When you lose a parent you are an orphan, when you lose a spouse you are a widow. There is no word to describe losing a child. The death of a son or daughter can break a family. It is unimaginable to think of what life will be like without that person regardless of how old he or she was. Mothers, fathers, and siblings struggle to live a daily, “normal,” existence while honouring the person that passed on. One family donated their son’s heart tissue when he died unexpectedly at just 15 years old. Sharing a physical part of him to help a complete stranger is a way to help his son live on, even if he himself is no longer present. The teen’s brother recently shared a letter they received from the recipient, acknowledging that their tragedy meant a chance for him to lead a healthy life.
->**This is a transcript of the letter.**<-
Dear Donor Family, I’d like to express my sympathy for the death of your loved one. I also want to thank you for the special gift they donated. Without this donation, I would not be healing from a successful surgery right now, and I wouldn’t have another chance at a healthy, pain-free life. I needed a tissue transplant in order to fully repair my posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which I tore due to a nasty fall off a bike this past September. It seems like such a dumb way to sustain a major injury, but it’s certainly a lesson in how quickly like can change! Now, because I could have surgery with the tissue transplant, I have the opportunity to work toward a full, 100% recovery. Moreover, repairing my PCL lessens long term risks such as early, onset [arthritis]. This is all quite a blessing to me. I’m a 21-year-old finishing up my last semester of college. My favorite hobbies are playing music (saxophone and piano), playing team sports, and getting out in nature. I try to be very active. I’ve taken many trips to the Boundary Waters, and I’ve run a marathon (and hope to complete another before too long!). As I mentioned before, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to once again use my body’s full potential without the gift of your loved one. Thank you for honoring your loved one’s wishes at a very difficult time. I am humbled by your generosity and kindness. Sincerely, Ben