Ripple from the Other Side of the World.
Shortly after the 2011 new year, I received an email from Michelle, the director of a Hospice in a North Adelaide, South Australia. A new cookie club, inspired by the novel, brought cookies to the hospice. “A lady by the name of Carole and her cookie club friends shared with us an amazing gesture, delivering to our 16 bed facility copious beautifully home baked and decorated jars of cookies, slices and other delights. I cannot even begin to tell you the impact this had on our patients,” Michelle wrote. She snapped photos of her patients receiving the cookies and planned to write about the event in the hospice Newsletter. I asked her if I could please see them.
A little while later, Michelle sent the Newsletter. The dark headline said: Kindness from a Christmas Cookie Club. Beneath it, the text started in bright red:
“Four years ago, Carole Woodmore and her family lost loved ones dear to them whilst living in the UK. Although both deaths were difficult, the death of a young family friend in his 30’s with a young family of his own hit Carole and her husband hard; and made them think about embracing life more and gave them the courage to follow their dreams. This led to their immigration to Australia with their young family. They feel very blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to be able to fulfil their dreams when others do not.”
And then switched to the customary black:
“Carole recently read a book called The Christmas Cookie Club. This book tells the tale of 12 women who gather each Christmas to share their joys and sorrows, wine and cookies. They each make an extra set and donate them to a local Hospice – as a small way of showing some love and support to those families who will spend the festive season in Hospices.
“This book inspired Carole to set up a cookie club of her own given her positive experience with Hospice care in the UK, and the Mary Potter Hospice was blessed to be the recipient of an abundant amount of delicious handmade cookies and slices, all beautifully wrapped and presented.
“Inspired by Carole’s heartfelt generosity, The Mary Potter Foundation contacted the author of the book, Ann Pearlman, in the hope that they could share with her what an impact her book has had on a Hospice in South Australia. Ann eagerly replied, thrilled at what she had read:
“‘I can’t begin to tell you how happy and moved I am by your email. It’s been amazing to find out that my novel has had such an amazing, positive effect throughout the world. I hope you have as happy a New Year as you’ve just made mine! -Ann”
Around the text were photos of patients and staff. A grinning woman, eyes shinning behind glasses and wearing a turquoise nightgown, held a tin decorated with gingerbread boys as she lay covered with her blue and white checked blanket. Laying on it was a card. Please Help Yourself and Enjoy These Treats it read. A chain of amethyst beads circled her wrist. In another picture, a woman clasped an orange box with bright flowers and a frilled ribbon. She beamed joy while being hugged by a staff member. On a table, gaily wrapped containers, some tied with red balls and curled bows, waited to be untied, unwrapped and gobbled up.
I examined the smiling faces of the patients on the other side of the world, and their delight at cookies for their last holiday. Michelle told me I could use the text, but not the pictures as the patients who had been in the Hospice during that time had all died. Their happiness was evident in their joyful faces. Heartbreaking and heartwarming, it’s wonderful how we can spread marvelous ripples all across the world. How small this planet is, and how easy it sometimes can be to make a difference.