So I got an email the other day from my transplant coordinator about writing a letter to my donor’s family. This is something they tell you from day one that you have the option of doing when your one-year anniversary of the transplant is approaching. It’s crazy to think that it’s almost been a year…that last year this time I had just entered UTMB hospital and had no idea what was about to happen. I thought I was fine. Heh, “I thought I was fine” …that phrase never follows anything good.
My coordinator sent me a “sample letter” to help base mine off of. It begins with thanking the family for my “gift of life” and saying you are “sorry for the loss of your loved one.” I know a letter is a start, but it seems so very insignificant of a gesture to represent what truly happened this year. My one-year transplant anniversary is their one-year anniversary of the loss of their loved one. My extra year of life was their first year without their loved one. The first birthday without them, the first holidays without them. And that is something I can relate to since mom’s death was the year prior to my transplant and it was only 17 days apart from her death anniversary.
What to say, what to say…
What would you say if you had to thank someone specifically for granting you an extra year of life and you had to defend your actions/choices for this year and account for what you had done with that year. Seems very “parable-esque”. I feel like I should have done more this year. I know that I should be aware that some families would not be too happy about losing their loved one to help an addict, who put themselves in the situation to need a liver in the first place. It’s a lot of pressure if you think about it. From here on out, I’m alive specifically because someone died (again very Christian metaphorical I’m aware). Most people don’t naturally think that way. They think of it as “I’m here because someone created me and gave birth to me and raised me” …not died.
As some of you might not know I was adopted. My mother was a teenager who gave birth to me at the Methodist Mission Home in San Antonio and then a few days later was killed in a car accident according to the records I was allowed to look at by the lovely State of Texas. My entire existence has hinged on people being in the right place at the right time and having something life changing happen. My birth mother gave me up then died…either way she never would have raised me. My parents were at the right place at the right time to adopt me, raise me and allow me to meet all you wonderful people. Then this…someone else left this world so I can continue to be here, exactly where I am. No idea what God is thinking because I’m definitely not that important lol…
So back to my letter. What to write…what to say…what would you say to defend your actions and choices this year as a flawed human?
(P.S. The picture up top is of a bench at the Transplant Outpatient Clinic at Methodist that we all have to go to twice a week. The tiles are painted by donor families and recipients courtesy of Nora’s Home – http://www.norashome.org/)