Last words are weirdly important. It makes sense of course as they are the last thing that is remember about a person and sometimes those words are nice, loving, and meaningful. Sometimes they are hurtful. Sometimes they are just odd. They are almost always powerful, especially when those last words take on a different meaning after the person passes away. These stories, curated from Reddit, are about last words. The good, the bad and the very sad. Some of them will warm hearts, others will break them.
May We Meet Again
“I had a patient when I was rotating through ENT who was a surgical oncology case (really bad prognosis in most cases). We bonded because I came to check up on him in his room and saw him watching ‘The 100.’ I enjoyed that show so I used it as an excuse to talk to him for a while.
He was a great guy. Combat veteran. Stand up comedian. Vet tech. Such a cool and interesting person. We talked for over an hour, but eventually I told him I needed to get on my way, as I had work to do an all. I lied. I just wanted to go home. As I was leaving, he said, ‘may we meet again.’ I repeated the phrase. He died two days later. I decide to rewatch ‘The 100’ in honor of this good dude.
Then it hits me. They say, ‘may we meet again,’ when they know one of them is going to die. ‘May we meet again,’ means I hope there is life after death, and I hope I see you there.
I abandoned this man during his final days, and his last words to me were to tell me he hopes there is a hereafter, and we get to hang out there again. It crushed me hard I will NEVER take another person for granted for as long as I live.
I hope you’re looking down on me, JT, and I hope you forgive me. May we meet again.”
He’s Glad He Took The Call
“My Dad. I was 17 when he passed, so a lot of times in my life I’ve heard ‘don’t blame yourself’ or ‘it’s not your fault’ because of my age, but I certainly could’ve handled it better.
When I was a teenager, my Dad and I didn’t get along. Completely different personalities. We fought a lot. So I figured he didn’t like me and would try to avoid seeing him on his visitation rights and I would duck his calls. This went on for the majority of my teenage years.
Then, one day I’m out getting food with my friends and he calls. Surprisingly, I excused myself from the table to answer and talked to him for a bit. He basically spent the time telling me he was proud of me, apologized for for anytime we fought, and told me he loved me. I reciprocated those feelings, albeit slightly confused.
He died that night. I think he knew his time was up.
What’s ironic is now (I’m 26), I think we’d be the best of friends. My family and friends of the family tell me how similar I look and act like him.
Don’t take your parents for granted, folks. If you have any chance of a relationship with them, seize it. They’re not here forever. No one is.”
Middle School Heartbreak
“In middle school, I decided to try out this ‘flirting’ thing for the first time while signing a classmates year book. I wrote something along the lines of ‘You’re pretty cute. Call me at 555-4567 and let’s get together this summer. ;)’ When I handed the yearbook back to him, I smiled and said, ‘I had a really good time hanging out with you this year. Hope you like the message.’
I didn’t get a call from him that night or the entire weekend. I stayed home sick on Monday, and I called a friend that night to complain that I hadn’t heard back from him yet.
She told me he had gotten run over by a car and died over the weekend. I was scared to flirt with anyone after that and I didn’t give anyone my number again until college.”
Even When Things Look The Brightest, The Darkness Arrives
“My mom went into the hospital and the ICU and one night I got a call at midnight that we should all head over, there was literally no way she was going to make it. Her blood pressure was at something ridiculously low like 30 over something and she was maxed out on her medicine and they couldn’t go any further cause apparently that would kill her too. We all sat in the room and cried, like 15 of us in the ICU room at 2:00 am. There wasn’t supposed to be more than two family in the room at the time, but I guess they made exceptions when it was this cut and dry.
Except she made it through the night, and the next night and the night after…she went for 10 weeks in that hospital getting better and stronger, visited her every week even though for the first 7 weeks she was literally asleep the entire time, maybe awake for like an hour a day. The last three weeks she woke up, off the ventilator, training to breath again. He slowly started talking, always telling me to take a train home and to go have a social life.
At the ten week mark she was living pretty normally within the hospital, out of the ICU, talking and breathing normal. She was transferred to a nursing home near our house for some rehab. We were all supposed to see her that night. I had worked really long hours that day and texted her ‘hey mom I’m really tired, I have a much lighter night tomorrow, so I’ll come see you and we will hang out’ – something to that affect.
She died that night. Sometime in the middle of the night she had a heart attack and passed on. I never got to talk or text her again.”
