What is the best gift you have given to anyone?
Think about it. Think real hard. I’m not talking about the latest and greatest video game console… a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant… or even a fancy new car. I’m talking about something powerful, something that changes the recipients life. Something that once given, can not be taken back… something that has no actual “value” but more value than you can even imagine. Life.
Now, I’m a mom. I can honestly say that giving the gift of life to my son has been the most honorable and life changing gift I have ever given. I worked to keep him safe while I was pregnant, treated my body with respect and nurtured him for all 42 weeks on the inside. He was born healthy and strong and I consider that to be a pretty huge accomplishment.
I’m going to tell you a quick story and please don’t judge. Its not something I am very proud of, and maybe, if I had some more time to process or if the circumstances were different… I wouldn’t have made a different decision. I see now what a bad judgement call it was… Almost 17 years ago. My brother was killed in a car accident. You can read back through my older posts to read about the day. The morning, a complete blur. The feeling in my body, numb. I remember it like it was yesterday. Sitting… staring into the distance, not even for a second believing that this was really my life. Through all the people talking and shuffling through my parents house, the phone rings. It’s the hospital. They want to know if they can “have” Joshua’s retinas. He was not on the organ donor list. They needed our permission, my parents permission, to take them.
My parents discussed and came to me. They gave me the choice. They asked me what I thought. If it was ok. How I felt about them taking a part of Joshua. They wanted me to be a part of the decision. They wanted me to be ok with it. In my heart of hearts, I wish I made a different choice. I would have given the person in need, his retinas. A gift. A gift that would have been life changing for someone else. A completely unselfish gift that my brother would have given in a second for someone if he had the choice on his own. I said no. The thought of his body not being “whole” when I got to see him was too much for me to take at that moment. I was just processing that I was never going to see his eyes again… and I took that gift away from someone…
I think about this often. I understand it is in the past. I can not change the choice that I made. I am not upset that my parents asked me to be a part of the decision making process. I am glad that they respect me and valued what I thought without just excluding me in the process. Yes, I was young… all of the decisions I have made in my life have made the person I am today. Every minute of my life and every decision influences the next. I am now an organ donor.
Today I am reminded of this unselfish act of kindness… giving the gift of life to someone. Someone you have never met….
I am member of an on line community. A group of women who chat about “everything.” Seriously, everything. If I have a question about a new place to go eat… what I should do if my kid wont sleep at night… what the heck this “rash” is or even just a funny thing to share or accomplishment or event in life… I go there. I have met a few of these women in person. The board has been in existence since we split off of The Nest after we all planned our weddings together. It has grown and we have all watched each other buy houses… have kids… have more kids… graduate from school… get new jobs… struggle with losses, divorces and family issues. New people join, some people leave… but there is a pretty solid core.
One of my friends found out that another’s sister needed a kidney. This brave woman, never meeting the other in person… felt a strong calling to help, to give the most amazing gift to her friends sister. The gift of life. The gift of a second chance at living a ”normal” life. She was tested and found to be a match… and today, the day she gave a piece of herself to her sister… was the first time they “met.” She put her life on the line to save her friends sisters life. A friend she met on line… in a forum…
She is one of the bravest people I know. It sent chills all over my body when I heard that the surgery was a success. She was in recovery and the sister also, a few hours later… her new kidney is already working hard in its new body. They both have recovery ahead… but I cant even imagine giving someone else this gift.
Take a minute and think about what it would be like to have a piece of you inside someone else. Working, as it was inside of you... its amazing. To think that people are walking around with hearts, lungs, kidneys, livers… retinas… that were once in another humans body is just remarkable. Imagine, your loved ones heart, still beating just in a different body. It’s a gift that once given, can not be taken back… something that has no actual “value” but more value than you can even imagine. Life.