August 16, 2014

Message in a Bottle

Post-transplant day #249. Message in a bottle.

Finally got my letter mailed. On a day that I remember my father, who died of lung disease like his father before him, I mailed a letter to the family that helped me avoid that same fate.

Though I wrote it on the 10th, I let it percolate in my mind a bit to see if there was anything critical missing, or maybe too much said, in this initial communique. I also needed to print out a couple of photos I wanted to send, and I wanted those prints to be good ones that will last and are suitable for framing, if my donor family wants to. (I have to say, that at 25¢ a pop for 4x6, it's cheaper to use CVS' photo-printing service than to print them myself. And they were ready in an hour. Beautiful prints!) I jotted some notes on the back, stuffed envelopes as directed by Carolina Donor Services and, with a quick wish to not get lost in the mail, dropped my letter into the post box.

This isn't just words and pictures I was sending. This was like throwing my heart into the wind, hoping it gets blown back to me. This could be the opener for a new, lifelong, and very unique relationship with a person or family I don't yet know, or it could be the sum total of our communication, if they choose not to respond. I can only wait and see.

But what kills me, what truly ties me up in fits of frustration and anger at the unfairness of it all, is that I'll never, ever, *ever* be able to thank my donor in person. That consciousness is gone for all eternity, and except for these few pounds of precious tissue inside my chest, he and I are but two ships that passed in the night.

Today, I am reminded that though my debts of gratitude are legion, the most important debt of all can never be repaid. I can only express my thanks by proxy, and volunteer to pay it forward, should I ever get that chance. Bless you my donor.