Four years ago, I served a family that had lost a young adolescent to a serious accident. His mother had recently lost her husband, the additional death of her young son, just three months later, was almost more than she could bare. Certainly more than anyone should have to bare.
As this young mother prepared to lay her son to rest, the hospital asked her to allow him to be an organ donor. She agreed, and her son’s heart was harvested and sent off to a recipient. For four years, this sweet mother has searched for the person who received her son’s heart. She has tried numerous avenues to locate the recipient without success. Late last night as the phone rang at the funeral home, the woman on the other end of the line asked me if I knew this dear mother.
I was excited for my client, now my friend. Over the years, we have discussed her efforts and desire to meet the heart recipient; suddenly it seemed as though her dream might be within reach. Her experience has been so heartbreaking. The deaths of her husband and her young son brought her near a place in life that none of us want to go. Her pain has been so deep, so intense, that I have often worried about her ability to endure. I told the woman on the line that I would notify my friend, and that I would give my friend her phone number. She was very worried that perhaps my friend had given up hope. She had just received two letters that my client had written and sent years ago. Due to privacy issues, my friend was not allowed to know who had received her young son’s heart, and so for these past four years, she has been searching without success.
My friend called me today. She spoke with the woman that called me late last night. This woman and her husband will be coming to Dallas at the end of the month for his four-year heart transplant check-up. On their way, they will swing over to East Texas to meet and thank the woman who gave life back to them, my dear friend.
My friend told me that when she meets the heart recipient, she will hug his neck. With tears in her voice, she told me how much she is looking forward to that hug - the hug that will allow her to hear and feel her son's heart beating once again. With tears in my voice, I asked her if I could be there too. She said yes.
It is not every day that death gives life, but four long years ago, the death of a young adolescent, gave life to a man in desperate need of a healthy heart.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and professional speaker. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.