94-year-old woman travels cross-country to say final goodbye to sister

The sisters, Barbara and Shirley, had not seen each other in three years.

94-year-old woman travels cross-country to say final goodbye to sister
Stephanie Shively
September 19, 2023, 9:52 AM

Two sisters -- ages 89 and 94 -- who had not seen each other in over three years got to say a final goodbye to each other in person.

The emotional conversation was captured on video by one of the woman's granddaughters, who shared it on TikTok, where it now has over 2 million likes.

"If we don't see each other on this Earth, we'll see you in heaven," one of the sisters, 89-year-old Shirley, can be heard saying in the video.

"You betcha," replies her 94-year-old sister Barbara, amid tears.

"Don't say goodbye," added Shirley, who will turn 90 in December. "Until we meet again, that's it."

PHOTO: Sisters Shirley, left, and Barbara were captured by Barbara's granddaughter having a final in-person conversation together.
Sisters Shirley, left, and Barbara were captured by Barbara's granddaughter having a final in-person conversation together.
Stephanie Shively

Shirley, who lives in Nevada, had not seen Barbara, who lives in New Hampshire, since just before the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, according to Barbara's granddaughter, Stephanie Shively, who asked that the women's last names not be used.

Shively told "Good Morning America" that her grandmother turned 94 on Sept. 4, and her only wish was to travel across the country to see her sister, her only living sibling.

"She kept saying, 'If I make it to my next birthday, I want to go see my sister for a last time,'" said Shively, who also lives in New Hampshire.

Shively noted that neither of the sisters have serious medical complications, but since it is a long cross-country flight to see each other, they anticipated this would be the last trip either of them could make.

Shively and Barbara flew to Nevada for a six-day trip earlier this month. The night before they left on an early morning flight, Shively said she saw Barbara and Shirley talking to each other and took out her phone to record it for her own daughters.

"I knew it would be emotional because they keep talking about this being their last visit," Shively said. "I just stood in the back, really just hoping to be able to hear them."

She continued, "And I recorded it really for my own girls because I have three daughters that are older, and I was like you know, I want them to see you might feel young now at 27, but sisterhood lasts all the way until 90 and this is how it can feel even in your 90s."

PHOTO: Shirley, left, of Nevada, poses with her sister Barbara, who traveled from New Hampshire for one last visit with each other.
Shirley, left, of Nevada, poses with her sister Barbara, who traveled from New Hampshire for one last visit with each other.
Stephanie Shively

During her trip to Nevada with her grandmother, Shively said she also reflected on the lifelong bond Barbara had with Shirley, and all they had been through together.

"Every night on the trip they slept together in my Aunt Shirley's room and every time I walked by I'd think, I wonder how many sleepovers they've had in their lifetime, how many arguments, divorces, marriages and kids and all that they've gone through," Shively said, adding that throughout their lives, the sisters always lived far away from each other but stayed in touch through phone calls and frequent trips with their husbands, who have both since died.

Shively said that throughout the trip, her grandmother, who lives in an assisted living facility, kept thanking her for making it happen.

PHOTO: Barbara, second from right in the first row, and Shirley, second from right in the second row, pose with family members.
Barbara, second from right in the first row, and Shirley, second from right in the second row, pose with family members.
Stephanie Shively

"At every turn she'd say, 'I'm just so thankful to be able to be out here and see my sister,'" Shively said of Barbara. "She knows it's a big trip and that's why she was so thankful that it came together."