He Lost His Daughter
“‘I promise this won’t be the last time I see you.’
Said to my 2 month old daughter prior to leaving for bootcamp in Feb 1998 and as of this moment I haven’t seen her again. She was adopted by my ex’s new husband a few years later and to my knowledge doesn’t know I exist.
After Bootcamp I spent several months in school learning my job and then 2.5 years at my first duty station 1,800 miles away from where they lived. By this time I was married with a step-son and very low rank so I was unable to afford to visit and every phone call ended in an argument. Every argument with her caused one between my wife and I, and each of those pushed the next phone call further out since I couldn’t talk to my daughter anyway.
After two and a half years, I was transferred across the country to a base that was 1,350 miles away from her and shortly after arriving I was served with the petition for adoption with a scheduled hearing about two weeks later. Since I had just literally moved from one side of the country to the other it was impossible for me to cover the cost of the trip so I forfeited by default because I didn’t show up. Stupid, I know, and one of my biggest regrets, but I allowed my wife at the time to influence my decision and we ended up divorcing less than a year later over it. That’s not to say that I blame her because it was my decision to make, but she definitely heavily influenced the decision making process.
I had been looking for her on social media regularly throughout the years until I finally found her a few years ago, and now harmlessly stalk her on a semi regular basis. She apparently takes her privacy seriously as there is not much information available publicly, which I’m very happy to see, but it makes learning details difficult. Although I do know she’s working full time after graduating high school and has been dating a transgender person for over 5 years, which must drive her incredibly devout Catholic grandparents and mother completely insane, the thought of which brings me great pleasure since that devotion to faith was a large reason for the failure of our relationship. She seems really happy.
Since I don’t know her level of knowledge about me, I’m hesitant to initiate contact myself because it could potentially cause far more harm to her than good at this point, and I feel that would be a selfish move to make on my part. I sacrifice some personal security online in order to make myself easily ‘discoverable’s in the event that she ever wants to find me, and am currently content to wait for that day to either arrive or not, but the future may weaken my resolve there.
When I found her a few years ago, I also found her mother and learned that she had been recently diagnosed with a serious medical condition that my mother has also had for decades. My mother has been an online advocate for this disease for years and has designed a very detailed website and support group for people who have it so they can be kept up to date with the latest treatments and research available. I reached out to her at that time and let her know about the website and group and gave my sympathy for the diagnosis and never received a response, which I guess in itself is a response.”
Nothing Is Truly Safe
“One of my best friends ever was from California. I was little hick from the south and he was the first Californian I ever met. We met in military school.
The first night I met him, I snuck out on a rooftop and was sneaking a smoke. It was our first day at school. He snuck out and lit up what I thought was a joint because of what it looked like. I was like, ‘hey bro, you smoking some weed cause it would be cool if you offered to share.’ He was like ‘Nah, I’m smoking paper I rolled up. I miss weed so I just want to smoke something.’ I told him that I thought that was pretty weird man and we were best friends from there on.
In 2005, we both joined the Army. National Guard for him. Active duty for me. He joined before me and we ended up in the same training base. He got there before me. He sent me letters about how he hated the drills and I sent him letters back joking about it.
My first day training and we just finished getting punished with some serious physical training when they started marching us to the chow hall. I remember thinking to myself, ‘Man, if I see him, I bet he’s marching in a platoon.’
Sure enough, there he was. My first day there and I see him. He was marching a platoon, just like I thought he would be. I saw him and he saw me. I made no comments and I read his mouth as he said, ‘DUDE, BAPTIST SERVICE, SEE YOU THERE!’ The first service I could go to, he was there. He snuck some Snickers bars in and we ate them as we talked about he just got an airborne slot. It was like we were hanging out in high school again.
We deployed the same time. His unit got attached to a unit doing prisoner of wars transfers and mine was doing stuff, as I told him, like air assaults, boat missions, raids, aka – all the stuff that makes you feel cool. He sent me a MySpace message saying, ‘Man I wish I was there with you doing that type of stuff,’ while we were both deployed in Iraq.
My last message to him, which was me just trying to be humble, I swear to god, was, ‘well, at least what you’re doing is safer.’ I just wanted him to feel like he wasn’t missing out and look forward to the end.
He was killed within a week of that I found out from a MySpace message. It was by friendly fire. A member in his own unit cleaning his barrel when it went off and struck him.
