Its been 7 months since Patrick's been gone. In some ways it seems like only yesterday and in others it seems like years ago.
I miss him so much. So many times I've found myself getting ready to call him. Some days it feels like he's just in the hospital while the kids and I are hanging out at home, like so many times before. Then reality sets in and comes rushing back and punches me in the gut. Then the whole in my chest opens up again and is there for days afterward.
I grieve for Patrick all day everyday, but I've also realized that I'm grieving for someone, no for people, I've never met.
His donor. And their family.
Who was his donor? What kind of person was he? What's family like? Where are they from?
These are questions that have been with me since we got the call they had a new heart for him.
Patrick and I talked so many times about what we would say to his donor's family. We talked about it even before he was listed for transplant. How we'd thank them. How we'd hope they'd become part of our family.
These people made the ultimate decision to donate their loved one's organs. I'll forever be grateful for their decision, and they will always have a special place in my heart.
I do know I may never get to meet them. Working with Donate Life, I have met many donor families, and some want to meet the recipient's family even if they still pass away, and some want to remain clueless to their loved one's organ not making it.
I can understand and respect that. I have tried to play that scenario in my head, but its one of those things, you really don't know until you're in that position.
So I do know I may never get to meet them and thank them for what they gave Patrick. A transplant was his only fighting chance at a new life. His only chance to maybe one day live with a "healthy" heart.
Even so, I hurt for them. Their loved one had one amazing heart. A heart that put up with so much after transplant. A heart that went above and beyond what it should have, and still came out looking almost perfect.
I am grieving for Patrick, and I grieve for his donor and their family.
Am I nuts? Maybe, but I feel in love with these people on March 5, 2012. The minute that phone call came in, these people became part of my family.