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Apologies, because I am not going to name the donor or the family, this is my first post.
With regard to should or shouldn't people connect, I think every persons situation is different.
I thought I would share our situation as it is positive one but it brings with it other issues. My husband was the recipient of a heart transplant.
Luckily for us, the donors mum tracked us down and she had needed a great deal of tenacity. We were the lucky ones, receiving the organ donation and have lived each day with gratitude. Plus, our lives are enriched by knowing the family: it is a massive bonus.
However, it has not all been a bed of roses, the young healthy donor died mindlessly, a concept that we as ordinary people found it hard to accept. Once you know you cannot un-know and guilt is the emotion and it feels so unfair, if there was any justice my husband should have been the donor but we have to accept we are the lucky ones.
Impending anniversaries are always difficult, what is a celebrational milestone for us, (11 good years this year), is preceded by the donor families grief. We wished we could erase all the grief in an instant but sadly, nobody can help and my heart goes out to anybody who loses someone. They are gone but never forgotten.
Plus we have concerns, luckily we can have these conversations with the family of the donor. These are again, the impact of failing health and the potential passing of my husband. Our families are entwined but so too will be the inevitable grieving process, as my husband is much older than the mother of the donor. How do we discuss this, deal with it when it arrives.
However, we do not focus on this, we have adventures and share stories as the two of them continue their journey, (donor and my husband). We focus on the fact it is a healthy beating heart and enables my husband to function. Plus, we see his niece and nephew grow big and strong, we share these moments, as and when we can. These are the real positives of transplantation.
Thank you for your faith. I too give credit for my being
here to God. Miracles do happen-all you need to do is ask!!!
D.J's Mom. Thank you so very much for replying to my comment. Unfortunately I don't know how to sew, but if I get a picture of Rey I will make a few copies and a transfer from it, and will find someone to make a pillow for me. I love this idea you suggested to me. A Rey to hug! I will let you know how things turn out.
When I read the stories posted on this site, I realize how petty and downright silly my problems are. I gave birth to two sons who were supposedly impossible to conceive. After his birth, one of those sons was supposedly never going to live to see his first birthday - he is now in his 30's with kids of his own. My D.J. made life so very vibrant and exciting - he was a total "nut case" (in a good way) who kept us laughing every single day. Like Rey, D.J. was only 24 the evening the drunk driver took him away from us. D.J. had been working his way through college, had just finally earned his teaching degree and had not yet told me about about his accomplishment. It was an overwheming surprise when his adviser presented me with his diploma at his funeral. It was yet one more gift D.J. left for us. When you consider the fact that I was supposedly never going to have kids in the first place, my life has been blessed beyond measure!
I was never told the addresses of D.J.'s recipients. Through information I was not supposed to be able to hear, it was suggested that one recipient lived in Texas and one lived in Indiana at the time of their transplants. If I put myself in their place, I guess I could also be at a loss for words if I thought about contacting the donors. It is so very difficult to know, both from the donor side and the recipient side just what to say or how often to attempt contact. We are complicated beings and there can be so much going on in each persons life at any given time. The only thing I know for certain is that something possibly good came from the loss of my sons' life. While that knowledge does not replace him, nor does it take away the pain of his loss, it DOES give hope in a way that I cannot find the words to explain. The transplants confirm that D.J., like every single person in this world, made a difference in the lives of other people.
Carole, I sent D.J.'s recipients a small photo of him with the letters, smiling his infectious grin and giving a thumb's up sign in the picture. If I were in your place, I would imagine that I too would want to see the face of the person who helped me gain a second chance at life. You ARE honoring Rey every day with your attitude and approach at life. It has been said that a parent who loses a child most fears that child will some day be forgotten. You remember Rey every single day, with every breath that you take. PLEASE know that you ARE helping Rey's family, truly helping them cope with his loss. While I can offer no answers to your dilemma, I send you my hopes that the answers find their way to your heart.
Do you sew?? My sister took the photo of D.J. that I mentioned earlier in this post, enlarged it and transferred it to fabric. She made it into a pillow for me to hug. That pillow has proved to be a treasured gift, as it gives me a way to hug D.J., even though he is not physically present. Such a pillow might even be a good gift for you to give yourself, so you can also hug Rey!
Dear D.J's Mom. I finally figured out how to paste the info I wanted you to see. It gives you a little insight into me and my transplant experience. I personally find it very hard to believe that any of us who have been blessed with the gift of life, would not be so very thankful and appreciative to their donor and family. My best guess would be that they just do not know how or what to write, and maybe they feel just saying thank you would not be sufficient. I think that the overwhelming majority of all of us in Transplant Friends would love to have been given permission and info on our donor's family. I know many have not been given that chance. I am one of the fortunate ones who have. I haven't heard anything back from them recently, but with 4.16. coming up in a few weeks, I will contact them in about a week. I will let them know how great I'm doing, enclose a few pictures, and ask if we can set up a date to meet. I will also tell them that any of Rey's siblings would like to meet that would be so special. I do have my own sort of dilemma at this time..I'm not quite sure if I should be trying to pursue our meeting any further, or if I should just back off. I never want to make them feel they are being pressured into meeting me. I will also ask them to send me a picture of Rey. I would dearly love to see the face of the boy who saved my life. My tears when I read your note was of sadness for you, I felt so bad that all you wanted was just a little acknowledgement that the people who received life from your precious son D.J. were doing okay, and I am so sorry that you haven't. Have you checked within the past couple years to see if the families were at the same address? I have never felt guilt about Rey dying. I have felt very badly for his family that he was taken from them at such a young age. And sometimes I feel sad if I start thinking deeply about things, like what Rey would be doing now, married?, children of his own? But the main thing I always try to do is live each day to the fullest, for myself,my family and in Rey's honor. Thank you again for the gift that you and D.J. gave 2 others. What beautiful person you are, and evidently D.J. took after you. Carole
Tuesday, September 19th, would have been the 24th birthday of Reynaldo Molina who blessed me with new lungs and a brand new life. Reynaldo was only 17 when he lost his life in a very tragic way. I have been able to experience the joy of being here for the birth of my 6th grandchild and can't wait for #7 to arrive the end of October. I have been in touch with his Mom and StepDad by phone for a while and we hope to be able to meet in person (my family and his) some time in the near future. There aren't words sufficient enough to ever express the gratitude and love for this beautiful, generous family and hope the day comes soon when I can meet and give them all the biggest hug ever. When talking to Rey's family I heard one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard in my life "We love you very much and you are part of our family" Can you imagine hearing something so wonderful from people who have given you so much already. Makes tears come to my eyes each time I think of this. I think of Rey and his family many times each day and give thanks every day for the etxraordinary gift I have been blessed with. Remembering all donors and their families. Especially..REYNALDO MOLINA September 19th,1988--April 16th, 2006 and his Mom, Rosa and Dad Luis.
D.J's mom, thank you for your kind words of encouragement. They have persuaded me that my constant self-flagellation must stop and I must now start to enjoy life to properly honour my donor and his/her gift. You have a beautiful and inspiring outlook on life, and you deserve the best from it.
Blessings to our Organ Donors and their loving Families.
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