In October of 2008 I wrote a post wondering about who my donor was. It seems I think about them nearly everyday. This past November I wrote a letter to my first donor family. I told them how I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Hypertension and how I ended up in the ICCU, and that I was put on life support (ECMO) before I received my organs.
I wrote saying how sorry I am for their loss, but thankful for life. I told them my pastimes and interests. I told them how I taught elementary and now work at the local university. It was a week before my birthday so I told them my age. I didn’t get into any specifics and tried to keep it neutral. It was hard writing a condolence/thankful letter – such an odd combination.
I gave my letter to my social worker and hoped for best. When I was in the hospital last week my social worker came into my room and gave me a letter from my donor family. I was so surprised – while I think of them often I had no expectation of a reply.
My donor’s name was Jamal. The letter didn’t say how old he was, but she (I assume it was his mom that wrote the letter) talked of him graduating high school a year early. He tutored his friends and had a 4.0 gpa. She also mentioned that he was taking college classes. If I remember correctly, Dr. Hoopes had told me that he was 23… it may be 21. I can’t remember specifically. In any case, he was so young. She also didn’t mention how he died.
She started the letter with “Dearest Susan, your letter was so comforting to my heart.” Isn’t that lovely?