It's funny how a day can hit you and you realize where you were years back.....for me today is just another day, but in April of 2008 I was spending much time driving back and forth to Indy helping out with my dad.
You see, my dad was my hero....those of you that knew my life situation would question "WHY" would your dad be your hero. My dad worked three jobs my entire childhood...so that he could fund his alcoholism...yes it's sad but true. He was the hardest working man I have ever known. Through illnessess and drunkeness he always worked.
He had his first heart attack at age 34 and so began a lifetime of one episode after another. So in 2008 he was at a fork in the road and given 2 options: he could continue how he had been living and die very soon because of only 5% heart function....or he could go through the steps (which included AA and MAJOR life changes) and after proving himself, then and only then would he be put on a heart transplant list.
What takes many years to accomplish only took my dad less than 6 months. In his normal "go through life full throttle" mode he got it done!
So when the day came to be put on the list we all held our breath. Someone was going to have to lose their life, someone was going to have make a decision to say yes we will save someone, and in the end a family had to make that decision...but they did.
My dad received the heart of a 19 year old boy, who had been at a party...gotten drunk....jumped into a pool...too shallow and he was pronounced brain dead. That boy had not consented to be a donor, so while we were at our fork in the road...so was this heartbroken family.
My dad was only on the list less than 72 hours. That is not normal. Emotionally we were not prepared for the journey that was about to begin. But in true fashion, with strength and hope it began.
Our ending is a sad one and I hope it won't detour you from signing your name where it says "donor" Our sadness came when after getting an amazing, strong heart that "started right up" (as the doctors said) my dad endoured complications and in September of 2008 died due to not only heart failure but liver failure.....and in the end the lifetime of drinking took his life.
But I am not sad, I am thankful, for the opportunity to spend days with my dad as he reflected on his life and shared his wishes for what he WISHED he had done differently. I would never of had those special moments had someone else not given the unselfish gift of life.