The Power of Saying Hello

Christine - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on February 9, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

Every day, you say hello to perhaps hundreds of people. Think about it; you greet your family, friends, teachers and classmates with a simple wave or “Good Morning!”. Though the significance of saying hello is often diminished by its constant use, it has the power to lift someone’s spirits and holds significance in my life. I believe in the power of saying hello.

I realized the importance of saying hello when I was about six years old. It was Christmas of ‘98, and my grandparents were coming to visit. My grandpa, who I knew as Granddaddy Mac, was one of my favorite playmates. Since I’d met him, we’d had a special bond. With my older sister Colleen, I decorated the house to welcome his visit. I was in school when he and my grandma arrived at our house; when school finally let out and I came home, he was upstairs taking a nap in my parent’s room. Impatient to greet my favorite relative, I slipped welcome notes under the door to him. Soon enough it was time for dinner, and my grandma went upstairs to wake him. Sadly, he wouldn’t wake up; Granddaddy Mac had suffered a heart attack in his sleep and died.

The following hours in that memory are a haze of blaring sirens and frantic movement. I do clearly remember sitting at our round kitchen table, waiting anxiously for my mom and grandma to come home from the hospital. When they did, I found out what had happened and burst into tears. My mom took me in her arms, and I cried, “Mom! I never even got to say hello!” Today I realize the irony of my distress; many people never get to say goodbye to loved ones, but my only preoccupation as a six-year-old was the fact that I’d never said hello to beloved Granddaddy Mac.

Losing Granddaddy Mac so suddenly has prompted me to revel in saying hello. Whether you simply brighten someone’s day with a cheery greeting or surprise your grandma with a telephone call, saying hello has become important in my life. I firmly believe in the power of saying hello.