I Can't Help Saying Goodbye - Recap

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Karen is watching her older sister Libby kiss her boyfriend Max Smith in the next room. Max, an asthmatic, is the new choir director and Libby met him there. Karen is reporting what’s going on to her mother Flora, who is happy Libby has found someone. She talks about how she found her husband, a construction worker who died the day that Karen was born.

Libby brings Max into the kitchen to announce that they’re going to get married. Flora is happy for them and ushers them out of the kitchen so she can start on supper. However, as Libby takes Karen into the next room, the younger girl pauses for a moment, takes her mother’s and wishes her goodbye as if she’s never going to see her again. Both Flora and Libby are surprised. After they go to the next room, Flora lights a match for the gas stove… and a leak on the pilot light causes it to explode.

Two weeks later, Libby, Karen, and Max return home and Max rather brusquely says it’s time to start using the kitchen again now that it’s been cleaned up. Libby insists that Karen stay with them and Max reluctantly agrees.

Later, Max has Karen and her friend Susie practice a piece for the choir. Karen insists on getting a swimsuit for her birthday like the one Susie has, and is somewhat jealous. As Susie prepares to walk home in the snow, Karen takes her hand and intently says goodbye. Susie goes outside but slips on the snow and breaks her neck. Max and Karen realize that Karen has the ability to see when people will die, and wonder if she can actually cause people to die. Karen insists that they be nice to her or she will kill them.

Over the next few days, Karen gets everything she wants and Max’s asthma gets worse due to the stress of being around her. Karen talks to her only remaining friend, Susie’s doll, and says that she can’t kill anyone, but can only see when they die.

When Libby pushes the issue, Max insists that they break off the engagement and that he can’t live in the same house as Karen. As he prepares to leave, Karen comes in and says goodbye to him. Unable to find his inhaler, Max gasps out his last breath and collapses, dead.

Libby gives Karen the bathing suit she wanted and promises to teach her how to swim… in the deep end of the local lake. She goes into the kitchen and fills Karen’s inner tube with sand. Meanwhile, Karen tries on her new bathing suit and, looking in the mirror, sees herself drowning. She wishes herself goodbye as the water in the mirror rises above her head.