A Small Gesture Can Go A Long Way

Christina - San Francisco, California
Entered on December 4, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death, family

This I believe that a simple gesture can make a difference- it can make a a difference in someone’s day, week, or life. A simple hug is worth a thousand words and can have a lasting impact on one’s life. A smile is priceless: “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” Kind gestures surround me and even the smallest ones can make a difference in my day.

About four years ago, my Grandpa was very sick, with cancer, and he was living at my Uncle Danny’s and Auntie Tish’s house. One sunny spring afternoon in San Mateo, we were all gathered at the house in celebration of his 80th birthday. Seeing all my cousins, aunts, and uncles, I began to feel at peace. I feel so comfortable and happy when I am with my family members- like I am in a wonderful place where nothing can bother me. Suddenly, I looked into the living room and saw my Grandfather; he was almost like a vegetable. I no longer felt like I was in this wonderful place, and sadness overcame me. After dinner, we all sang, “Happy Birthday dear G-r-a-n-d-p-a, Happy Birthday to you!” and his five kids blew out the candles. Everyone dispersed and began eating dessert. Meanwhile, my mom looked at me and asked if I was ready to tell him. I responded with a nervous, “y-e-s.” So we walked over to his bedside, and my mom said, “Dad, Tina has something to tell you.” I choked a little bit, but I ended up saying, “Grandpa, I got into St. Ignatius.” To my surprise, he opened his eyes and clapped. I cannot begin to explain the shock I felt. A few hours earlier, he looked as if he were a vegetable- barely hanging on to life. Then, he opened his arms to me, and I went in for a hug. After a few seconds, I began to pull away, yet he kept holding on. That was the most powerful event that has ever happened to me. It happened four years ago, and I can still feel his arms wrapped around me. Right when I began to pull away, he held on- as if he were telling me he would never let go. Sure enough, this was the last time I saw him before he passed away. I believe that hug’s purpose was to give me strength. Strength I would need later that week when he passed away; strength to embrace in a hug with my mother; strength to be strong for my family.

Because of this experience I realize the power of gestures. Each day, I try to flash a smile at as many people as I can. For I once read, “A day without a smile is a day wasted.” I know that the power of a smile is beyond explanation or reason; a smile can work wonders. Because I was lucky enough to be blessed with my special hug, I enjoy sending smiles to others. If one of my smiles makes a difference in one person’s day, then all my smiles will be worth it. This is why I believe a small effortless gesture can make all the difference- in someone’s day or in my case, life. I will remember the hug with my Grandpa for the rest of my life.