Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 26 – A picture of something that means a lot to you

Donate Life Wrist Band

Everyone has moments they will never forget. Moments that many wish they could forget, but they are embedded in their brains begging to be released.

I've already spoken about my Papa. My fix-it man. The man who sprayed Corona all over a picture at a restaurant because his thumb wasn't on it properly. The man who had "bull dog" cheeks, my sister even called him her bulldog.

When my Dad called to tell me that we'd lost my grandpa, it was one of the worst moments of my life. I remember saying that I was going home that instant. I wanted my ticket switched, as impractical as it would have been. I remember going shopping that afternoon, because there wasn't anything to do in my Mom's new house. I remember talking to Dennis for hours on the phone sitting on my Mom's deck just crying. I remember getting on the plane to come home, crying the entire way from Atlanta to Houston and then Houston to Colorado Springs. I bought spaghetti at the Houston airport, but didn't even eat much of it.

The next few days were a blur, I called off work, spend the days with Dennis out of the house because greeting one more face and hearing, "I'm so sorry" one more time was going to make me hurl. I know those people were just expressing their feelings and as I look back I appreciate it, but then I wasn't in the right frame of mind. I just didn't want to think that Papa wasn't coming back. That I was going to get married, have children, and be a grown up without him there.

Sometime in the window after his death we were given bracelets from the Donate Life people. Neon green naturally a horrible color that clashes with just about everything a person wears, but we all put them on. We wore them with immense pride. My family chose to donate my grandfather's organs and tissues to those who desperately needed them. My neon green band was firmly placed around my ankle until the summer I was 9 months pregnant and the swelling started to cause the band to cut the circulation off my foot.

During the holiday season 2010, while we were in Germany my family received a letter from the tissue coordinator in Denver. 2 of the tissue recipients wrote letters to my family thanking us for helping them. Both recipients needed a tissue donation because of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Dear Donor Family,

I am writing to thank you for the kind and generous gift of tissue donation from your loved one. I am so sorry for your loss, but I want you to know that your decision to donate has changed my life in a very positive way.

I needed a tissue transplant because rheumatoid arthritis has destroyed my joints.

Since the tissue transplant, I have been able to continue my volunteer work at the senior center and also to continue doing my crafts.

For this, I am very grateful to you and your loved one. My family and I will always remember your act of kindness and generosity.

Thank you.

The second letter read:

Dear Donor Family,

I wanted to take this time to thank you for that very special person in your lives that wanted to help someone like me through the gift of tissue donation. I have rheumatoid arthritis and have had three major surgeries on my feet. The gift of your loved one brings renewed hope to me in a measure I cannot describe. I am still in the process of healing but I hold in my heart a new vision of walking. Every step I take will be in appreciation of your act of kindness and generosity.

God's richest blessings on your life.
As hard as it was to lose my grandfather, I am so thankful that he was able to help people during their times of need. And that is why I wear my neon green, Donate Life wristband with pride.

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