I’m Not Going to Say Goodbye, Just See You Later

Friday morning, we got a phone call, the kind you never want to receive.

We jumped on a plane, my husband first and the kids and I followed, to see my sister-in-law and my dear friend who was on life support, an unexpected complication to her diabetes.

We prayed, sobbed, and finally, we said goodbye.

Watching someone you love take her last breath on earth is heart wrenching. But knowing it means she is with Jesus is breathtaking.

Coming into this world is sacred, so is leaving it. As a room full of people worshipped God and shared memories, my sister-in-law left this world. The family minister with us said in 45 years of hospital ministry, he had never seen a family in more unity or support for each other.

My brother-in-law and nephews, in-laws, family members are heartbroken. We all just wished for one more conversation with her.

I’m walking unfamiliar ground with my kids who have lost someone close to them for the first time. My sensitive son threw up when he heard, my little one attending her first funeral, and my sweet girl, burying her precious aunt the week of her 13th birthday. My amazing husband, so strong through this has lost his big sister who adored him.

I’ve lost more than a sister-in-law; she was a friend, the only other woman I’ve ever asked to raise my children if something happened to us.

Rhonda, if I could talk to you one more time, I’d try to make you laugh, which would be easy since you lived ready to do so. You had the best laugh. I would thank you for loving my children as much as I did, for loving your brother all these years, and for accepting his crazy, strong-willed wife without question.  You were a wonderful wife and a fierce momma who loved her boys. We already miss you so much.

I’m holding my husband and children tighter, my family closer. Can I urge you to make that phone call you’ve been putting off ?Write that letter. Ask for forgiveness. Or accept it. Choose love because life’s too short to do anything else.

As we prepare for her funeral, I’m not great at saying goodbye, so I’m just going to say see you later. Because I will.


  1. 1


    precious, precious post. this unexpected leaving, this saying goodbye, this holding hurting kids….it’s so much. pausing right now to pray for your family.

  2. 2


    no words, but i’m so sorry. and so thankful it is just “goodbye” for now. just said a prayer for you, your husband, and your brother-in-law.

  3. 6

    Emily V says

    Praying for your family and I thought of this poem “Gone From My Sight” by Henry VanDyke.
    Google it, I can’t post a link.
    We’ll see you when you’re ready, until then you’ll be in our prayers <3

  4. 7

    Sandi says

    Wow. As part of the diabetes community via my son this makes me twice as sad. I will definitely uphold your family in prayer.

  5. 8


    Thank you for sharing your heart Kristen…. Being with a loved one as they depart this earth for eternity is…sacred – thank you for putting words. I held my mom’s (my best friend) hand as she moved to heaven and there were no words to describe, until now. Thank you. She said on a video that we played at her memorial – “good-bye for now.” – akin to “see ya later” – knowing that softens the intense pain of missing them. The ache is still there, but so is the comfort that they are in our future. Praying for you and your family to be held tightly in God’s grace and comfort.

  6. 9


    Such a touching post. My mama insists on only saying “See you in the morning” when someone leaves this life. It always touches me. Can’t wait for that great wakin’ up mornin’. Praying for you all. I’m so sorry.

  7. 10

    Melanie says

    I’m so sorry. What a beautiful description of your sister-in-law…we should all be so lucky to have a person like her in our lives. Prayers for comfort and healing for you all.

  8. 13

    SoCalLynn says

    I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my dad in September, to a suspected drunk/high driver who fled the scene. I didn’t get to say goodbye, but I’m sure he knew how much I loved him. I hope you feel God’s comfort and healing over these difficult days.

  9. 14


    Thank you for sharing your life with us. It would be so easy and acceptable to leave the page blank for awhile, but I am learning about grief from you. I’ve never experienced it first hand and I truly appreciate your vulnerability. Thank you. May God be so near to your family right now.

  10. 18

    Karen says

    SO sorry for you and yours…..so happy for her! Praying God’s peace to cover each and every family member.

    Ps 91:1-2

  11. 23

    Tam says

    Kristen, I am so very sorry for the loss of your dear sister-in-law. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  12. 25

    kelly says

    kristen, my heart hurts for you and your family. i cried as i read this b/c i feel like i know you so well, like a real friend. and we hurt when our friends hurt. your blog is such a blessing to me and so many others. please know we are all praying for you and your family.

