Memory of my last goodbye to Dad.

Justin M. Boyd
2 min readFeb 26, 2024

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Today, 24 years ago, I find myself reflecting on a day that remains vivid in my memory. I can replay the day’s events in my mind with remarkable clarity.

I was 16 years old, I remember the overwhelming feelings, the confusion that encircled my family at the hospital, and the awkwardness of navigating conversations with others. I recall the exhaustion from staying up all night, then when I went home to rest receiving the call from my Aunt Linda urging me to return to the hospital.

Driving down Main St. toward Bromen, the journey felt both fast yet long enough for a lifetime of memories to race through my head. The hospital’s cancer floor greeted me with its somber familiarity, as it served as my second home for the past several weeks. Pastor Rush was there when the elevator doors opened with a simple message, “you better hurry”.

Entering my dad’s hospital room, I saw my mom in tears, she stepped aside to give me space next to him. I kneeled and took a moment to kiss his forehead and grab his hand, rough from years of manual labor, felt familiar in mine. His difficult breathing filled the room. In that moment, I squeezed his hand and whispered my last “I love you dad.” Then, just a moment later, his breathing stopped, which made the beeps of the hospital machines seem louder.

I stood, and exited the room, I felt like I was in a daze. My uncle Steve wrapped his arm around me, sharing words of pride from his brother, my dad.

If you haven’t experienced losing a parent as a child, it is difficult to understand the impact. 24 years have passed, and yet, I still miss him deeply. Some memories of that day are painful, but I find comfort in knowing that I had the chance to say goodbye.

The impact that this event has had on every day of my life since cannot be understated. My dad was not perfect, and I don’t think he would want me to paint the picture that he was. However, he was a great father, a hard-working, funny, giving man. I am thankful that I have the memory of this day that allows me to pause and give him a little extra time in my head.

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Justin M. Boyd

Business Philosopher, Workout enthusiast, Political junkie. Father & husband. Life is better with empathy & gratitude. 💚