The ripple effect

Sunday, July 03, 2011

This week’s post comes courtesy of a reader of Have the Best Year of Your Life, who inspired me this week. Glenda got in touch with me in advance of the anniversary of her son’s death. Here’s what she had to say (with her permission to share this of course):

“I have just been given the book by a wonderful friend & loooove it, the concept, the pay it forward moments & the ripple effect. 
I have decided I would like to buy these books as a gift for my friends & family in memory of my son Ben who died of cancer at 3.5yrs of age.  Each year I do something little or whatever gets people to stop & appreciate life.

My son’s birthday would have been 10th of August and would like to honour his memory & celebrate his life by sharing your wonderful book to all the valued & loved people in my life.
My son’s presence changed so many aspects of my life, the direction, the way I value humanity & how much I give to life, people & myself.  Ben has always been the seed in my life which continues to grow & live on each day.”


I’ve often thought what a shame it is that we have rationalised so much ritual out from our daily lives. And yet it is those high days and holidays, times when we come together to mark the seasons and shifts in our lives that really remind us what a gift life is, and that we need not journey alone.

So what a gift is Glenda’s courage and imagination in marking each anniversary of her son’s death with her own ritual, choosing some small way in which to remind her friends and family to stop for a while and appreciate the beauty and richness of life - even when there is pain.

In a follow-up email Glenda wrote more to me about the ripple effect: “It’s like purchasing a cow for a village where there is poverty, rather than send money, the cow provides income, milk, possibility of breeding, work etc the ripple effect is far greater and the impact far more positive than money.

Giving people a chance to change their lives, to look at who we are, what we do and bring new, challenging and enriching experiences into a persons life is a priceless gift!”

If ever there was a good example of how life does not end - even with death - it’s the ripples that continue to spread, ever further,  from Glenda’s decision to turn something painful into something love- and life-affirming.


Posted by Jane Matthews on 07/03 at 09:04 AM
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