Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G.K. Chesterton
How do I start this letter on the evening you gave my child a chance to live off of a machine? A chance for him to grow up?
For the years I have known you and you showed a genuine love for our family and in particular our struggles, I would have never guessed that you would have offered to make such a sacrifice. Never in any corner of my mind could I have guessed we would have found ourselves seeking a donor outside of our immediate family for a kidney for our first child in kidney failure. I never suspected our donor walked through the same church hallways as our family.
At times during this entire experience as we attended that church, our faith waned. It wasn’t always strong. Some days I went through the motions of walking in faith just to survive the day. I didn’t have any idea that our faith sat in the same pews we did and heard the same sermons and songs.
Who could have imagined that nine years ago, while I was 6 months pregnant with Gage, we would buy a pumpkin from that small corner church and set in motion the events of today? If that doesn’t show me G0d’s love and grace, I truly don’t know what would. If I can’t hang my beliefs on those events lining up in perfect timing for all of us being on a spiritual path to faith then really, what could?
I’ve always believed that our path to that special church which surrounded us with G0d’s love from the time we had a healthy baby, then a baby with an eye problem, then two children with a life-threatening disease into a life filled with uncertainty. The people in that church showed me what faith was; and I often felt it surrounding me when it didn’t live in my own heart. You have shown me. And our next donor in line showed me. I had proof! It was tangible.
What I hadn’t expected to feel was fear and joy at completely equal amounts at the same time. Today, I don’t know where my fear stops and the joy starts. But what I do know is that you are at the center of that joy.
And well, as your daughter pointed out it seems strange now that although we’re unrelated blood (technically, although that’s questionable since your blood lives in our son), we’re family in this new unexpected, unique and surprising way. We’re more like sisters and brothers and nieces and nephews. Becca said she wants to call me Aunt Julia. I’m honored.
Thank you seems so inadequate tonight as you are recovering, but I know you want nothing more from us than to help Gage live his best life. Thank you Jody for your gift. And thank you to your entire family for their support and love. I have a love so deep in my heart for you and your family it might burst at the sheer thought of your gift.
Since today has come and is almost gone, I’m coming to realize that my faith was with me all along…and it was you.
With my most sincere gratitude and admiration and love,
Julia, Gage’s Proud, Lucky Mom
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