Month: February 2016

The Ripple Effect

It’s been awhile.  I’d like to offer some substantial excuse for my time away from blogging – traveling the world, eliminating world hunger, creating world peace – but I’d be lying.  The only excuse I have to offer is getting caught up in the daily routine of life.  More specifically, the daily routine of life with a (nearly) teenage girl.

*Heavy sigh*

It was an unexpected Facebook post that made my heart happy today and spurred my writing.  A post that reminded me of the ripple effect we create – the way we touch others lives, sometimes, without ever even knowing it.

I’m fairly certain it happens more than we think.

A dear, old friend of my husband’s died last year.  I can’t compare the effect of his death on those around him to soft ripples;  it was more along the lines of an earthquake followed by frequent aftershocks.  You see, he took his own life.

I got the phone call while standing in my kitchen with my daughters.  They sensed the tragedy immediately and stood quietly behind me while I tried to absorb the news.  After hanging up the phone, I stared out the window in stunned silence until my oldest daughter prompted me for the news.  “Gino died.”  I said it out loud, trying to convince myself of the reality and finality of what I was saying.  It was my youngest daughter who asked “How?”

“He killed himself.”

The words were out of my mouth before I had time to consider them; before I had time to think about how I might explain the why, how or what of suicide to an 8 and 11 year old.  I wasn’t thinking.  I was simply trying to persuade my heart to believe what my brain already knew.

My daughter abandoned the subject and her questions for several days.  I knew the questions were brewing.  I knew she was taking her time, attempting to figure it out in her own head, but the big question was inevitable: she needed to know why.  When she finally asked, I offered her the only explanation I could….

“Well,” I started slowly, composing myself and hoping that I could make my thoughts turn into words that she would understand.  “He did a lot of soul searching over this past year and that led him to God.”  I wasn’t sure if she understood what I meant by ‘soul searching,’ but she let me continue.  “After finding God, he couldn’t believe that anyone here in our world could ever love him the way that he believed God did.  So, he decided that he needed to be there….with God….instead of here with us.”

I wonder sometimes how this moment and this explanation will manifest itself in my youngest daughter’s life.  I know it’s a moment she will always keep – a tragic ripple effect that found its way to her and one that I know Gino would have never imagined.

These jumbled thoughts somehow came together after reading the Facebook post shared by a friend from a lifetime ago.  He made me smile at the thought of one simple moment 20 years ago that, unknowingly, resulted in kindness being multiplied exponentially in the years since.

This is the kind of ripple effect I imagine Gino wishing to leave behind.

And then, while battling the strong will of my oldest daughter and finding myself on the brink of madness, I realized something.  I realized that there was a ripple that needed to find its way to my (nearly) teenage daughter – the incredible message that Gino unknowingly left behind….

Through your perfect days and imperfect days, through your good decisions and your really bad decisions, I will love you the way I believe my God loves you….unconditionally, unequivocally and always.  Don’t ever forget this.

Thanks Gino.