I need a hero…and he’s gotta be larger than life.

Life is awesome.  Let me say that again, so that it can sink in for anyone who might have lost sight of what that means… Life. Is. Awesome.  I don’t mean that life is a party, full of excitement and fun every single day.  I don’t say that because I won a prize or scratched a winning lottery ticket recently.  I don’t say that because I just found my prince charming and everything is blooming roses and perfection.  I mean that having a life where you can wake up in the morning, walk across the room to take a warm shower, drive to your daily job and say good morning to your friends and family is a wonderful and privileged thing.   As I go about my daily business, exercising the mundane activities that make up my routine, it’s very easy to get used to, and take for granted the fact that I’ll be doing this tomorrow, too.  And the next day.  And the next week.

Before anyone starts thinking I popped some “happy” pills this morning, I have to share a huge moment that happened to me this week.  I received a letter from my donor’s family.  I was not expecting anything from them, nor was I expecting anything this soon!  I figured I would be the first one to reach out, and I was planning on waiting a year or so to allow them time to grieve the loss of their son.  However, they beat me to it, and before I could even begin reading the letter, I choked up.   Never once have I ever forgotten that in the light of my celebration, another family was hurting and mourning the exact same cause.  Every single day I think of the person who gave life to my kidney and the sacrifice of giving that up.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the fact that someone had to die to save my life.  It’s a very bittersweet thought, and it weighs on me heavily at times.  I know that I did nothing to cause his death, and I never hoped or prayed for that to happen.  However, he does not get to experience those mundane activities anymore and enjoy in those moments we take for granted.  Because of that, and so much more, I’m very thankful that he and his family made the decision to help others out with their donations knowing it could make a huge difference in someone else’s life.

The donor’s mom was very eloquent and optimistic.  She never had anything bad or even sad to say about the loss of her son.  She described him as a mama’s boy who was very healthy and positive.  He had big dreams in life and took care of himself and those around him  He became human to me, not just a concept, but an actual person with a personality and a life.  I cried the entire time I read it and still do every time I re-read it, or think about him.  It’s taken me an entire week to write this post because every time I do, I tear up and can’t finish.  My donor actually helped three people live a better life, and I am one of them.   (I don’t know which other organs were donated.)  I think about how difficult it was for this mom to not only allow the doctors to take those parts of her son away from her, but also to sit down and write to each of us who accepted them.  What amazes me is that she wrote the letter only weeks after his death, which shows a lot of compassion.  I plan on writing her back to share with her how much her son has helped me continue my dreams and how much he’s improved not only my quality of life, but the lives of my family as well!

To all donor families out there, I’d like to thank you for your incredible generosity and selflessness.   Thank you for sharing with us the person behind our miracle.  My mom would thank you for saving the life of her first born and friend for life.  My dad would like to thank you for saving his baby girl, and giving him the hope that so many dads have of being able to walk her down the aisle one day.  My sister thanks you for giving her back her biggest and best friend and partner in crime.  My friends and family thank you for allowing their loyal and true friend to be around for many years of amazing memories to come.  Your son not only helped one person continue to live, he effected the lives of many many people, and because of that, he will never be forgotten!  (Not only that, but I’ve placed my Kirby monkey doll in a very visible place to constantly remind me…hee).  Your son has become larger than his own life…and our hero.  🙂

Keep Calm Kirby

 ************

Things I’m thankful for today:

1.  My donor and his family.

2.  Life.  🙂  It’s good stuff!

 

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3 responses

  1. Sharon Metcalfe | Reply

    Hi Berta, As a mother, I too, would want to reach out to the person who received a part of my child. It is natural for the donor’s family to want to see that person & communicate their joy that their son lives on in you!:) I know that this whole transplant thing is joyous but yet causes you sadness too. It is a very complex matter that you must not feel guilty about! You & Kirby get a second chance on life! Live every moment to the fullest! I am so happy for you! Counseling will help you sort this out too! Love you! Sent from my iPhone
    >

  2. Very well said!
    I’ve heard nothing, nor have I had the courage to reach out. My mom and my sister have, but I haven’t. They heard nothing back.
    Love that you’ve kept this blog going!
    Regan
    Sent from my iPhone

    1. Thanks! And don’t fear reaching out to them. They want to know how it’s helped you as much as you want to know about your donor! It probably helps them feel better about their choice and also bring them closure. 🙂

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