Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Liver & Onions

Sometimes we all need a good cry. It can be such a relief when those tears start flowing and there's no way to control them. It's like a sprinkling of rain watering the garden of the spirit... even when it comes from a gloomy storm cloud. Don't know about you, but my spirit is always thirsty and takes it in - which proves to me that I'm alive. Of course, I'm not really fond of the uncontrollable sobbing that signals a deep break in the flow of that spirit. That's just painful, and in my book no pain means NO PAIN!

Last month I received a letter from my donor's family, albeit anonymously. We're able to contact each other through an intermediary and I'd thought about writing for months but had trouble finding the words. Most of you who know me would find that surprising, right? But what HASN'T been surprising about this past year? Anyway, when I opened that letter and started to read, the tears flowed like the Mississippi. I read over and over again before I was able to take in the information and process it. I had just found out my donor's name from her adult daughter.

Now it's always been clear to me that I was pretty damn fortunate to receive that liver when I did. Often I thought about how difficult that time had to have been for the family who lost their loved one. Now I was actually hearing about K from someone who loved her and missed her. And what a lovely woman she was. Somewhat older than me, full of life and love, still a daughter, and a mother, and a grandmother when she died rather suddenly. I'm reluctant to divulge more details than that, because this letter felt just about as personal as the act of making love.

K had indicated on her driver's license that she was an organ donor. This gave her family no doubt at all as to her intentions, which made their loss somewhat easier to bear. Her daughter tells me that in the first months after their loss, they were actually comforted to know that somewhere, someone was benefiting from their mother's gift. She also told me that when it recently came time to renew her license, she listed herself as an organ donor.

This has been a pretty intense couple of years, friends. No matter how well we think we know ourselves, there's always more to be revealed (sorry to lift a slogan - but it's proven true.) Despite my best intentions, blogging about my recovery has fallen far short of my own expectations. That's partly a good thing - I've been pretty busy living my new life.

Now I can laugh and joke and carry on more than I have in years, for real. In fact, some of you saw me in the hospital and know that I'm basically a big old ham who loves attention. Even during the most dire crisis I could crack a few jokes, right? Even when coming out of a coma... Q: "Do you know your name? What year is it? Who's the President?" A: "groan... it's still the Idiot, isn't it? But not for long!" Now you know that I know that there's a part of me that's still deeply wounded by this whole experience. And it's a little frightening for me to let myself be too vulnerable. I have no idea how long that healing process will take, but at least for today I'm in no particular hurry. And I don't have a snappy ending either, y'all.

peace to all,


Adam said...

Thank you for sharing that, Laura.

My favorite presenitally related hospital quip was when the doctor asked you if you want to recover in time to vote for McCain.


Laura Kennedy said...

haha! I don't remember that one. Thanks for reminding me.

Cecilia Hartman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cecilia Hartman said...


I was a friend of your sister, Kathy, and am a friend of your sister, Betsy. I'm glad to read that you are doing well.

Your comment about voting made me laugh and think of one of the many reasons I've been so fond of your sisters.

Kathy spoke of you often.

All of the best to you.

Ceil (formerly at Playhouse Square)

fatty liver said...


Have been searching for some time about responding to our donor's family as well. Your blog and especially this post has helped us tremendously. thank you!

Too funny...McCain?