Thursday, July 3, 2008

A wish for words that work.

Falling, falling, falling. Looking deep into the past 11 years, still wondering why? Why they never answered my letters? Why they chose not to know how their selfless act breathed life back into a dying man? Why I can't have the opportunity to thank them myself, while others have enjoyed that privilege?

Did I ever write something wrong, or was their pain simply too deep? Five times I tried to reach out to them, and each time I was answered with silence. I am aware that I need to respect their decision, but it is still frustrating to not know something, to not be able to share my feelings about what they gave to myself, and the four others that received transplants from their child.

So much is unknown. Was this child living with parents? Grandparents? Uncles and aunts? What did he want to be? What caused him to lose his life in such a violent way?

My brain debates the wisdom of trying one more time, to reach out again. Will they even be able to be contacted after all this time? Are they still living in the same place? Do I even have the words that can persuade them to connect with me, when nothing has in the past?

Will it even matter to them after all this time?


Claudia said...

Send them this post along with a personal letter, indicating this is your last try........

Perhaps it is too painful, but one would think knowing others lived because of the sacrifice might ease some of the pain. Good luck with all that darling, I hope you too find some peace from the gesture.

PS - Have you see Return to Me? One of my favorite movies.

VioletSky said...

I can understand why this would eat away at you. It seems almost cruel that they ignore your letters. Especially when you have tried so often. Such niceties should at least be acknowledged.

Peter said...

I assume you're trying to reach the parents of a donor who basically saved a life.

Well, regardless the gratefulness you feel, it may be (like Claudia mentioned) that this part of their lives is still too painful to recall, or they managed to find closure and no longer wish to face what happened 11y ago.

In Belgium, every one is an organ donor by law, unless one objects specifically while still alive.

But I do understand how 'not knowing' can be disconcerting.

Anyway, enjoy the celebrations on the 4th. Dutch speaking Belgians celebrate July 11th (I blogged about it).

Mr. Nighttime said...

Peter - Indeed, it is the family of my donor that I was trying to reach. Aug. 1st will be the 11th anniversary of my liver transplant. Yes, Belgium is one of the countries that has "presumed consent," where everyone is presumed to be a donor unless they opt out. (Spain has that system too.) Most states here are the opposite, you need a signed donor card in order to be seen as a donor. Even then, they won't recover organs without family consent in most states, even though a signed donor card is a legal document. That has started to changed though in the past few years, and Pennsylvania led the way. There, if you have a signed donor card, they don't need family consent, as it is obeying the wishes of the person.

I am one of the rare cases of transplant recipient: I worked as a surgical coordinator on the organ recovery team my first year here in Rochester. I have seen both sides of the fence when it comes to transplantation.

Jay said...

I can understand why that hurts so much. I can also understand that the family may feel it's too painful to contact you, although simple courtesy would suggest a letter saying 'thank you, but please do not contact us again' might be polite.

Who knows what their reasons are. It may be that your letters have given them a lot of comfort, but they are still unable to respond for some reason. It could be that they never recieved them. Maybe they moved right away and started a new life to try to help themselves recover?

Anonymous said...

In the UK donors are anonymous. And I can understand why. I would find it too painful to receive letters of thanks, or even recrimination (does happen) based on the deceased decisions.

Mr. Nighttime said...

j - Donors and recipients are anonymous here as well, but letters can be exchanged through the organ procurement organizations. These are the agencies that coordinate organ donation and recovery, and are separate from the hospitals. (They make the determination as to who is a good candidate to be a donor, once a person has been declared brain dead, and consent has been obtained.)

It is only if both parties, recipient and donor family agree to meet that one is arranged. As I was an organ procurement coordinator for the agency here in Rochester, I can tell you that more and more donor families and recipients do choose to meet, and that for most, it is a very cathartic experience. (And a very good one.)

Like I posted, I don't blame my donor family for choosing not to write, as that is their right. It just gets a little frustrating at times.

gemmak said...

Difficult one...are they able to contact you if they choose?

Guyana-Gyal said...

I'm trying to imagine how I would feel, knowing that my loved one's liver / heart / body part 'lives' on in another. I guess for me, it's all about the soul being the important part of a person that's alive and the body is just well...the physical bit. But then, it's easy to say this not knowing how I would react in a situation like this.

I saw a movie where the woman was yearning to say thanks to the donor family, but the family didn't want to know.