Saying Goodbye

Today my heart broke into a million pieces. It won’t ever be the same. Because when it goes back together again, there will be a piece missing. That piece’s name is Zona Mae. Zona Mae will be dancing with Jesus soon. The number of days she was granted on Earth is coming to an end. And although my head knows the time has come when heaven is better for her than earth, my heart is sad for those of us who will be left behind.


When I think about Zona, I think of the list of roles she has played in her life, like daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and friend. I think about her appearance and her accomplishments during her time on Earth. These outer things often are used to measure how successfully we lived life. And although it is true that these outside things define Zona’s life, they really don’t capture who she is to me.


When I think of Zona, I think about marmalade jam on toast, lemon meringue pie, Shirley Temple, and coloring books in the coffee table. I think of hand holding, downtown Dayton’s, bus rides, and the red kitchen stool. I think of patio parties, birthday cake, Dinkytown, playing cards, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas parties and lunch at Dragon House. I think about the giant dining room table, the hutch filled with birds and Faberge eggs, and the grandfather clock. I think about watching Zona give little gifts to my children each time she saw them just because.


To me, Zona is defined by the stories we tell and the love we shared. Zona Mae is unconditional love, graciousness, and generosity. I am deeply grateful for the lifelong shower of love, grace and generosity she brought into my life. Zona’s heart touched mine. Her love changed me. Although a little piece of me goes to heaven with her, a piece of her will always be here with me, woven forever into the fabric that makes me who I am.


The heaviness of my heart deepens the closer we get to her final goodbye. I have cried a million tears. It doesn’t matter what words I try to use: woebegone, heartbroken, sorrowful, or wretched. No word seems to do justice to the sorrow of my broken heart. However, I have hope. I hope one day the missing piece of my heart will serve as a reminder of the gift of loving someone so great.

2 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye

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