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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)

TITLE: A Final Goodbye
By David Story


Alyssa snapped her suitcase shut as she took one final look around her bedroom. She leaned over and tenderly straightened the covers of her bed one last time.

She was ready.

She walked down the stairs and sat the suitcase down at the front door.

She found her mother in the living room, sitting in her favorite chair. She was reading a book. Alyssa smiled. Her mom was always reading.

Mom looked up from her book. “Are you ready, sweetheart?”

“Yes, Mama.”

Alyssa’s mom looked at her daughter and smiled. “Come over here, sweetheart. Close to me.”

Alyssa walked slowly to her mother. She knelt at her side and grabbed her mother’s hand. The hand was small and frail.

“I’m so proud of you,” her mother said. “All grown up. Going off to college.”

Alyssa laid her head on her mother’s knee and immediately her mother began to stroke Alyssa’s hair.

Alyssa remained quiet while her mother spoke.

“I love you. You know that, don’t you?”

“I know, Mama.”

Her mom stopped stroking her hair. She placed her fingers under Alyssa’s chin and slowly lifted her face so she could look into her eyes. “And I’ll miss you. I’ll miss you so much.”

“I’ll miss you too, Mama.” The tears were starting to appear on Alyssa’s face.

Her mother wiped the tears away. “Don’t cry, darling. This is a wonderful day. A day to rejoice.” She took her hand away from Alyssa’s face and slowly took off a necklace she was wearing.

She placed it into her daughter’s open palm.

“I want you to have this.”

Alyssa knew how much the necklace meant to her mom. “Oh, no, Mama. I couldn’t.”

No words from Alyssa’s mom were necessary. The necklace was hers now. It was meant to be.

“Thank you, Mama.”

Alyssa’s mother smiled. “Now get on out of here, your father’s waiting for you.”

Alyssa kissed her mother on the cheek. “Okay, Mama. Okay.”

She got up and made her way out of the living room, and out of the house.


Her father was waiting outside, the trunk of the car opened.

Alyssa handed her father the suitcase and watched as he loaded it in the trunk along with her other belongings.

“Well, I guess that’s it.”

Alyssa forced a smile as she looked back toward the house; toward the only home she’d ever known.

They drove in silence for a while.

Finally, Alyssa’s father spoke. “She’d be so proud of you.”

Alyssa remained silent.

Her father continued. “I so wish she could have been here.”

Alyssa clutched tightly the necklace in her hand. “Me too, Daddy. Me too.”

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This article has been read 708 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 09/18/09
I could feel Alyssa's mixed emotions as she was going off to college in the first part of this story. Obviously the second part was a year or so later--at least that's what I'm guessing you're saying.

Red ink: Maybe just a tad more info would make the ending less fuzzy for people like me who need the details. I also found this focusing more on the daughter than on the topic of empty nesters. However, I did enjoy the read.
Laury Hubrich 09/20/09
I liked the mother/daughter relationship. It was very tender but I was confused at the ending, too. I was also distracted by all the times the word mother was used. It's a very good story. Just needs to be tightened up a bit. I really want to understand the ending.
Lori Robbins09/20/09
I thought this was very well written. I felt the emotion that both mother and daughter experienced. I also could tell this goodbye was not a child going to college or moving out but this goodbye went far beyond that. The title revealed that to readers so not really surprising. Very well done.
Beth LaBuff 09/22/09
Not sure if I'm right, but I thought Alyssa kept the mother's memory alive, in that house. Now that she was leaving, she would also have to leave the memory. I like this story.
Mariane Holbrook 09/22/09
I don't think there's any question about her mother's dying some years before. It was spelled out very well in the last few sentences. I like your style of writing and I think this is a particularly good entry. Kudos!
Betty Castleberry09/23/09
A tender, poignant story. I could literally see the scene at the end.

One thing I found a bit distracting was the name of your MC repeated frequently. I'm wondering if you could have substituted "young lady" or something similar, just to break it up a little bit?

It didn't detract from the essence of this lovely piece, though. Well done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/23/09
Your beautiful story put a lump in my throat.
Catrina Bradley 09/23/09
An emotional goodbye that takes an eerie turn. Creative story! The necklace twist is the key that leaves me wondering - hmmm. VERY good!