Sunday, November 11, 2012

Today was the day 11 years ago that we got a call...

That changed our lives forever. My son Gavin was sick. We will never know if he was born with Cardiomyopathy or if he caught a virus that caused his heart to be enlarged...but either way it was a grim outlook. He lost a lot of weight and things did not look good. I was told in October of 2001 that he would need a heart transplant. My baby, who had shrunk down to a 14lbs at six months old, would need a complete heart transplant! The medicines he was on were not helping. His heart was still the size of a 17 year old males. He was put on a Donor Transplant list. We waited only nine days, which is unheard of, most people wait years for an organ transplant. I still remember being on a date with Gavin’s dad and coming home to my best friend Ginger, who had been sitting at home in pins and needles waiting for us to get home, saying that we needed to call the hospital right away (this was before the days that everyone had cell phones) We called Vandy and Gavin’s' cardiologist said "We think we have a match, we need you to come down here!" I remember feeling so happy, so hopeful but yet still having a lump in my throat, knowing that somewhere some family was sitting bedside to a dying child. They were choosing to say goodbye. We will be forever grateful to this family as their heartache and loss gave us hope. They saved Gavin’s life. This is my letter to the donor family that i am sending this week. Only took me eleven years to finish it. Break out your tissues folks! And go hug everyone you love, you never know what could happen to you or them! Life is too precious!!

Dear Donor family,

It has taken me so long to write this letter. Every time I try to write a thank you card it overwhelms me, as a “thank you card” is so trivial compared to what you gave us. It’s difficult to put the emotions I have into words. Words cannot describe how I feel. It’s so much more than writing a thank you letter. It’s so much more than being grateful, so much more than being thankful. It’s not taking any moment for granted now because I know how close I came to being in a similar position as you. Being close so to losing him was heart wrenching (he was only 6 months old and we barely got to enjoy him) and then all of the sudden getting a new lease on his life. There have been many nights before the transplant (while waiting/hoping for his heart to get better) that I was worried my biggest fear of outliving my child would come true. I don’t know how you endured what you have, I only know that it was probably the hardest day, week, year. of your life. The fact that you chose to give my son and many others life through your child’s organs is something we could never repay. I am hoping you find some solace in the fact that you have helped many people. Every November I think about how happy I am that my son has lived to see another year, and then there is always that burst of sadness when I think about his anniversary of a second chance of life is your anniversary of a death. I am truly sorry for your loss. I could not imagine what you went through. I only hope that you can combine the memories you do have with thoughts of knowing that even in the midst of your pain and loss many people were given second chances. I know that on November 11th, 2001 when we were waiting to hear back whether or not your child’s heart was a match for my son, knowing that somewhere in TN a family was saying goodbye and choosing to end their child’s life to save a few more…it was so emotional. It was a mix of emotions, feeling guilty for being so happy but knowing somewhere you were going through a nightmare. I cannot explain how truly grateful we are to you. I am sorry it has taken us so long to correspond. Our lives have been forever changed by my sons needing a heart transplant. We have been blessed, tested and challenged but most of all speechless with hearts overflowing with gratitude. What do I say besides thank you? It just seems so trivial when you consider what you chose, gave my son LIFE. We are so grateful for every day Gavin gets to be with us, made possible by you deciding to donate your child’s organs. Thank you for giving me/us the past 11 years with my son. Thank you for giving him a healthy heart so that he could play flag football and a loving heart so that he would be the sweetest child I could imagine. Thank you for giving me time with my child who loves to come climb in my bed and snuggle, and read together. Thank you for giving him a loving heart that at age 11 he is not embarrassed to be seen hugging his mama. Thank you for giving me such special moments that we might not have had if the disease he had won. He has such a sweet disposition, he often is very concerned with others feelings. He loves movies, loves to read and he’s great at sports, his newest obsession is football!
I often wonder if he has some of the same character traits as your child. I would love to think he did. I want you to know that he is one of the sweetest kids I know, and I am not just biased because I am his mom,well maybe! But he has been such a blessing in my life. I know I am so blessed to spend every minute I get with him. I just wanted to finally let you know how we will always be and have been forever truly grateful. Please know that in the midst of heartbreak you did a wonderful, amazing, selfless act. One that cannot be matched, we will be forever indebted to you and your family. Thank you a million times over.

God bless you and make His face shine upon you. Love the family of Gavin.

One rare pic before the heart transplant!

A few days after!

During chemo...
He loves his mama!

Routine EKG!

Summer fun!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

We are all just a few weeks away....

I’ve seen her a few weeks in a row. Green tank top. Blue jeans. Black back pack. Blonde hair in a pony tail. Holding a cardboard sign. It says “ Living in my car. God Bless” I think. She stands at one of the busiest insections in Brentwood. I know each time I see her, I wish I had a few bucks in my wallet or at the very least a granola bar I could give her. Tonight she wasn’t there. At least not at the normal time. And then I saw her. At about 8:30. Same tank top, same back pack. I almost turned around the car. What would I say? What would I do? If I let her come to my house would she steal from me? The thought is sort of ridiculous, like how much pink 2 year old Dell laptops are worth on the street?. I wonder if she would just be so grateful for a soft place to lay her aching bones that the thought of being a thief never crossed her mind. The thought crossed my mind that maybe she’s a drug addict. Or maybe she just had a bad string of luck. Maybe she has no family. Or maybe she did. Maybe the family she has hit her or were so horrible that she decided she would be better off on her own. Better off sleeping in a car and free of bruises.

