“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.” – Robert Fulghum It’s best to continue reading this post if you’ve already read Part 1.
(Still) Embracing Hope At the end of Part 1 I was pondering the idea of ‘what’ else could I do with this (donor) experience. Surely it would come to me if I continued to embrace hope and hold on to faith. As my journey continued after donation day, I returned home first, as expected. Even though I knew my husband was in good hands and now had good kidney function, I felt that I needed to be there with him at the hospital as his advocate. It was the only way I could feel some sense of control, yet my job at that moment was to recover. I understood that the donor is typically in more pain and challenged with a longer recovery, however, I was most anxious for him to return home, recover and then begin to enjoy the rest of our lives together.
I expected that to be the case.
A few days later he returned home in great spirits. My sister and his brother along with some friends enjoyed that day and a sense of ‘normal’ had returned to our home. He continued to recover over the next few days and I decided to ease back into work. By the end of the week (about 10-days after the transplant surgery), his oldest brother and my sister went home and his other brother came over to stay with us for the weekend. They both had a great Saturday afternoon together and everything seemed perfect, especially as we discussed what time to leave for church the next morning. As the light turned into darkness he looked over to me and without a sound gestured I love you.
As the sun light began to show through our window that morning, he got up and walked out of our bedroom and that would be the last time. No more I love you’s, no more travel plans, no more songs or guitar playing.
The 14th to the 26th.
Broken Consumed in sorrow I couldn’t help but wonder how I would find peace let alone faith.
Faith was such a part of me. What was I supposed to do?
On that day hope was gone and faith was nowhere to be found. Mathew 5:4 – Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. And I was. My family. My friends. And time. Asking Why? In Part 1 I discussed asking ‘What’ instead of ‘Why’ as a more empowering question. ‘What’ can I do with this experience is what we reviewed, however, for Part 2 the big question is why. Why was I his donor if he wouldn’t survive? Surely survival was God’s plan. ‘Choose’ me as the donor and he survives and thrives. The questions were there and there would be no answers. No more asking why. Healing would take time and maybe someday the ‘why’ would be revealed. So the question became ‘what’ am I to do with this? I couldn’t and I still cannot forget this as there must be a lesson and a reason to share this with others. Finding Faith Finding Faith wasn’t easy. Disappointment and sorrow surrounded me and yet I continued to pray. I prayed for strength, courage and peace. As broken as I felt and as broken as I was, I prayed that I could be enough. I came to realize that perhaps my faith was never truly lost and that it was more about trust. I had to trust God about that which I didn’t understand and I didn’t know how I would do that. The Five Questions Who? The biggest of these – ‘who am I’ without him? Who am I in this new journey and will I transcend, accept and embrace this new ‘normal’ for my life? Who am I living for? What? ‘What’ impact will I have on others? What will I do next? What is my new life going to be like? ‘What’ am I living for? When? ‘When’ will things come together? And I had to fall apart numerous times to come back together in a new and unexpected way. It’s truly about staying in the present moment and that took time. I learned that the only thing I could be certain of was uncertainty and that would be okay. Why? I don’t ask why any longer, however, at first it had to do with why was I a match if it wasn’t going to be forever? The question became more about ‘what’ will I do with this experience to help others. That was one answer right there as my natural tendency is to help so the journey would continue with that in mind. Where? Where will I live? Where will this road lead? An Unwritten and Unfinished Life I use looking back as a way to move forward. How will I grow from this and what lessons will be revealed?
When I decided to write ‘Embracing Hope and Finding Faith‘ my intention was to do it in two parts and one day there will be a Part 3 – maybe close to Easter; a time for new beginnings. Perhaps I’ll review more of the journey including some vital lessons as my hope is to help others on their own journey. In memory Shortly after Tom passed away the song My Wish, by Rascal Flatts would come on all the time and I knew it was him. I knew then and know now that his wish was for me to live with love, joy, passion and peace.
He inspired me in many ways and still does due to the memory of a life lived with passion. As Wayne Dyer said, “don’t die with the music still in you,” and he didn’t. He shared his gifts with many and today, on the eighth anniversary of his passing I remember him with great love, respect and appreciation for a life well lived.
For those of you still wondering what could have happened…..Going into this we knew that his heart was weak and yet a kidney transplant was his only chance so we trusted the guidance and had faith. We lost him due to a myocardial infarction (heart attack). The Journey Continues.