Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Letter

Yeah, you know the one. The one that I really, really need to write to the family of my organ donor.

I think about my donor a lot, but I've been thinking about him/her a lot more recently. So far, I haven't been able to bring myself to write the letter. Of course, I'm behind on this. All of the other transplant patients that I've talked to are able to do this relatively quickly. Frankly, I don't know what to say. The past couple of weeks, I've really been wondering how to even start it:

"Dear Friends," seems a little too non-chalant.

"To Whom it May Concern," is just a little too formal.

"Hello," just doesn't seem to fit right.

And that's just the first line! How in the world am I ever going to be able to express in words the gratitude that I feel?

I know what I want to tell them. I want to tell them that I've been praying for my donor and his/her family since March of 2004, even before I was technically placed on the transplant list. I want to tell them that the day I got the call to come to the hospital, I prayed for them (the family) almost all the way to Nashville from Kentucky (a 2 hour drive), and that right before they took me back to the operating room, all of my friends and family that were at the hospital prayed for them. I want to tell them that I will never be able to express my thanks for the gift that they have given me.

But from there, how much about myself do I disclose? Do they even care? Will they even read the letter? (Not that their reading it means too much, I need to do it whether they read it or not).

I try to think about what I would want to hear from the recipient if one of my loved ones was able to donate their organs, but I think I'm a little biased.

So, my question to you, my Cyber Friends, is this: what would you want to hear from me?


At 4:54 PM, Blogger Debi said...


First of all, I applaud you on your courage. Your blog site has been inspirational to me - and I know you inspire others.

To answer your question. I believe your donor family would be interested to know what some of your interests are, what your life is like (how their loved one's gift has contributed to your life's activities, interests, hobbies). It will solidify to them that their decision was the right one, knowing a part of their loved one is still living on.

I know this may be hard to hear, but you need to also anticipate the possibility that you may not ever hear from them. I know and understand that you'd like to have some sort of feedback (i.e. did they even read it) - who wouldn't - I sure would - but you have to keep in mind that this was most likely a very painful decision for them to make (to donate an organ from their dying loved one), and they're still mourning that loss. The gift they gave you was the gift of life - but it was at the high price of the life of their loved one. That's a gift that's unbelievably caring, selfless and compassionate. It was an incredible gift of love.

Maybe one day they'll try to make contact with you after they receive your letter, but please don't be discouraged if you don't hear anything for a while.

Congratulations on your new lease on life! I'm so happy for you and will remember you in my prayers.

May God continue to bless you!


At 10:11 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Don't hold back anything. Don'temper your words. Write what is on your heart. You know what you want to say; so, say it. It doesn't have to be eloquent or wordy or gramatically correct. The letter should reflect you.

My advice is to write it all down in one 30 minute session--leaving nothing out. This will be your rough draft. As such, you will be free to write whatever you please and in any order that thoughts come to you. Then, put the letter away for a day or so, and come back to it to get what you want to say out of it.

As long as it is genuine, the message will get through. Don't worry about getting it all right. It is a thank you letter; so just say thanks, and the family will understand.

Just some thoughts.

Matt Ward

At 6:52 AM, Blogger Tony Arnold said...

Pray and let the Lord lead your heart. Also trust that He has already done so. Follow it.


At 8:23 AM, Blogger Jana said...

Well, now that I'm crying...

I like Matt's advice. But I also think that the paragraph in the middle of this post that begins with "I know what I want to tell them..." says it all.

At 8:31 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

Thanks, everyone.

ddg, Welcome to my blog! I think I have already come to the conclusion that I may never hear back from the family. That's okay. This is something that I need to do for me, too. :o)

Matt, Thanks for you advice. I think I'll try that one night when things are quiet.

Tony, Thank you. That is something that I'm still working on: trusting Him.

Jana, I didn't mean to make you cry! And I think you're right. I think I've already written part of the letter in this post. :o)

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Tony Arnold said...

Amanda, Matt's method and Jana's observation I think are dead on.

After I posted this morning, I came back and read the blog again trying to put myself in the donor family's shoes.

I think I would want the letter. It might bring meaning to their loss that wouldn't exist otherwise. And they won't know that unless they hear from you. It would seem to be some comfort to them from my perspective.



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