The Domino Effect

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Submitted by Pam King

The domino effect. Never played dominoes as a kid…never really understood the game but I think I have an idea that all the pieces rely on each other by making numbers match and work together as you build out the game. Not sure. There is also the domino effect …. or how I played dominoes as a kid. Line them up in a row about half an inch apart and watch them fall as they made that swishing noise, or small tick, tick, tick as they hit the tile floor. Such a short reward for the effort. But that seems to be the way most things are. Most enjoyment happens as a result of much effort put forth. My most recent awareness of reward has been watching my second born taking care of my first grandchild. So many years, so many memories, so many mistakes, accomplishments, disappointments and many rewards. So many dominoes to line up. One relying on the next, perfect unison. I never took a physics class but I kind of remember from somewhere that every action, positive or negative, will create an either positive or negative reaction.

This all comes while experiencing the loss of my last living parent today. The 5:40 a.m. phone call to tell me the news of her passing. Someone that I don’t think ever really understood the domino effect. I will never know.

Each person that we interact with affects some small portion of our lives. Every part, when you really think about it. We make decisions on how to react based on past experiences; or at least I seem to. I try to learn from experiences that have caused me pain in the past. So many people have touched my life. Some I have had the opportunity to tell. Some have cried. Others brush it off and make little of it. That hurts down in the heart too. Those of us who need to tell those angels who touch us need that acknowledgment that we have told them “thank you”. Thank you for being that positive influence. That rock. The constant in a world of unknown. Thank you Pat. I love you.

I am rich. I am blessed. I have had made my mistakes in life. I have been forgiven by those that matter, those that stand by me no matter what; my BFF’s and BFFL’s, you know who you are….Kelly, Bonnie….. My kids, my spouse, my extended families. Thank you to all of you for loving me for me, for not judging. For being one of my dominoes. There are so many opportunities to be a domino in someone’s life. We can be the one that is just that half inch away that allows them to move on to the next step or we can stand just far enough away to not make the transition easy for them in their struggle. There is only so much time…so much life…so much to do….so little time to do it. I learned at an early age (is 35-ish early??) that there is no ‘next life’; only this life and only I can make it the way I want it to be while I am here. Life is a vacation trip in a way – we make our own agenda, choose where we go, with whom and how much we want to ‘spend’ on the trip. Only the ‘spend’ isn’t measured in dollars, it’s measured in time and people. I have always told my kids to have a goal, to always know where you are going. How many vacations have you taken when you didn’t know where you wanted to go? Didn’t have a map? Even if it was to ‘wonder’ the map you still chose a mode of transportation and set out in a general direction. So if you don’t know where you are going, how will you really know if you ever arrive?

I sit here on the day of my mother’s passing and reflect of the heartache, both of the passing of my last parent as well as the opportunities missed; the life that she had and yet still, on her last day, felt she had nothing. She too was blessed but didn’t have the insight to realize it. She was survived by two healthy successful children, five beautiful grandchildren and 3 wonderful great grandchildren. What a beautiful life, what a vacation…too bad she never rolled down the window to look out to see where she was or where she was going! Too bad she never acknowledged the dominoes all around her. There were many that fell and many that were left standing; alone. Opportunities missed.

So to all my friends I say, roll down the window, look around, watch for dominoes and opportunities – those dominoes that didn’t have one close enough to rely on. Those left standing. Be thankful for the domino next to you that fell, so to speak, so you could.



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