why organ donation

This past week I spoke about organ donation 4 times.  There was a time in the last 4 years where talking this many times in a week would have exhausted me.  Instead, this week I was energized.  Why?  Easy…1.

Let me explain.

The facts we can tell you for certain is ONE person can SAVE up to 8 lives with lives saving organs.  ONE person can ENHANCE the lives of more than 300 people with bone, tissue and corneas.

When I spoke to the kids this past week I gave them these facts.  And then I promised to share with them how those numbers are wrong.

Here is what I know.  Those who are on the transplant have families.  Those who choose to donate have families.  No matter the size of these families, they are also impacted by organ donation.  And I have proof. Hell, I AM proof.

When you choose to be an organ donor, you do not only help the recipient, you help their family.  I know first hand because of the thank yous I received from Jay’s cornea recipients.  The recipients spoke of being so thankful for Jay’s gifts because now they could read to their grandchildren.  They were able to hike, knit and see their family again.  I challenge anyone to tell me that Jay’s donation of his cornea did not impact not only those recipients but also their families. Just from the two cornea transplants from Jay, it probably impacted no less than 25 people. Jay being a bone, tissue and cornea donor falls under the 300 or more people impacted.  Let’s do some math quick.  12 people per recipient.  300 *12 = 3,600

And by being a donor, you will no doubt have an impact on your own family.  How do I know this?  I am living PROOF.  Jay’s determination to be an organ donor has saved me not only from grief, but from myself.  From day 1 when that medical examiner found his drivers license and asked me if she could have the Iowa Donor Network contact me to those 2 days last week speaking about organ donation and sharing our story, his choice has saved me.  His choice helped me see our situation differently.  His death gave life.  This is amazing.  I have met so many incredible people because of his choice and I continue to share with others what he made sure I knew.  Organ donation saves lives.

More math quick.  3,600 (from the math above) * 2 (to include the donor family) = 7,200 people.  Knowing 12 people per family is grossly underestimated you can see where I say 300 isn’t even close to the number of people impacted by organ donation of ONE donor.

I finished each speech this last week letting those kids know that not only will you find a “Y” on my drivers license but I am also in the online registry.  I also told them they could bet their bottom dollar I posted on FB each time I was speaking.  And they could be assured they were not the only ones who knew where I stood in my decision.  My family and friends were also very aware of what I expect my family to do when the time comes.

So why organ donation…because one person can make an amazing impact on so many people…that is why.

I get to love you

I haven’t blogged in almost 3 months.  It has been a very busy 3 months and that means I have a lot to blog but I will be honest and share my struggle of why it has taken so long.  Well first I was going through angelversaries and on top of that planning a wedding and a reception.  But those things aside, I could not decide on a title for the blog.

When I blog, I first need a title.  It is just part of my process.  It is probably the one single thing holding me back from writing my book.  Because I do not have the title in my mind.  Realistically I know if I were to publish a book, an editor may want to change it, so I eventually need to get over it. 🙂

So now I have a title, let’s get blogging.

On May 28,2016, I did something amazing.  I got married.  We went to Naples, Florida.  It was a beautiful weekend for a destination wedding.  A few weeks later we had our reception back in Iowa surrounded by many friends and family.

I want to focus this blog on the song Kelby and I danced to for our first dance.  It happens to be the song my dad, Aaron and I walked “down the aisle” to in Naples as well.  The title of the song is the title of this blog.  “I get to love you.”

I first heard the song from the show “Dancing with the Stars.”  It was a BEAUTIFUL dance and although I watched the dance, I couldn’t help but listen to the lyrics.

Kelby and I had been trying to decide on a first song for some time.  Every song we picked was specific to one gender being in love with the other.  There aren’t many songs where a man loves woman and woman loves man.  But “I get to love you” speaks so loudly without saying much at all.  The first lyrics of the song are:

one look at you,
my whole life falls in line.
i prayed for you
before i called you mine.

Ruelle, the artist who sings the song, could sing these 4 lines and I would be perfectly content.  I heard these words and each one grabbed my attention more and more until it hit me.  This was the perfect song.

The reality is this.

I don’t have to love him.  He does not have to love me.

I don’t want to love him.  He does not want to love me.

We get to love each other.

When I woke up the day after Jay died, I prayed for one thing.  A peaceful heart.  Through lots of hard work I kept getting closer.  Deep down, I knew there was an important part missing.  The moment Kelby walked into the restaurant for our first date, I felt at peace.  I laughed in a way I had not done in a VERY long time.  I smiled the whole time.  It is almost as if Aaron already knew him before they met.  Our life literally fell into place.  I prayed for peace in my life, and my prayer was answer.  He walked into our lives and we are forever grateful.

As I started to walk down the aisle with my dad on side and Aaron on the other, I heard the lyrics.  I looked up and saw Kelby at the alter.  I smile as I type this because in that moment I remember saying to myself, I am so incredibly bless that I get to love you.  As we danced our “first dance”, he held me close and a peaceful heart solidified into a peaceful life.  I am so grateful my prayer was answered.  I am so incredibly blessed, because I get to love him.