What’s your favorite holiday? Easter? Halloween? Thanksgiving? Well for me – it’s Christmas. I love to decorate the house with hundreds of lights, fun knickknacks and put ornaments on the tree. It’s something I look forward to every year! And for most of my life, my sister was right by my side as we tried to outdo ourselves each year.
Our last Christmas together was in 2008. She died in a tragic fire in January of 2009. Every minute without her tore me apart. I never knew what emotion I would be dealing with at any given time—anger, depression, confusion, numbness, helplessness, rage, loneliness…the list goes on. Every minute seemed like a lifetime without her. I couldn’t imagine being happy again; how could I enjoy life without my sister?
What helped me get through each day was knowing that my sister was an organ donor. In a short time after her death, my family and I received a letter informing us she had saved three lives. There was no doubt in our minds that we wanted to meet the recipients—and in a short time, we were able to do just that. One of the recipients was an older lady with a lot of spunk and personality. We hit it off instantly! We invited her to come to our home and help us decorate for Christmas. I’ll be honest: I wasn’t feeling overly joyous about decorating since I didn’t have my sister by my side. But something amazing happened. The recipient brought laughter into our home. She brought genuine smiles upon our faces. She goofed around just like my sister would have done. I couldn’t help but be so grateful that my sister made the decision to be an organ donor. It was definitely a hard time to go through, but her unselfish decision of being an organ donor made it easier for all of us to cope with her death that Christmas.
- The Importance of Honoring the Anniversary
- Miss Indiana USA 2018 Advocates for Organ Donation to Save Mom’s Life