Over the years I've heard a lot of references to "the butterfly effect"...it even spawned a not very good movie. Basic concept - a small action in one space of time creates a larger reaction in another space of time. A butterfly flaps its wings and creates a tidal wave half a world away. Well, I've decided to tag what I think of as the "Peanut Effect." From the perspective of your Momma, it's the opposite of the butterfly concept. A massive, tragic event in our immediate family has created thousands of small, wonderful changes in countless other lives. I think the Peanut Effect is part of your eternal legacy.
Every day I receive beautiful e-mails, posts, voice mails and other messages relaying how your very special story has resulted in a new appreciation for life, for parenthood, for family, for love. I've been told amazing stories about people who have never met, never known each other, connecting in unexpected places over a shared knowledge of you and your story. Familiar strangers with the same comment, uttered in awe..."You know Peanut?!?"
Your loss has given so much back to other people. Mommas who have found a new level of patience and understanding with their children. Daddas who have re-evaluated their life balance and decided to recommit time to family. Siblings who are consciously saying "I love you" rather than fighting. And so many people remembering the loved ones they've lost over the years...with joy, peace, smiles and stories.
A friend/co-worker shared a special story with me today. He is someone who doesn't share much, but has been particularly impacted by your loss. The day after your service, which he attended, he was sitting next to a perfect stranger in a public place who was holding the Sunday edition of the St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper...the one from January 30 that published your obituary. This total stranger had torn out your obituary to save and share. As the two strangers talked, they discovered a connection beyond the impact of your obituary. The stranger worked at the hospital the ambulance took you to on that awful day. The doctors, nurses and staff at that hospital were so impacted by the loss of our beautiful Peanut that they were still honoring and remembering you. And my co-workers were grieving for you in a different - yet similar - way. These two people made a heartfelt connection that has stayed with my co-worker for the last three months. Familiar strangers.
My Peanut. My darling little boy with his old, wise soul. You continue to live on in so many unexpected ways. I love you...to the moon and back. (And, hoping for another sleep-hug one of these nights.)