It seems appropriate to me to begin this post like this:
I don't know the kind of things about you that most people think define a person. Those first-date-basics bits of information like favorite book, where you grew up, what you do for a living, if you prefer cats or dogs (though I have a suspicion that you like both). What I know about you, however, is something that many people will never have the divine opportunity to learn about another person. The thing I know about you is something that can only be found in the most special sort of person and can only be found out by a small group of people in a very extreme situation. It is hidden, illusive, maybe not present at all in some. That thing is the ability to save a life.
You, dear donor, saved my life one year ago today. In fact, you have saved my life every day, for the last 365 days and for every day for the rest of this life that this humble heart beats. You said "Yes", first in sending in your swab to the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry, and then again when they called you and said you were a match. You said "Yes" when you got out of bed on this morning one year ago, made your way to the hospital, signed those consent forms and started anesthesia. You said "Yes" in a situation where many have said "No, thank you". This small word has made a world of difference. You have selflessly, thanklessly (for now) given hope, faith and love to a depth which cannot be described in words.
Your gift of life has given me another year on this beautiful earth, a gift that is nothing miraculous, glittering and awe-inspiring. You gave a gift of another year of loving marriage, of joyful friendship and of wonder at the miracle of this life. The things that your life-force has allowed me to experience in these last 365 days are nothing short of stunning. You have been with me in every moment in every breath. You are in my veins and so is my gratitude for your sacrifice.
To your parents, who raised a man who would give such a gift, I say thank you. To your friends and family, who stood with you in this choice, thank you. To whomever it was that inspired you to join the registry, thank you. So strange that such small words: "yes" and "thank you" can hold so much weight. I look forward to the moment when I can look into your face and say with all my soul, "Thank you". Maybe a small fraction of my passionate gratitude will show.
It is my prayer tonight, as it has been every night since transplant, that you are safe, happy, loved, healthy, surrounded by smiling faces and living a life that you love and fulfills you. I pray that you have had joy this last year, for you gave that to me. I pray that you will somehow know, through the universe, that the woman that you saved loves you.
Thank you, dear donor. Dear 36 year-old-male donor. When I asked my medical team one year ago where you are from, they told me that you are a resident of earth. It seems certain to me that you are bound to be a resident of heaven as well.
A very humble recipient
Deciding what to do to mark this day has been difficult, I am thankful, in fact, that Mother Nature made the choice for me to stay in. Celebrating seemed...inappropriate. I didn't do anything to deserve a celebration. My donor? My husband? My family? My friends? My community? My medical team? You, those reading this? THOSE are the ones deserving of a celebration.
Giving love and support is deserving of celebration, not laying in a hospital bed and following doctor's orders. Tonight, with tears streaming as they have been all day (and most of the week), I toast to my donor, husband, family, friends, community, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, medical professionals. Without them (you), I wouldn't be writing this. I owe my life to you. There are a thousand other words that I could write here about the deep emotions that are welling in me but I will leave it at this:
Thank you. Humblest, deepest, most radiant thanks. This year has been one of wonder. May you be safe and loved and know that you have made an enormous impact on this life.
Much love. Always