how hot and airless the day was, passed out some water bottles to sip on, plus we had a thickened liquid cup for the one woman. As I turned to smile at Lori, her hat didn’t just fly op off her head, it looked like it was grabbed by the back and flipped off! We both hugged each other with tears running down our face.
    To top this all off, (it was 1998 back then) I met a woman at Advance Auto warehouse this very Spring. Her last name is Van Gundy, I went up to her and started to tell her about this man, mentioned his first name. She exclaimed, “I never met my husband’s grandfather but he was a resident of Arbors for a few years! This sounds like him. I will ask him about the felt cap, if he wore this?” When she came back the next day to work, she ran up to me, tole me that her husband had called several people about the amazing hat story, flying off Lori’s head. She said this sounded like him and that this made every member of the family happy to know “he made it to Heaven.” xo


    • Robin, I don’t remember hearing this one. But I am so glad you told me now. What a great happening!!!!! If I was that family I would have been thrilled to hear that story. And if I had known him, I would have been thrilled to have been reached out to like that!!!!


  4. “When I go I hope to leave behind some semblance of reassurance, peace, and calm.

    And smiles.” So, you want to die the way you live. Makes sense to me. Thank you for the gifts you give to the world while living, and with the legacy of your written works, even after you’re gone.


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