I wish my last words were something about our friendship. I miss him. I always will.”
He Said All He Needed To Say
“I left to teach English in Japan two years ago. While I was getting ready to leave, I was saying goodbye to friends and family. My grandfather, who had been in poor health for a while (a year of dialysis at that point), said this to me: ‘This is goodbye. I won’t see you again. I’m proud of you and I love you.’
I never really believed that any of that was true, because he seemed to be getting better. I was also supposed to come back at Christmas (I left in August), so I was sure I would see him again.
Whenever I called my grandmother, he refused to talk with me because he ‘said what he had to.’ Eventually in October he passed. I was distraught because I couldn’t get a flight back in time for the funeral.
He knew exactly what he meant when he said those words. I still haven’t been able to go back to my grandmother’s house without him there. I don’t want to face the fact that he’s truly gone.”
They Never Caught Up
“I had one of my best childhood friends text message me one weekend out of the blue about going to a concert. It kind of struck me as odd because he lived in the States (we’re from Toronto), and he didn’t even let me know that he was back in town. But he was always a fun, spontaneous kind of guy so I didn’t think too much about it.
I told him that I known a bit earlier that I would’ve gone, but I had a lot of work to do that weekend, because I procrastinated too hard during the week and was behind on my work. He just wrote back, ‘research still keeping you busy, eh?’ I wrote back, ‘Yeah, but I’m almost done! How long are you in town for? We should catch up after this weekend!’ Then my text message turned green from blue. He turned had off his iPhone and never got my last message. He committed suicide a few hours later.
By declining his invitation, it makes me wonder whether it made him feel like no one cared about him. Maybe if I ditched my schoolwork and went to the concert then things could’ve turned out differently. It’s been a few months now, but it still gets to me. I miss him a lot.”
It’s Hard To Live With The Regret
“I’m the oldest of three girls. My parents got into smack and some other bad stuff when I was probably around 5, and my sisters were 3 and 2. Long story short – we got put into foster care after a long string of messed up stuff, when I was around the age of 9 or 10. My parents were separated by now but the state made it clear there was to be no contact whatsoever with my bio parents. Luckily we didn’t get separated, and a couple was going to adopt me and my middle sister but not my youngest. A couple days before the adoption was going to be finalized, my fathers dad (who I hadn’t seen since I was like, 4) and his wife found out about us, and in the state we were in, if a family member comes forward and is interested in adopting, they basically get first dibs. So we ended up with my grandpa and grandma, and moved halfway across the country.
Fast forward about four years, my mom contacted my grandparents, she swore she was clean, and wanted to know if she could come visit. They reluctantly agreed. She came to visit for about a week and things were pretty tense between her and I, due to the fact that I remembered a lot more than my sisters did. She had gained a lot of weight because she was on methadone, so my grandparents assumed she was in fact clean, and tried to make her feel as welcome as possible.
The last night she was there my grandma caught her raiding her medicine cabinet. She had taken a bunch of pills.
I told her that I hated her and I never wanted to talk to her again. I can still remember the look on her face when I said it, but I was so angry that she would do something like that, I didn’t care at the time. She went back home, and tried to call a few times and talk to me, but I would never talk to her.
Three months later, we get a call that she was found dead of an overdose in her apartment. They ruled it a suicide. Come to find out, she was clean when she visited. She had a moment of weakness, but never actually took any of the pills out of my grandma’s cabinet.
I went to her funeral, and she had written me a letter. In it she apologized that she couldn’t be the mother I needed, and that she didn’t blame me for hating her. Still, the guilt has eaten at me for a long time that I let my anger and hurt cloud my judgement, and she died thinking I hated her.”
One Normal Call, Followed By One Horrible Call
“‘Thanks for checking in on me grandma, my parents will be okay and I’ll be fine home alone for the night.’
My parents both worked in New York City on August 14, 2003 when a massive blackout hit the city and my paternal grandmother wanted to make sure I was okay.
She had a stroke that ended up killing her a couple hours later. I got a call from one of her healthcare practitioners, telling me the news, as she was unable to reach my dad due to the massive blackout jamming all the cell phone lines.
I had to break the news to my dad about his mom dying when I was only 13-years-old. That’s probably one of the worst things I had to do, especially because I broke the news when he somehow got out of New York City and into an area with decent cell phone coverage.”