  13. 27

    Jane B says

    I know that you will see God work in this like never before. My family will be lifting you up in prayer. We are so sorry! Words are never enough to express the true sorrow we feel seeing our friends suffer such sadness.

  14. 29

    Becky says

    Reading about this happening to your family is so terribly heart wrenching. Four years ago my husband lost his brother, his best friend, our children’s precious Uncle. I am praying for wisdom and strength for you as you watch your dearest family members wade through such loss (while trying to grapple with your own). I know God will carry you all through this. He is faithful. I’m just sorry this has happened- and look along with you in great anticipation to the day when Death will be Swallowed in Victory.

  15. 30


    I am praying for your family. The diabetes brought pain to my Mommy heart. I feel for your in-laws, as one of my guys was diagnosed with type-1 almost 8 years ago, at 18 months. This is probably my greatest fear in the world.
    I am so glad your husband is blessed with a close family. I am sure God will use that to strengthen and encourage you all.
    Thank you for sharing.

  16. 31

    Tina says

    You all have been on my mind so much and you’ll continue to be in my prayers.

    I held my mother’s hand as she took her last breath – it is a moment that is etched in my brain forever. It was so beautiful and gut wrenching at the same time and I’m so blessed to have witnessed it.

    I can only imagine your sister in law’s journey to Jesus, hearing and feeling the love surrounding her as she left.

    God bless you all.

  17. 33


    I’m so very sorry for your loss. What you wrote is beautiful and thought provoking. It made me tear up and think about several things. May you each find solace with each other and loved ones during this time. Take care, Sharon

  18. 34


    How do people live without Christ? I can’t even imagine living without hope…
    My heart and prayers are with your entire family. Even though it is only temporary, it HURTS.

  19. 40

    kate nowak says

    I am so sorry to hear about your sister-in-law. I remember reading other things you have written about her over the years and thinking what an amazing relationship you had with her. Please know that I will have you and your family in my prayers.

    Love in Christ,
    Kate N.

  20. 41


    When we lost my favorite sister-in-law to a brain aneurysm two years ago, my favorite verse from the psalms was “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” No tear is unseen by him. Praying for you this day.

  21. 42


    I’m sorry for your loss. I pray that the Lord will comfort you and your family during this time of grief and great loss. What a blessing to know that your sister-in-law is now in the presence of the Lord.

  22. 43


    Praying that ALL of you will find peace. As I read your words I couldn’t help but be reminded or your word of the year–love. To be loved, to love others, to feel love and love lost.

    Be Blessed.

  23. 45

    Pam B. says

    Thank you for sharing your sister in law with us. She sounds like a lovely lady! She was incredibly blessed to have such a loving family so supportive of her. I am sure you will meet up with her again some day! I am so sorry your darling daughter is having to go through this during her Birthday week. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.Until we meet again…

  24. 47


    I am so sorry for your family’s loss. It’s hard to say goodbye as it is, but it’s even more difficult when it’s so unexpected. Saying a special prayer for you all.

  25. 48

    Jan says

    My prayers go out to you and your loving family. Times like this hold tight to one another and you’ll get through this. May god bless and keep you.

  26. 52

    Shawna says

    We actually have “We don’t say “Goodbye”, we say “See you later” engraved on the back of my Mom’s headstone with the names of my brother, myself, my husband and her two grandsons’ (my boys) underneath.. She didn’t want a funeral, so we used this as the theme for her memorial service and you’re right…it’s true!

  27. 56


    This post resonates with me as I just lost my Mom and my children’s grandmother just over a week ago. We buried her on the 4th. We had the blessing of being with her (all four of us kids plus Dad) for her last days. She knew she was loved, and we know and rejoice that she is with the Lord now. We, as believers, will see her again someday. But we are sad too–remembering all the good times, the things we wish we could say, or tell her about, now that she is gone.

  28. 58


    I am so sorry for your pain and loss. I am praying right now for your comfort. Your post is beautiful, both as a tribute to her and to your faith in God.

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