Saturday, February 19, 2011

An Extraordinary Gift.

Earlier this week - on Valentine's Day, actually - I received a surprise gift from Casey in Atlanta.  A beautiful handmade scarf! She had no idea I love scarves and having one done by her just made my day! I have already placed it with my others in the closet - hers is the dark purple on the far right. Beautiful!

In her note, she said her boyfriend's mother (a friend of mine) mailed my column in our local magazine/newspaper to them every month.  I couldn't believe it! Wow. It definitely meant a lot to me, that his parents' thought enough of my articles to send them to GA every month. 

So that got me thinking that I had promised to share my most recent article with you at a later date.  Today is that day! Please understand it was a difficult column to write, and although it's long, please read to the end if you start it. Many thanks.

An Extraordinary Gift

Recent events have brought back memories of my friends, Donna and Daryl, coming to our house on Monday nights for dinner and games. We played everything - poker, Candy Land, Trivial Pursuit, spades - any kind of game we could get our hands on.  And we celebrated everything with a party.  We had princess, pirate, Transformer, and army birthday parties.  We carved pumpkins at Halloween, built gingerbread houses at Christmas, and decorated plates for no other reason than because I wanted us to do it. We enjoyed everything we tried. We were celebrating life. We just didn't think about it in those terms.

In May 2009, life was completely changed in the snap of a finger. With one phone call, we were all rushing to the hospital for Daryl.  I drove from Clover to Spartanburg as fast as I could, but by the time I got there, Daryl was already gone.  Of course, everyone was in shock. At 33, my best friend was now a widow. My good friend was gone - a husband, brother, son, uncle and friend. Life would never be the same.

Not long after we got back to Donna's house from the hospital, a phone call came in from a group asking to speak to Donna about organ and tissue donation. Holy cow, I was ticked. Here is someone who has just lost her husband in a very unexpected manner, and these people are upsetting her even more! Yeah, I understand the logistics of time and what they were doing, but I didn't care (then). It was a very hard decision that had to be made immediately, and it just made the reality of Daryl's death a little too real at that moment.  Donna thought on it, asked a few questions (like if they could still have an open casket - yes, they could), and she said, "Yes. Yes, I agree to let my husband be an organ and tissue donor."

 I can't imagine her strength at that moment in time.  Even though she knew her life was changed forever, she was able to see a bigger picture and see the good that could come from this one very selfless act.

Fast forward about a year and a half. Donna called me to share a note she'd received from the donor organization (she had to agree to receive this letter).  A little 13-year-old girl somewhere in South Carolina expressed her sympathy at the lost of someone Donna loved, but thanked her for changing her life. Her note was so heartfelt, telling how she can now run and jump and just be a kid - something she was unable to do until she received tissue from a donor. From Daryl.

I tell you, that letter tore me up. It's tearing me up just telling you about it.  Because Donna, despite her incredible grief, could see the good in donation, this sweet girl will have a life that wasn't possible before.  This little girl is celebrating her new life and her new abilities.

 It helps knowing that something good came from something so sad. Donna said she and Daryl had never discussed organ and tissue donation. She wasn't sure he would have agreed. But if he could have seen a letter from someone as sweet as that 13-year-old girl, I know he would have said, "Yes."

Did you know that eight lives can be saved and up to 50 people's lives improved with one person's organ and tissue donation? I'm encouraging you today not to live in fear of the myths surrounding organ and tissue donation. Don't believe the crazy, negative hype that in your heart you know isn't true. Learn the truth.

Every effort is made to save your life. Yes, your family can have an open casket. There is no cost to the family. Although your family cannot reverse your decision to donate, it's only if you're registered as a donor that this matters.  If you aren't registered, your family might no know your wishes. 

As I spoke to Donna before writing this, she asked that I end it with this.  Go to the DMV right now and get that heart put on your driver's license or visit to learn more about donation or to join the online registry.

Make something good happen from something sad and give someone else a life. 


Friends, there was only one Daryl and he is greatly missed. Love your people now while they are here with you! Celebrate everything in life and take a million pictures along the way. :) 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting. I read all comments and try to respond - by email if you aren't a "no comment" blogger! (Check your settings!) I love feedback so feel free to drop me a line anytime. Thanks!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...