Ben's Bell Letterbox LbNA # 32286
|Owner||The Pink Ladies|
|Placed Date||Jun 25 2007|
|Location||Michael Perry Park, Tucson, AZ|
This is a new location for this letterbox. The box was taken and the stamp was left behind. Thanks to the Frasier 4 for finding it and returning it to us so we could replant it. What a kind act.
A couple years ago, I was training for a half-marathon when I ran across a beautiful wind chime hanging in a tree. It caught my eye and seemed a strange place to see something like that hanging. I approached and read the little tag attached. It said “You have found a Ben’s Bell. Take it home, hang it in your yard, and remember to spread kindness throughout world.” And that is just exactly what I did, and continue to do through this letterbox—by spreading the word.
So what’s the deal with Ben’s Bell?
March 29, 2002 started as a very normal day in the lives of Jeannette and Dean Packard. Their sons, Matthew – nearly 6 and Ben – nearly 3 – were home playing with a playmate. Ben had a cold and a bit of a croupy cough. His parents were not alarmed. Never did it enter their minds that Ben was seriously ill or that he could die. And then he did. It only took seconds for him to become unconscious after his airway swelled shut. Jeannette's efforts at rescue breathing and CPR were in vain as Ben's airway was completely closed. In those moments on the morning of Good Friday their lives changed forever.
The depth of pain they experienced was beyond description. Every parent's worst nightmare was their reality and they didn't know how they would possibly survive. More than anything they just wished they could die. Perhaps they would have died if not for Matthew. He was still alive and he needed his parents as he had never needed them before.
Slowly, they began incorporating coping strategies into their lives and came up with a design for Ben's Bells and started making them in their back yard studio with friends.
The therapeutic effect of working with clay was amazing as was the power of being surrounded by people talking and working toward a common goal. They decided to make hundreds of the Bells and distribute them randomly in the community to encourage the kindness that the Packards so depended on to get through each day. Since Ben's death, it has been the kindness of others, strangers and friends, that had helped them begin to heal. They wanted to find a way to pass on that kindness and to help others in the process.
On the first anniversary of his death, hundreds of Ben's Bells were distributed throughout Tucson, hung randomly in trees, on bike paths, and in parks with a written message to simply take one home and pass on the kindness.
The ripple effect that followed was wonderful and startling. Individuals finding the Bells had stories to tell - lots of them - about grief and healing and hope. The local newspaper printed the story - front page - next to fast breaking news of the recent war in Iraq. School groups and businesses and individuals began calling to see how they could get involved and in no time, hundreds and hundreds of Tucsonans were involved in crafting Ben's Bells.
Ben's Bells symbolize kindness and its power in healing. The Packards hope that they will touch others' lives and help to make our community a more gentle place to live.
To learn more, visit www.bensbells.org
This letterbox has been placed with the permission of Jeannette Packard in memory of her son Ben. To find the letterbox, head to Michael Perry Park in Southeast Tucson. Drive in the park's parking lot. Head to the black ashpalt walking path along the Pantano River walk, heading south. Walk along hte path until you reach the Esqustrian Entrance to the Wash. Walk Up the dirt hill to the left. Go to the second mesquite tree on uopir right. There is a large white bolder with small shrubs at the base between the tree and the boulder. Look under the rock on the NorthEast side.
Please keep your eyes open so you do not get caught by otehrs along the walking path. Also, please be sure to rehide the box well so that it is not found by non-boxers.
Take some time to enjoy the park and please remember to be kind.