Tough Love Turns To Last Love
“My best friend growing up. We started hanging out in 6th grade, but he got into dope senior year of high school. He still aced his college studies, addicted to smack the whole time. He came home after he graduated, and after several stints of rehab, he just couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t either. I had watched him try to kick the stuff and fall flat on his face. But I had a little bit of resentment for him, like he wasn’t trying hard enough or something. The stuff’s just that strong.
His final stint of rehab was out in Arizona. A 12-month inpatient program. I have always wanted to move out there, and he offered me to move out there with him and kind of be his rock. At that point, I literally texted him, ‘I’m sorry man, but you’re going to have to go at it alone this time.’ I was on my way to work and never opened the conversation thread again.
He died 8 months later of an overdose in a gutter in Glendale, Arizona.”
“‘Bye.’ Said to my biological mother.
That was over 4 years ago. I don’t know where she is. In all those 4 years she never tried to contact me. About 3 months ago, I changed my number when switching providers. I don’t know if she is even alive and I don’t care. I won’t be speaking to her again.
My stepmom all but legally adopted me when I was one. My mom never really cared. She visited rarely, and made me go to her if she wanted to visit. She contributed nothing, then acted like she was responsible for any achievement, bragging on Facebook for good parent points. Lots of people, even those with bad relationships with their parents, love them. I genuinely and honestly don’t.
I don’t intend to talk to her, and there is a good chance she will overdose and die at some point.”
At Least There Was Reconciliation
“I had a friend in my senior year of high school with whom I had a falling out.
When I started my first semester of college, in September, she made an effort to reach out to me while I was away to patch things up. We had a good conversation and it ended along the lines of me saying, ‘I’m glad we’re friends again and I can’t wait to see you when I’m home!’
A month later, in October, she fainted while she was out one night, fell into a coma, and never woke up. She had a brain aneurysm that popped out of nowhere.
It was surreal losing someone so young and so close.”
Put Him In, Coach!
“My grandfather was suffering from ever worsening dementia. Had been for years but it had finally reached a point where he was very obviously losing his mind. He’d also had a leg injury and some heart problems so he wasn’t in good shape, but my grandmother is an ageless strong woman so she was taking care of him at home with some help from my mother.
I was visiting them one Sunday and relaxing on the couch while my grandfather sat in his recliner. We were bonding the way we always had – watching football. The game is about to start and suddenly my grandfather says, ‘I got to hurry up and get down there, they’re going to start playing without me!’ I half smile and respond,
‘Don’t worry Pap, I’m sure they’ll be fine without you.’
He sits there a moment and then nods and says, ‘Good. I can’t even stand up so I wouldn’t be much help.’
I about passed out laughing so hard. That was the last time I saw him. He died a couple months later. Still remember that final exchange and laugh about it.”
There Were Only Two Words She Could Come Up With
My mom had been in remission from cancer for 5 years when she relapsed. She had never regained her strength from her rounds of treatment the last time, so chemo was out of the question this time. Over two weeks, I watched her degrade. She slept most of the day.
We had a troubled past. Nothing straight up abusive, just fallout from a drawn-out, contentious custody battle with my father. I felt, and still feel, seriously wronged. I yearned for a heart-to-heart with her, but in previous years I lacked the maturity to understand my own issues and my concerns were received as personal attacks. It seriously chilled our relationship and that topic remained totally taboo.
At the hospital, I wanted to apologize for the hurt I had caused her, articulate my feelings, and give her my forgiveness. However, there was always someone around and this wasn’t a topic I wanted to share with others. Towards the end, I finally had an hour or two alone with her. She had lost her ability to speak, but was conscious and made eye contact which told me she was ‘there.’ I was at a total loss for words. Looking at her made me tear up and all I could say was ‘I’m sorry.’ I had been away from work for two weeks at that point and had to go back. I don’t know what else I expected, but it didn’t occur to me that I would never have another chance to talk to her. She lost cause consciousness a few days later. Two weeks after that, I got the call that I should come home. She died within a couple days, about 20 minutes after I had left her side to get some dinner.
I can’t offer any insight. I have a feeling of unresolvedness which will never go away. A 10 minute conversation probably would not have changed that. More especially a one-sided exposition. Maybe it was better not to dredge up such things days before the end of her life. Then again, maybe my explicit forgiveness would have eased her passing.”