Bak in June of last year I wrote about the yellow wristbands that have become affectionately known as "LianeUpBands". I made 500 of the first version of the bands with the following aim:
"The idea is simple - to promote the personal values/strength that Liane's love and kindness helped to build in me. She gave me confidence, self belief and inner strength. She taught me to be self aware and to back myself in situations I wasn't ready for. Liane's belief in me got me through tough times. I'd like people to wear the band, to pin it up to their wall, to give it to someone else or to put it away somewhere safe but to always remember that you have inner strength and your belief in yourself has got you so very far already. "
Since then they have had a redesign and I've given another 1500 away. The bands now have an oak leaf and wave on them, representing her link to nature, our swimming, her strength, the oak as her favourite tree and a tree under which she is buried. I've mostly given them to frisbee players after games. In our sport the two teams come together in a circle and share thoughts on the game just ended. After these circles finish I talk to the other team about Liane, about the bands and about her (and my) story. Most of these talks are special moments full of emotion and human connection. Every single time I finish speaking I look into the eyes of friends/strangers and see compassion and love. It is beautiful and it is heart wrenching.
The next largest group of recipients have been the students in Gonzaga College where I teach. Most recently the graduating class of 2018 each received a band and I spoke to them about what lies ahead. It was a moving and memorable experience for me, and hopefully for them too. If I can help just one or two of them in a tough moment it will be special.
The thought that somehow Liane and the memory of her can give solace to a stranger, a friend, a family member, a student and more is something I'm really happy about. I often talk about the Liane Ripple Effect - how much good her death has brought into this world. Through all the pain, the loss, the sheer lack of sense comes this positivity and compassion. She'd love it. She'd absolutely love it (although ideally without any attention given to her!).