I woke up this morning with a renewed sense of strength. Today is a day of hope and remembrance. Three years ago this morning I dropped my baby girl off with her babysitter. Three years ago today I had an impending sense of doom. There was blood in her diaper that morning. That along with her extremely golden skin, her orange eyes, the way she slept 20 hours a day...and the fact that she had been listed for a liver transplant for exactly 58 days were all indicators that my beautiful child was slowly fading away from me. Death was imminent if a liver was not found. I knew that morning that it needed to be found soon. As I waited for the babysitter at our normal stop I knew that "today would be the day". I remember having that thought in my head. However that thought was quickly overshadowed by the thought that today could also be the day that my baby would die. Grief, sorrow, and hope all wrapped into one feeling.
Two and a half hours after dropping Emma off with the babysitter the call came that would forever change our lives. The call that they had a liver for us. As the tears flowed down my face I said in a petrified voice, "I don't want her to die...I don't want her to die...I don't want her to die". I had been skiing with my class when the call came, and that walk down the mountain was the longest walk of my life. From that moment on I did not cry, but I had hope that this was what we needed. A sense of peace envoloped me, and I knew that everything was going to be OK.
I know for another family that their morning wakeup today was a different experience. Today is a day of remembrance for them also, but they no longer have the hope that their daughter will grow up and experience life. Three years ago today they were on vacation. I imagine that they woke up, went to breakfast, and knew that their daughter was healthy and having a wonderful time with her church youth group on her very first ski trip ever. She was in beautiful Colorado surrounded by beautiful snow, magical wonder, and marvelous trees. The trees that would ultimately be the cause of her untimely death. Her family woke up in Florida that morning knowing that Claire was in good hands. Hours after they woke up they also received a call that would forever change their lives. Their daughter had suffered a massive internal head injury upon hitting a tree while skiing. She was on life support, but it was not looking promising. I can only imagine her Mom walking to the car saying in a petrified voice, "I don't want her to die....I don't want her to die....I don't want her to die". Unfortunately Claire did die that day, and her parents will forever be in my heart and on my mind. A part of Claire lives on in Emma every single day.
I am so very thankful to Claire's family for making the choice to donate her organs. In their most profound time of grief they were able to make a decision to help 17 other people. They helped Claire to be a hero to so many that were in desperate need. My heart hurts for the feeling that her mother had when she woke up this morning. Today I will look at my beautiful girl and continue to be so thankful for every single day that I have with her. Life is the most precious gift that each of us is given. I need to remember to live each moment as if it is my last. I'm so grateful to still have Emma in my life. Thank you Angel Claire.