Simon’s favourite thing in the entire world was his birthday. He only had 8.
But 8 turned on its side is the infinity symbol, says his mom, Brenda Wardall, who has created a way to keep sharing simple joys in this world, with others, in his memory.
Simon’s Love Project is run by Brenda and offers three ways for people to reach out to others. She lost Simon suddenly on September 25, 2013.
“Our world as we knew it collapsed, and everything stood still for a while,” she says. “When Simon passed away, it was at a time when my life was good. I felt like I could enjoy, trust and love freely.”
Losing Simon changed her in so many ways – part of her left with him, she says, and it takes conscious work each day to keep choosing love and believing in the good there is in the world.
“I am realising more each day that Simon inspired this project for many reasons, and one of them is so I can actively be a part of the good I wish to see in this world, and, in doing so, bring those scattered parts of my heart back to myself. One gift at a time.”
Simon’s Love Project invites people in several ways to become involved and grow their own worlds by helping others. Brenda says she waited a number of years, wanting to do something big, until she realised that those small acts of kindness have real value.
One of these acts of kindness is supporting Project Flamingo. It is for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Once a week, a panel of experts meets with about 20 patients who have been newly diagnosed, to discuss their prognosis and treatment plans.
Simon’s Love Project collects Pamper Packs, which are hand-made drawstring bags filled with goodies, to feed these patients’ feminine spirit: the packs contain hand cream, soap, lip balm, nail polish/lipstick, water, tissues and a small edible treat.
Brenda is happy to receive products at her Noordhoek home to contribute to these pamper packs, or the packs can be purchased online.
Project Flamingo also raises funds for timely surgery for newly diagnosed breast-cancer patients. These funds pay for surgeries performed at Groote Schuur Hospital and Tygerberg Hospital.
More little acts of kindness are expressed by Brenda through the Love Rocks project.
She discovered a family overseas who had lost two of their three daughters; and who have been painting rocks with positive messages and leaving them in parks for others to find and keep, or hide again.
Brenda makes 8 love rocks at a time – because Simon was 8 and because 8 is the infinity symbol, and love is infinite, she says. And she drops them in Noordhoek Common, leaving a trail of inspiration. “I hope others will do the same.” And lastly – the birthday bags for Nerina Gardens: this project celebrates the elders in Fish Hoek by delivering a birthday gift for each of the women on their birthdays.
Brenda sews a drawstring gift bag for each birthday and delivers all the presents at the beginning of each month.
“At the moment, we are only doing this for the ladies at Nerina Gardens. I hope to extend it to the gents as well, unless somebody else is keen to do that?”
She says Simon would beg to start planning his birthday the day after Christmas, and that his love of celebrating birthdays was something she wanted to share with her community’s elders.
“Your birthday is that one day which is unique to just you and everybody deserves to feel special,” Brenda says.
All of these are ways in which Brenda honours Simon’s life.
“In gratitude, this project will be a mission to spread love and kindness in our world. Together, in our unique ways, we can inspire each other and share the love that connects us all.”
For more information visit: www.brendawardall.com/simons-love/ or follow her on Facebook and Instagram @Simonsloveproject