Today I went to an award ceremony run by The Order of St. John, to accept an award on James’ behalf: It was for organ donation.
I’m not going to lie, it was pretty masonic. I felt like I should possibly roll my trouser leg up. Some guy with lots of medals and a sword stood up and spoke, I zoned out a bit. It was a bit like the scene from ‘Never let me Go’ where all the clones, who don’t yet know they are clones are told that they have a really important job to do and they must sacrifice. The word ‘Gift’ was used more than a comfortable amount as was ‘sacrifice’ . I’m even sure the words- Exit via the gift shop- were used.
As I zoned out, I saw that to my right was an empty seat. I wondered what James would think of all of this.- I conjured. There then came a loud noice from the back of the room and the door opened loudly, as James rushed in late in an effort to, as always, not look as though he was late. He took the empty seat, said he was sorry he was late and leaned in and asked ‘What’d I miss?’ I told him they were giving out medals and so he asked what for. ‘For organ donation,…. baby you died’. He sat for a moment and hung his head, the spring had been taken from his step and when he looked up again he said’ I’m so, so sorry.’ As I walked out of that ceremony I saw that despite the fact that his surname is A, he was last on the list and I smiled, so typically late.
One of the things that has made this situation more bearable for me, is knowing that James was spared all these same things happening to him. Every time I hand in a death certificate to be treated with silence and not so much as a raised eyebrow or ‘I’m sorry’, (I now use the standard – “I’ll accept your condolences shall I?”) I think- thank God James is not having to do this for me, it would have finished him, of that I am sure. I remember so well when we were in hospital, having babies, he would pace back and forth across the room with his head in his hands when it all went belly up, literally grabbing and pulling at his hair. He couldn’t have done this.
I am now starting to try to find who carries his heart and all the other ‘Gifts’. I have often wondered if I have passed his heart beating in someone else’s chest? Have I sat beside it on the tube? Would I know? Would I turn to that person and say “Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name.” I hope to meet all those people whose lives he saved; that could be its own spin off blog. I have been informed that not all recipitiants like to meet the family of donors because they harbour some degree of guilt. What I now know about organ donation is there usually seems to have been some sort of tragedy involved in the attainment of organs. They don’t seek out the organs of sixty year olds for example nor would they accept any remotely affected by cancer so it has to be something quick, tragic and unexpected.
Ironically I was about to publish this post three hours earlier when I heard the familiar daily drop of letters downstairs, I usually leave them there but for some reason rushed to get them. On top was a very important one with – Strictly Private and Confidential- written on it. I knew what would be inside. First the attachment letter, then a red card with a picture of a love heart made of rose petals. A mother of a fifteen year old boy wrote to tell me how my husband’s heart beats in her son’s chest. It beats daily somewhere miles away. He lives. He waited for that heart for twelve long weeks. He waited while that heart was lying on the beach in Spain, banging in a chest filled with love. He waited and grew weaker while that heart swam in an ocean and throbbed even louder when it caught its first GT and thumped the waves with exhausted joy. He waited while that heart quickened at the sight of his wife arriving unexpectedly at a Christmas party, when she told him she was staying at home. He waited and now it’s his.
She finishes with “I am so very sorry for your loss but hope that my son will do his doner proud throughout his second chance at life. Thank you will never be enough for what you have done for my son”.
In ‘Never Let me Go’ one of the main characters says “Maybe none of us really understands what we’ve lived through or feel we’ve had enough time”. I didn’t get enough, I want more time, I can’t have it with James, I just can’t, but I’m glad that she can have it with her boy.