I couldn’t help but think that’s she’s maybe 24 at the most. She should be graduating college or hanging with friends or falling in love. She should be shopping or getting her nails done like most girls her age. She stands there with this look that we would all have on our face if we were begging for our next meal. We could easily be in her place. I know that before I would get a few months behind on rent I have family that would be able to spot me money. Or I could sell something before I got to the point where I was homeless. I know how hard it is to ask family or friends for help; I couldn’t imagine begging for my next dollar or meal standing on a street corner. Hoping the person at the light will stop surfing his phone and hand me a few dollars or at the very least smile at me without pity in his eyes. We could all be a few weeks away from sleeping in our car. Maybe it just comes out of nowhere before you even have time to think about where you are going to get your next meal. Or maybe it’s a slow descent and pride gets in the way. Regardless of how or why, here I am in my cool air conditioned house, belly full of a warm home cooked meal. Watching my favorite show… Where is she? Is she hiding in the bushes from cops? Or sleeping under an overpass to get some cool air that her car doesn’t provide? How does she keep from feeling hopeless? Digging through a dumpster hoping to find food without mold?

I was frustrated tonight because I went to go use some eggs that I had purchased this morning at Publix. And they were no where to be found; how does one lose eggs? I called the store and the check out boy accidentally left them on the counter. Frustrated, I went back and picked them up, they were more then generous and gave me the eggs and reimbursed me. I just wanted my eggs so I could cook my dinner. I couldn’t help but feel guilty wondering when was the last time she had a warm meal. Not one warm from sitting out in the sun either. How is she surviving? She lives on food from strangers? Or money that begging gives her? What if she doesn’t get any money begging? Does she go through trash cans and dumpsters? Think about how gross it is when you accidentally throw something away and you have to dig through the trashcan. It’s disgusting. But you can wash your hands and be ok. She might be going through dumpsters hoping to find her next bite of food, one without maggots. I couldn’t even begin imagine what she is going through. Driving home, I missed my exit not once, but twice being so lost in thought. Trying to figure out how I can help her and what to do. So I made her a care package, maybe she will be there tomorrow. Crackers, pretzels, peanuts, bottle water, socks, T-shirt, jacket, maybe a toothbrush. She looks about a size 6 if any of you have any clothes in that size. It’s the least we can do. She is someone’s daughter, somebody’s sister, someone’s cousin. She deserves food in her belly just like we have. Tonight, I am grateful for my home, gas in my car, food in my fridge and a soft bed to lay on. Let us not forget how grateful we should be.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers day lemon sugar scrubs!

Mothers day...what better day to show your mama you love her by making her a homemade sugar scrub?! Easy to make and so much fun, organic, makes your hands and skin soft, and smells amazing!  Thinking this is going to be my new favorite gift!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Great Valetine's Day Debate...

You either love it or you hate it...there is really no in between! It seems like most single people hate it and most people in relationships either like it or think its a silly holiday. One of my friends pointed out to me today that if you are in a relationship you should do sweet things for the person you love all the time. Not just when 15th century Corporate America makes up a holiday to make us spend lots of money. I agree to a point. I think flowers just because its Wednesday is a sweet sentiment. Or love notes for no reason other than love. In now day and age when marriages are falling apart left and right why not take a few moments out of your day to make a point to reaffirm your loved ones? It doesn't mean you have to spend all kinds of crazy money on giant teddy bears (ugh! the only one I want is the one below ha ha ha!) or dozens of roses...but you can make a point to write an old fashioned Valentine card and say I love you! As my dad would say "Actions speak louder than words" so why not do both, with your actions show your loved ones you care with your words! Who cares if you are not in a relationship? Give a card to your Mother, Son, Sister etc anyone you love! Or at least just let those of us who are in relationships enjoy the day and not make us feel guilty for having a Valentine...because we were all there at one point hating the "Single Awareness Day!"  Happy Valentine's Day y'all!

love is lame

Monday, January 30, 2012

What means the most...

As we get older I think most of us realize how short life is and how much the small things that really mean. I have decided to divulge a list of things that in case you men didn't know mean the most to us women! We learn in our lives that the short and sweet words and sweet actions mean more to us than you men could know. Most of us have dated or lived with or married men who are not as kind as all that to say we appreciate you and on behalf of women every where ( and My Facebook friends!)...

We love it when you do the manly stuff with the car, taking it to get an oil change, putting gas in it, checking the tires etc...We know we can do these (or pay someone too, but we love it when you do these for us) it solidifies that you want us to be safe in our car...p.s. (we also love it when maybe the roads are treacherous or we have a long drive and you check up on us to make sure we got where we were going!)

We love when you take the time out of your day to do something little for us like make us coffee in the morning, start our car, iron our clothes, make our lunches, cook our dinner. We know not all men do these things for their significant others and it truly makes us feel like we are the luckiest girls in the world!!

We love it when it's not just a first date and you are still holding the door open for us. We love it when you send us those sweet "Good Morning Beautiful!" text messages even when we may have just seen you. Especially when we are not feeling so beautiful.

We love it when you take us to our favorite restaurant even when it's not your favorite. We love the big things but mostly it's the little things that make our flowers just because its Wednesday (thanks Germs!) and hugs and kisses on our forehead just because. We love it when you do girly things like paint our toenails and cook for us just because you know how and know we love it…And when you say no to the bread basket because you know we can't say no either...Thank you for giving us a reason to brag!