The Ripple Effect - for my father.

Written by David Pullan

The Ripple Effect - for my father.

Last Monday McKechnie and I were in the middle of Italy when I received an email from McKechnie Pullan Jnr to tell me that my father was very close to death in Adelaide, South Australia.


Due to the extreme kindness of friends and strangers in three countries I was able to make it back for the last 22 hours of his life.


As I travelled I read a book called ‘Staring At The Sun’ by the American existential psychiatrist Irvin D Yalom.


In it he talks about how any hope for immortality lies in our ability to generate feeling and memory in those we encounter during our lives. These encounters are like stones dropped in a pond and the resulting feelings and memories are the ripples that flow outwards from that event. A well dropped stone will generate a good ripple effect, and a badly dropped stone will generate the opposite.


During my time in Adelaide I have met neighbours of my father who have burst into tears at news of his death. He obviously dropped some very good stones into their lives.


But he was only human and there will be other stones he dropped that have had less pleasant after effects.


What I am learning is the necessity to be aware of every stone I drop and try to ensure that the ripples are beneficial to those I encounter.


The French forensic scientist Locard came up with the phrase that ‘every contact leaves a trace.’ What is true for crime scenes is true for our lives.


Let’s all drop good stones, create a good ripple effect, and make sure the traces we leave are beautiful.



Geoffrey William Pullan 18.8.1929 – 14.4.2016


  • W B Yeats

    'Think like a wise man, but communicate in the language of the people.'