Dear Elsie Jean, goodbye.

Dear Elsie Jean,

You were the greatest love of my life.

Sometimes I see or meet a woman that reminds me of you. I instantly fall in love with her with the same love I had for you. They’re alive, but I mourn for them when they walk away.

You were the single greatest heartbreak of my life.

Dear Elsie Jean,

I thought we had forever. I never imagined you growing old or having to live this life without you.

I didn’t think you could die.

I’ve forgotten your voice. It wasn’t that long ago I could remember it…

Time doesn’t heal this pain, it just makes me angry because I start to forget the details of your life.

That is why I’m writing you these letters.


Dear Elsie Jean,

The more I learn about you, the more I realize how similar we were as people. I think you knew that. I wish I had. It would have given me hope in the stupidity of my youth that I would somehow make it out okay.

I did. I hope you’re proud. I hope one day I am half the woman you were.

I called you every day if I could. We talked about cooking, gardening, and the Senior Center. Never anything truly significant.

I wish I had asked you more about yourself. I wish I had gotten to know who you were as a person.

I didn’t know it would be the last time I would talk to you. If I could go back, I would say so much more.

Dear Elsie Jean,

I want to go back. I want to go back to your house on San Luis Drive and watch Golden Girls and Designing Women.

A new family lives in your house. You wouldn’t like them. They trashed the place up. I hope you haunt them and they flee. They will never know what that house means to me.

I want you to make me those runny scrambled eggs and toast with orange juice. Afterward, we can go out to the garage sales where you’ll slip me quarters to buy useless crap.

I want to watch MTV on that crappy television in the spare room and sneeze from all the dust until you bring me popcorn before bed.

I want to sneak into your sewing room so I can rifle through all of the junk. You never did get mad at me for doing that. You had the best junk. Sometimes I smell that smell in thrift stores, and it takes me right back.

You must’ve known I tried on your makeup. How you managed not to laugh at my ridiculous face is beyond me. I must get my poker face from you.

You always accepted wild, crazy, dances-to-her-own-beat-Amanda. Thank you for that.

You always told my parents “She’s always good for Grandma” – even the one time I wasn’t. Thanks for doing me that solid, Elsie Jean. I would have been grounded forever.

Because of you I never felt alone.

Dear Elsie Jean,

I never had a chance to tell you goodbye. I hope you knew what you meant to me. Losing you felt like losing my soul. Part of me went with you.

I still break down when I think about you, so forgive me for trying not to. I think about you every day of my life, Elsie Jean.

I know you’re still here. I can feel you sometimes when I get upset. I can sense the calmness wrapping around me. You probably hate seeing me so distraught. I’m sorry, I can’t help it. You were everything to me.

I saw you in the bathroom that day. Some may say I’m crazy, but I saw what I saw. Thank you for showing me you’re okay. I wish you could have stayed just a few seconds longer.

Dear Elsie Jean,

I hope you see this somehow. I hope you see your great-grandkids growing up and happy. I hope it brings you joy.

I hope you see my art and writing. I hope it makes you proud. It was your dream, and I will fulfill it.  There would be no greater compliment than to know you approve.

As long as I live, so will you. I will tell your stories and read your poems to my children. I will make sure my kids get to know, and more importantly – love you.

Don’t be mad, but I shared your secret pumpkin pie recipe with… well, everyone. So that cat is out of the bag. 

Save a place for me at that table in the sky, would you Elsie Jean? I don’t plan on being there for a long time, but when I arrive, I would like to stay with you. Betty White should be there soon, the three of us together will be fun.

Dear Elsie Jean,

You taught me so much. Your last lesson was the hardest. No matter how much you say, or do, when you lose the kind of love I had for you, it will never seem like you did enough. You will always want 5 more minutes. One more phone call. One more hug.

At 28 years old I learned that heroes die too. When you are a kid you think your human heroes are immortal and invincible until one day, they aren’t. One day they are gone, and the finality of death becomes clearly understood.

I wish I could have you back. I would give everything I own. Death doesn’t bargain, does he? Not even my charm can work that spell.

I’m sorry it took me so long to write, Elsie Jean. 5 years have flown by. You always did love my writing and encouraged it.  So, here it is, my goodbye to you.

It’s hard. You know how I am with emotion. I hold it all in, then one day it just pours out like lava from a volcano. It’s not healthy, I know. I’m working on that. I hate goodbyes; I prefer see-you-laters.

I miss you, Elsie Jean. Every single day of my life. My heart hurts the same as it did the day you left.

I will take you with me everywhere, for the rest of my life.

Take care Elsie Jean, I will see you again one day.

Love Forever,





  1. Oh my Gosh Amanda I am crying my eyes out. Your Grandma had to have been such an amazing woman. I love love love this! Clearly she still lives through. I pray for you and I am sure she is super proud of the amazing woman you are! Thank you for the tears… It means more than I could ever explain. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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