Hello, Good-bye

Chi Quang - houston, Texas
Entered on March 1, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

We live in a world where people exchange hellos and good-byes everyday. These are simple words to speak, but not all people say it, or anything at all, when seeing another person. I believe that goodbyes should not be taken for granted. When parting from anybody, one should always say goodbye or another form of acknowledgement of their departure because you may not know when you will see that person again, or ever.

When I was in the 7th grade, I wasn’t very friendly. This was a time where I thought being “hard” and mean was the cool thing to do. Every time someone would say “Hey!” or “see ya” to me I really never said anything back, just gave them a mean look. One day, I was strolling through the hallway on my restroom break, and Christopher waved to me from the other side of hallway. Christopher was a boy that was in 5 of my 8 classes and he was always friendly to me. I looked away when he waved and went and did my business in the restroom. I thought I was so cool for being the mean guy, but that proved to be very unfortunate for me. Later that week I found out that Christopher was in a terrible car accident and was in critical condition. He later passed away.

I attended his funeral ceremony and I can’t remember any other time I was ever in so much grief as during that moment. As his casket was lowered into the earth, tears ran down my cheeks. I never was able to say goodbye to Christopher. The last thing I ever did when he was alive for him was ignore him. I laid a rose down by his grave after the soil buried him. If I knew Christopher was to die, I would’ve cherished every moment we had together.

A week after the funeral, I sat down and ate with my family for dinner. I told my parents what I did. They said to me “Don’t feel too bad son, you didn’t know what you were doing, but since something like this happened to you, let this be a life lesson to you.”

It took me longer than the other students to get over the loss of Christopher, mainly because they didn’t know what I did. After his passing, I changed my attitude. I made sure that I said “hello” or “goodbye” to everyone that I knew. I surely did not want for anyone in my life to leave me without saying goodbye. This is why I believe in goodbyes.