Dave heart recipient (2010 ) & Bobby Woods heart donor(1997)RIP
Treasures of the heart!
Journal posted on August 30, 2016
My recent picture is my kids dad with his heart donor, Bobby Woods (19) who died from being hit in the back of his head during a game of paint ball causing an aneurism to burst on September 25, 1997!
Dave and I shared a 35 year friendship, raising 8 kids and blessed with 18 grandkids!
I learned much from this event not knowing I would relive a less event almost 2 decades later!
Much of those memories are front and center at this time.
Unlike many of those receiving the gift of life, God blessed our family and the donors family to meet but it was not easily made.
As it happens, ROB does not allow families to know one another but Bobby's mother & father would not give up the quest to find us! They called, sent letters and stomped their feet so ROB contacted us asking we drop off a card of thanks put into simple words with no personal information. Are you freaking kidding me?? Who could ever do that! There's no words on the planet to thank someone for giving you life! Dave was ate up with guilt from day one knowing a young man lost his life to give him life and you're asking him to basically say thank you and walk away? You're out of your mind!!
I told Dave to phone ROB and ask with such a simple thank you, could we at least send them a poem which they agreed to as long as it was in its package.
I found the beautiful "Treasured Hearts" poem and took it home. We bought a card and had all the grandkids cover the inside with their tiny hand prints along with first names and dates of birth
I spent hours thinking of our next move and as a mother wondering what words would be comforting to another mother in the loss of her only son.
Believe this or not, a voice came out of nowhere and said, " you need to steam that package off and place a letter inside the back of the frame!"
I jumped up from the counter and began praying so hard this was going to work! I was shaking badly thinking I was going to mess it up and they would not even get the beautiful poem!
I was so happy as the plastic seal slowly opened!
Let me tell you! I wrote a 10 page letter (20 front &aback) and put 15 photos of Dave's heart transplant, his life and family and sealed it up! It was Christmas time so I wrapped in gold with a big red ribbon!
Praying as I dropped it off they would not investigate!
3 weeks later, one week before Christmas we received a card, looking at the name and address I had no clue and it didn't cross my mind it was the family of our donor because we thought it would be at least a month before ROB told us the family had received our card!
As I opened it, a picture fell to the floor, not knowing who was in the picture I hurried to read the enclosed card and letter; the donors! Tears of joy! They got my letter & pictures with all our information to contact us! Thank you so much God!!
As I read Dorothy's letter I was blinded by tears that just would not stop! Can't even count how many times I had to read it before I was able to clearly read her words!
She wrote and said when they received the card and poem their entire family came to open it! They were all crying and believe me, we know they did! She said once everyone left, you sat the card and poem on her piano gazing at it but saddened she still did not have closer, the name of the man carrying her only sons heart. She said she picked up the card admiring the tiny little hand prints thinking, someone with all the love and thought into that card would not find away to slip a name and number and dropped the card, immediately picked the poem up and removed the back of the frame! Of course it was jammed packed and she said the letter and pictures flew everywhere! She started screaming to her husband, Steve!!! We have a touch down!!! Their Christmas wish just came true!
Well, it became front page news in their town and ROB, well let's just say they were in shock someone out witted their rules!
Dave was happy but still quilt ridden which I'm guessing is common among those who receive such a gift it took him a very long time to just talk to them through my letters. Although Dorothy and I became quick phone friends, Dave could not speak as he was so grateful he felt no words would be enough.
Then came March 26, 2010 Dave was given 2-4 months to live, heart medicines caused cancer in his left lung. I knew his donors family wanted to meet him face to face for their own closer. Saves birthday was April 25, 2010 turning 59 so once again how to gets some wits about me. Hummm, immediate family for a surprise birthday party and 2 special guests should be witty enough, and it was! Survivor only thinks they can master a blindside !
As Dave walked up into the pavilion, no introductions necessary as Dorothy walked over to him and gently laid her hand upon his heart, her husband, Steve followed embracing them both!
It was like they knew one another all their lives! As they hugged our youngest son they said he reminded them of their Bobby!
I believe in my heart that donors and recipients should have a choice to meet and to have closer as all of us did!
Although this is about valves, not transplants, a heart is a heart no matter what ails it and I certainly appreciate each who have taken time to read this story of the heart and from the heart!
I would love to share the news clipping and if anyone would like to I will look online for it as my copy is in NC.
Dave sadly passed June 7, 2010 but was a trooper who really did make his recovery look like a walk in the park! God bless everyone! It is my hope sharing this will strengthen each of you!
Thanks again for your kindness and support!
Tomorrow is decision day, however my MD phoned yesterday giving me heads up that my tests were not looking good; to say the least I had my blood pressure over the roof!
We are very diverse but unique humans going through life doing the best we can. Life in general does not skip over one life without touching another in someway. Happy, sad, good or bad we each are touched.
It's been very difficult for me to explain to those surrounding me exactly how this unfortunate event has changed my life. I can only say that I pray each day to have strength to get through the day. When I lay down each night, I thank our Lord, (for those who believe) for all the blessings he has given me and when I open my eyes, I thank him for one more day.
I do not fear death but I do fear the work ahead as I barely make it through each day energy wise. My surgeon says I will have so much energy I will have to tie myself down; I pray he's right!
I keep everyone at a distance simply to prepare them for the "what if" factor.
God is so great and I'm not a blazing bible thumper by any means; the Lord told me I was born a sinner and that's exactly what I do best but I try not to.
Living up in the mountains with only the wild, I only saw people when I came down unless the park rangers came by. For me to be found so ill and taken 800 miles back to my home town for treatment is definitely by a higher power telling me he has found favor in me and I will be fine.
I am tired of waiting, I am fearing (only because I'm so weak now) the recovery because it's been over a year now that I've not been able to cook, clean or do laundry for myself which hampers thoughts of having energy.
I found this site and credit each who share a blessing because I thought I was prepared only to find it's much more than a walk in the park!
September 25, 1997 my kids dad had a heart transplant which you would think I would be educated in the struggle but, not even I knew his struggle within himself which is where I'm caught up; how to get that inner emotion under control. He lived a wonderful life for 13 years! So his courage and strength bounds me but I'm so weak that it's like a million pounds on my back. I remind myself he went through so much more than I and to ignore his courageous fight would be selfish so I'm trying!
Today it's storming and the thunder is loud and proud as I sit here reading stories that have now become my umbrella of hope. Thank you!
Hi everyone! I'm anxious to have some insight as well as new friends who respect the journey! This is a picture taken two months before my ordeal began, I see many changes as each day health issues slowly change my mirror.