Dear Mother of Wendy’s Kidney Donor.
Here we are. Year eight. Your son Dalton would be 22 if he still walked in this world. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him, or of you. Not a day that goes by that I don’t include you in my prayers of gratitude and the hope that your heart is healing, though I know it will never be healed completely. How could it be?
Last year, when I started this blog, I told you about how I remember the day of the transplant, how we honor your son, how we honor you. This year, I thought maybe I’d tell you about all of the things that Wendy has been able to do because of Dalton’s kidney. So, if you ever read this, I hope you’ll know that your child continues to live on in my child and together they are doing amazing things.
Dalton’s kidney has been to eight foreign countries: The United Kingdom, France, Italy, Aruba, Canada, Mexico, The Cayman Islands, and The Bahamas. It has been to twenty states. His kidney has been snorkeling in Key West and skiing in Aspen. It has been at the top of the Eiffel Tower. It has been in the Coliseum. It has been to Big Ben and Parliament.
Your son’s kidney has allowed Wendy to do amazing things physically. She runs track, swims, plays soccer, and skis. She runs triathlons and wins them. She recently went to the American Transplant games where she competed in track and field and swimming events, and won nine medals. And she is going to the World Transplant Games this summer in Malaga Spain, where she will be competing for Team USA against other transplant patients from around the world.
Because of your child’s kidney, Wendy has used her experience to help other kids with a guide to the Emergency Department for Massachusetts General Hospital. She won a national award for it, through the Patients’ View Institute, and when she got up to thank the organization for her award, she thanked you for your generosity in a moment of darkness.
Because of your child’s kidney, Wendy has been able to meet her sister. Together they have grown to love and torment each other as only sisters can do.
She has had eight more birthdays, eight more Christmases, eight more Easters. She has had sleepovers, and lost teeth, scraped knees, and even gotten lice in those eight years. She lives a very robust life.
This was all because you made a decision to donate your son’s organs, and I can’t thank you enough.
I do not know what you look like. I do not know your job, or your religion. I do not know the color of your skin. I don’t know if you are a Democrat or Republican, or maybe neither. If you and I bumped into each other in a a crowd, I wouldn’t know it. And yet, you have made such an impact on my daughter’s life, on my life, on the life of my family. You have made an impact with all of those kids who come into the hospital and see that video. You have made an impact with countless people, not just because of Wendy, but because of the other people you donated organs to. I wish I could tell you in person how much I appreciate your decision, your sacrifice.
Someday, I imagine we will meet and I will be able to tell you. Until then, I will continue to think of you, every day.