Five Minute Friday: In Which She is Afraid to Say Hello


We’re on the way to school, and I tell Grace how Great-Grandpa is home and can’t drive and is lonesome since Great-Grandma died. I tell her how he likes us to call, to hear our voices.

“I don’t know if he’ll be up yet,” I say, “but let’s try.”

He answers on the second ring, and I say hi and hang on and quick hand the phone to Grace, but she shakes her head.

“C’mon, talk to him.”

And she shakes her head harder, reminds me of  a vibrating washing machine.

I can hear him talking in the distance, but she still refuses to take the phone.

So I put it to my ear and tell him that she’s too embarrassed or something to talk, and we chat, and he tells me how he might take his cane and walk over to the Diocese to see my sister. “It’s not that far,” he says. “Don’t worry.”

He hates not being able to drive right now.

We chat a minute more, and I tell him I’m driving and need both hands, and he chides me for talking on the phone while I drive.

So we say goodbye, and I turn to Grace.

“Why wouldn’t you talk?”

She shrugs and looks out the window. “I was afraid.”

“Afraid? Afraid of your Grandpa? He’s not scary. He loves to talk to you.”

“I know.”

“Then why?”

She’s silent a moment and then says, “Not scary afraid. Worried afraid.”

“Worried? What are you worried about?”

“That something will happen to him.”

“You’re worried that something will happen to him, so that’s why you didn’t want to talk to him?”

She nods, and I’m quiet a moment, thinking.

“You know, something will happen to Grandpa someday. One day he’ll wave goodbye to this earth and hug Grandma hello. And we don’t know when that will be. But I don’t think you’d want to regret not being able to say goodbye, would you?”

She shakes her head.

“And so next time you’ll say hello, right?”

She nods hard, and smiles big.

Writing in community today with Lisa Jo, the Gypsy Mama, for five minutes on the prompt of Good-Bye.


  1. says

    Oh, those kiddos. I’ve read two posts of yours in a row today with your dear Grace at the heart. Such strength in the first one and such vulnerability in this, the second.

    Role reversal between the two, aye?


  2. says

    this–this is so super-sweet! beautiful reminder to speak to those we love, for time is always running short, yes?
    loved this sharing.

  3. says

    Just simply precious Sandy. I love that you are pouring so much of your heart into hers. What a gift you are giving her.

  4. says

    Glad you were so tender toward Grace…I get that being afraid to say “hello” although in a different context…continued peace and grace to you, Sandra…Thanks for sharing your writing/life.

  5. says

    The thing is, a lot of times we adults act just like Grace. We get too afraid after being hurt by losing someone and we pull back. We just do it by being busy.