A note to my organ donor.

Dear Organ Donor,

I want to call you something better.  I wonder if I wrote to your family if they would tell me your first name or the name you liked to be called?  I guess I won’t know until I write them.

I have been thinking about what to say to your family since I was on the way to the hospital that fateful day 11 September 2004.  Yes, I realize it is 2 August 2011.

Because your body is no longer alive I don’t want to cause any more sadness to your family by telling them about a bunch of great things since I received your gift (is that a good word to use?).  But I also don’t want them to feel even for a second that you died in vain.  I want them to know that you made a huge difference.  I want them to know that you are still making a huge difference.  I want them to know that I do my best to celebrate and honour your life EVERY DAY!  Your choice is one of the reasons I keep working to be a better person and communicator.

Years later, I still get excited every morning I awaken to pressure on my bladder because your kidney and my body are happy together!   Don’t tell anyone but I also get excited pretty much every time anyone has to pee!  Healthy kidney(s) equal awesomesauce!

I wonder about you too.  What made you laugh?  What did your laugh sound like?  Did it come from your toes boisterously?  Did you giggle?  What about?  What gave you joy?  What made you come alive and lit up your eyes with delight?  Do we share any of the same life dreams? What were you stubborn about?  Not that I ever behave stubbornly, no that would be silly! 😉  Did you remember to remind people that you loved them?  Did you hear when people reminded you that you’re loved?

What were people’s favourite stories about you?  What are your favourite stories about them?   It seems to me that our lives become the memories and effect that stick after we have gone.  From that moment and from life.   I do my best to add good to our stories.  It makes me ask, “did I do my best?”  Yes, for today.  Tomorrow my best can now be better.

Dear Organ Donor,
How is the best way to say thank you to your family?  My friend Don says that “thank you” is the best way to say thank you.  I suspect that is his polite way to say, “just send the letter Monique!  People need to know you are thankful!”  Apparently Don doesn’t believe in telepathy or ‘happy ripples’.  He makes a good point.


Preamble that became a post-amble or maybe this is a middle-amble?  No matter.  I received a successful cadaveric kidney transplant 11 September 2004.  Despite beginning to compose a thank you letter that day on the way to the hospital and having begun several (SEVERAL) letters to the Donor Family .. I have yet to send a letter to the transplant team so they can forward it on to the Donor Family.  I have been struggling with the fact that my donor (gifter) of this kidney is not alive.  In fact, they would have been declared deceased on the day of or day before I began my new life as a healthy kidney transplant recipient.  That has weighed heavily on my mind.  Only recently had it really registered in my brain that no one died FOR me.

  • A family discussed  organ donation.
  • After that discussion they chose to agree to organ/tissue donation if conditions to make that possible happened.
  • Something happened.
  • Conditions matched the conditions required to be able to donate organs/tissue.
  • I was one of the several matches.
  • Good/great ______________ has come. (I still get stuck on that part.)

I am not a scavenger.  I am a legacy lifer (live-er).  That person did not die in vain.  They weren’t discarded.  Their organs/tissue have given new lives.  Several of them.

Maybe that is a good way to say thank you?  The person is no longer physically alive but they are still making life a lot better for a lot of people.  Maybe even my Donor Families?*

Living a healthy life affects everyone that encounters a transplant recipient.

I am a recipient and I know several cadaveric recipients.  I gotta tell you .. in the past, sometimes feeling sick and tired all the time had not only made it easy to slip into a place of acting miserable (and angry and depressed) but the people that are experiencing the illness second hand don’t have any easier of a time.

To all organ donors and your loving ones.

Thank you for discussing organ and tissue donation.  Thank you for signing the form too.  Now take care of yourselves because personally I would rather we work together to be healthy.  Together and through our choices I believe we can prevent a lot of future need for organs and tissue.

You are loved.

Did you remember to laugh today?  Did you remember to find a way to remind your loved ones that they are indeed loved?  Did you remember to hear that you are loved?

Because you are.  Loved.

** I had a previous cadaveric transplant in 1990 that had failed.  I still think about that donor and his/her family too.
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