The Ripple Effect

I heard about a crash that occurred this morning about fifteen miles from me. A man had driven into two girls aged 14 and 16. The 14 year old was dead. The 16 year old in hospital in a critical condition. My very first thought was, ‘Are Alice and Katie in their beds?’ Which is absurd as they wouldn’t sneak out of the house and they wouldn’t have any reason to go to that area but I didn’t relax fully until Katie got up a moment or two later. Later the police wrote that the 16-year-old had also died and the driver had been arrested for murder, not reckless driving as previously described.

I scoured the internet for clues as to why he would be arrested for murder and then Josh got up and said he was friends with someone that knew who the driver of the car was. She said that she’d been with him earlier in the evening and he’d been taking an assortment of drugs including Ketamine and Drone.

I spent the entire rest of the day, on and off, searching for news of the crash and of the victims. I have spent literally the whole day thinking about these poor girls, their families, their friends but also the driver and his loved ones.

I think this has bothered me so much partly because the girls are Alice and Katie’s age and it brings it home to me how much it would destroy me if anything ever happened to them but also it bothers me so dramatically because it really made me think how life can change in an instant. How life can stop in a split second with no warning and how our thoughts, our choices and our actions can impact so many people in so many different ways.

The two girls’ lives are over. Done. Finished. In a blink of an eye. Their Mums and Dads’ lives are destroyed, changed forever. Never ever will their lives be the same. The girls may have had siblings. Their lives have been altered immeasurably as have the lives of Grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbours, teachers.

The driver’s life, as he knew it, is over. From a choice he made to take drugs and then drive he has changed the entire course of his life and he can’t ever change it back. It’s too late. His life will not be about his car, mates and drink and drugs as the news implies. His life will be about prison and hopefully about regret, remorse and in time possibly about positive change.

The driver’s parent’s lives have changed forever. They too have lost a child but in a different way. His grandparents have lost their grandson. All of his extended family have lost him. Even if he one day comes back to them from prison, he will never be the person they used to know and love. This will change him. For better or worse. His friends are affected. Hopefully, some of those friends will now stop their drug use before they too destroy someone’s life, before they too change the course of a life, theirs or someone else’s.

When he made the decision last night to take drugs he would never for a moment have thought about the number of people his decision would affect. He would not have been capable of knowing that his decision would force a Mum of four to spend her whole day thinking about him, his future, his family, his loved ones, those two girls,  his many many victims. He didn’t know that when he took those drugs, that mum of 4 would be, just 24 short hours later, writing in her blog because a decision he made in the blink of an eye, would cause her world to tremor. He didn’t stop and think that when you throw a stone it has a ripple effect and that effect goes on and on and on and on and on and it touches the lives of people you know and people you don’t know. It affects now and it affects the future. The possibilities that may come of his decision making are endless. The possibilities are bad, there’s a slim chance some could be good. There could be depression, suicide, heartbreak. People could lose their jobs through grief. Marriages could break down. Families could split up. People may act badly out of anger and grief. Endless and immeasurable possibilities

We are powerful human beings. We have immense and immeasurable power in our hands at every given moment. Every single choice and decision we make, every second of the day has a ripple effect. Every single thing we say or do impacts someone in some way, good or bad. That then affects the next person and the next and the next.

My actions, every decision I make, every word I say, impacts those around me. I have the power to change people’s lives with my power as much as the driver did with his. My choice is simple. There is no choice – always do good. Always act from a place of love. Always make sure the ripple effect has positive, happy consequences as much as I possibly can because it impacts on everyone, everywhere and I will most likely never even know about it.

Because of his decision last night two things happened to me during the ripple effect.
1. I spent the day thinking about it. Josh spent the day thinking about it. Alice and Katie spent the day thinking about it. Josh used my laptop to try and find out more. When my laptop key got stuck, he hit it. I got angry and shouted at him. He shouted back, lost his temper and slammed a few doors. He stormed out. I sat indoors worrying about him until he came back. He bought me chocolate, I said sorry.
2. I wrote this. I thought deeply about the ripple effect. I told the kids about the ripple effect. In turn, that will have had a ripple effect. I really understood for the first time in a long time, how we’re all connected. How everything we do, affects everyone else.

The driver of the car made a decision that has changed lives. Many many lives. Right now those changes all seem like negative changes and undoubtedly they are but somewhere along the line, one day far from now, some of those changes just may turn out to be positives. Sadly nothing can ever change last night’s events. Nothing can bring back those girls. Nothing can restore peace in their loved one’s hearts. Nothing. But hopefully, one day, some small bit of good can come from this. I don’t know what and right now I don’t know how that’s even possible or indeed if it is possible.

Hopefully, the good can start to happen now. With me. With always remembering the ripple effect and making sure what I do, what decisions I make and what words I use touch people in a positive way. Maybe in some way, the driver’s catastrophic decision has already had a very very small positive, if it’s possible to even look at it in that way.

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