It has taken me a LONG time to reply to the letters we received in December from our organ recipients, but I have finally gotten them done. I sent letters out almost immediately after the accident because I wanted the recipients and their families to know where the organs came from. I wanted them to be able to say they came from Abrielle and she was almost 4 years old and loved preschool, playing outside and was going to be a big sister. I wanted them to know how much we loved our little girl. When we received the letters from the recipients, it was like a Christmas gift to us that Abby was living on and improving some one's life, but at the same time we were struggling to get through the holidays that I couldn't sit down and write letters. After that it just seemed as though the trial was keeping me from replying or I was using it as an excuse. The letters are somewhat difficult to write. There are rules we have to follow to keep everything anonymous that sometimes I'm not sure what to say so my letter won't be censored. We can only us first names, no last names, states, but no cities, cannot mention God or religion, the list goes on. I know this is to protect those who wish to remain anonymous, but we don't want to. We want to meet these special people, wrap our arms around them and tell them how happy we are that our little girl's death brought them life. We want to see the miracles. We want to show them pictures of Abrielle and see their family photos. We want to begin a lifelong friendship through this special bond. It's tough to convey these feeling in a letter to someone you aren't allowed to know yet without coming across as some sort of stalker that wants to invade their privacy or is trying to replace what has been taken from our life. Obviously that's not us, but what if they have no desire to meet us. What if they just want to thank us and go on about their lives. I think I would be so disappointed to find that out that I have not made an attempt to tell them we want them in our lives for fear of making them run for the hills. I did request the forms from Midwest Transplant, so maybe we will get there. I just hope they give us some sort of indication before we fill them out if the recipients feel the same as we do.
We have shared their letters with some of you and I would like to share a little bit of them here.
From the kidney recipient.....
".....It isn't often that the receiver of the kidney gets to tell the donating family thank you. From the bottom of our hearts and soul thank you. .... At times like this I would like to embrace you and your family with the brotherly love and hugs that can only begin to express the understanding of your loss and the most precious gift of life that followed."
We do not know her name, but hope to soon and would love to share that embrace someday.
From the liver recipient.....
"....Zane was born with biliary artesia and had his first surgery when he was 10 weeks old. ... Though his surgery went okay, his liver wouldn't allow him to gain weight through normal eating, so he was put on a feeding tube during the night. He was put on the liver transplant list in the summer of 2005 . He was only 8 months old at the time. He didn't learn to crawl until he was almost a year old and wasn't able to walk until he was 17 months old because he simply wasn't strong enough. Now his energy level and quality of life is 200% better. He is doing everything that an almost 3 year old should do and also things that he shouldn't be doing. .... He is so independent; wants to do everything by himself. .... Although we know that 'Thanks' will never be enough; we want you and your family to know that we will be forever grateful for such an unselfish gift. We truly believe that a part of your daughter lives in our son."
This letter brought us to tears when we received it. It was not just missing Abby tears, but also tears of happiness for this little boy. Our little girl gave this boy life. Her energy was passed on to little Zane and he can now be a normal little boy. The power of donation. Abby's Gift.