Wendy Fawell, 50, from Otley, West Yorkshire, headed to the arena exit doors with Caroline Davies to pick up her daughter, Charlotte, and Ms Davies's sons, Ben and Lee.
As more people exited, the mothers separated and Mrs Fawell was approximately five metres away from suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, when he detonated his device at 10.31pm on May 22 2017.
The after-care club manager at a primary school died from a head injury, which was described as unsurvivable.
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On Thursday, her final movements with Ms Davies - who survived the blast - were outlined as her mother, Julia Tiplady, and children Adam and Charlotte watched the hearing from home.
The inquiry heard Mrs Fawell loved her job and her children, who were "always paramount in her thoughts and deeds".
She was described as a "fun person" and "the life and soul of a party" whose caring nature "meant she tried to mother everyone".
Sir John Saunders, chairman of the public inquiry into the atrocity, said: "Wendy Fawell loved children, not just her own but others that she worked with. Not only did she love working with them but she had a great talent for it and many children benefited from her care.
"She died as she lived, doing things for other people."