Friday, January 18, 2013

Upon a heart

I'm usually the one with my nose in a book. In fact, I had a book with me yesterday and was quite ready to stick my nose in it when I eyed a woman with a Thirty-one bag.

"Thirty-one," I said. "I have some of those too."

Our conversation took off from there, cheery and fine. I ended up getting her name and a recommendation for a dentist.

Later on, another woman's cheery face was in mine. Several of us were talking about life and second chances and the opportunity for change in the face of great struggle--the hope of numbering days. She stayed behind longer, and I wondered why. I looked closer at her smiling face and saw that her eyes were watery.

"Are you ok?" I asked. "You look like you want to cry."

And she told me the story. The woman she had just met had had a heart transplant. The heart donated by a young twenty-something who had an aneurism. How this woman with a new heart had wanted to contact the donor's family to say thanks, but that the idea was difficult, if not awkward. However, in time, the donor family contacted her--this recipient of their daughter's heart. They arranged a meeting, and the first thing the mother did was place her hand upon the woman's chest to feel her daughter's heart beating.

That's when I cried too. Thinking of my own children, whose hearts I've felt beating within their chests, listened to its whispers in a cuddle, and imagining that life-organ giving life to someone else.

"The recipient received a birthday card in September," she went on to say, "but her birthday wasn't in September--it was the daughter's birthday."

This woman hugged me goodbye, sending me off with happy new year wishes.

I cried the drive home, thankful I hadn't stuck my nose in a book that day.

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