Feeling Blessed for the Gift of Life From a Total Stranger

by Nov 20, 2017Blissed Out

In the yoga classes I teach, we often focus on moments of gratitude and appreciation. Here is one that is a constant in my life – and one that has colored my outlook forever.

Eight years ago, organ donation saved my husband’s life and allowed our cherished family unit to stay intact. Mark suffered from Polycystic Kidney and Liver disease (PKD and PLD).  His mother died of this hereditary disease before I met him.

We live in Charlotte, NC, but Mark ended up at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida to receive his life saving double transplant. As a teenager, I once watched a program about the life-saving blessing of organ donation.  I was deeply moved.  The moment I got my driver’s license I selected organ donor, never dreaming this would be such a huge issue in my life years later.

After many months of dialysis in Charlotte, we sought the help of Mayo Clinic.  Thankfully, Mark was accepted as a patient.  On our ten-year anniversary, we loaded up the car and moved him to Jacksonville, Florida, where he would live with a dear friend, Frank, awaiting the lifesaving call.

It was a sad journey back to Charlotte for me and our then seven-year-old son and three-year-old daughter.  Time seemed to stand still.  Life still went on though and the support and prayers of family and friends was bountiful.

The wait was difficult.  One day, I realized that I was waiting for someone (male or female, adult, loved one, child, sibling, aunt/uncle, BFF or neighbor) to pass away so my husband could live.  Yikes!   How uncomfortable is that?  Seriously, is this what my life had come to?

I then realized we were approaching the holidays and that would mean that someone would never enjoy another Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, etc, which made things even worse

Thankfully, there was a match.

On November 19th at 1:30am, Mark’s 11-hour life-saving surgery began.  It is now eight years later, and my husband works full time, exercises, thinks healthier thoughts and thrives like never before, thanks to a life-changing gift from a forty-year-old woman we never met.  We don’t know her name or anything about her.  Hopefully one day I can thank her family in person.

While in the parking lot of Mayo Clinic, trying to muster up the energy to go back into the hospital to be with my husband, I said a little prayer.  Upon finishing, I saw a bumper sticker: “Don’t take your organs to heaven, heaven knows we need them here.”  This brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes.

Today, I wish to thank each of you, organ donors, for signing up for such a wonderful way to give life.  I also want to thank family members for donating your loved one’s organs to complete strangers.  May you rejoice in the gift of life your loved one paid forward.  I realize this a personal decision and should not be taken lightly.  Simply, I wanted to take a moment and share from a place of gratitude.

What are you feeling grateful for today?

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