I am bowled over with emotion tonight. Writing this from a corporate meeting in Tremblant, Quebec, alone after an evening out with co-workers, suppliers and clients, I am overcome with a thousand feelings and aware, as ever, of how small a community I have to talk to about the thoughts surging through me. It reminds me how alone we are as living donors, and yet how the universe offers to connect us as we listen. I’m swimming in a jumble of gratitude, sorrow for the world, awe of human kindness, and love for my fellow donors.
On one hand, I’ve been thinking so much lately about Cristy, a woman I met online who attempted to donate a kidney but met with a tragic outcome — a removed organ that could not be transplanted because it “died” after extraction from her body. And therefore, a desperately excited and hopeful recipient and donor awoken wfrom anesthesia with the unexplainable news that no life-saving organ was inserted, a pair of forever joined souls struggling to understand what went wrong and why. And I’ve been thinking about how little support exists to help them, and what, if anything, I could do, and our foundation could do, to change the paradigm.
On the other hand, I made one of those indescribable connections tonight, when, out of the blue, one of the attendees at my work conference here in Quebec pulled me aside at dinner and whispered to me…. “I hear you are a living donor. I’m also one – I gave a kidney anonymously a couple of years ago.” I had spent hours talking to this person over the course of our convention here, about work and other topics completely unrelated to organs and transplantation, and it had never come up. We’d been in each other’s company for a couple of days with zero awareness of our connection. It was chance that this person had overheard someone else talking about my role as an organ donor, which led to them bringing it up to me. The donor never told anyone related to work and avoids publicizing it, so wants to keep it under wraps. But tonight, over a glass of wine at a blissfully private moment, they told me — the whole story about why they did it, how it went, and the impact it has had on their life. We both appreciated immediately how this connects us as humans on this massive planet, and by how well we can instantly understand our shared experiences before and after. I struggled not to lose my head, emotionally, until I was here, alone in my hotel room. We need, as donors, so desperately to connect to share these moments. Our gift comes to define us and fill our souls, no matter what the outcome of it, and yet there are so few who can understand it. These connections are so precious to me.
It’s late, and I worry this post will come across like silly blathering. But it’s honest — I’m seriously just overwhelmed right now by what it all means.
I’ve noticed with a lot of glee that my daily visitor count is increasing over time, so I know more people are finding this blog and checking it out. If you’re one of those new readers, and if you’re a living donor or somone impacted by one, I hope you’ll take a moment to let me know your’e here, either by email or by dropping a comment. It means so much to me that you are reading this blog.
And to Cristy and the donor I talked to tonight, you make the world go around for me. God bless you for being here, and for the gifts you have so freely given to the world at such a great price.