Monday, July 30, 2007

Heart transplants~

The reality of our tragic incident began to sink in hours after the initial impact of the car into the restaurant building, for me at the words, "organ donation". The doctors had warned us of Teagan's grave condition and even at the scene when I picked her up and carried her out of the hole in the wall, in my heart I had an overwhelming sense that there would be no hope for her of surviving her injuries.
But it wasn't until I sat at Chip's bedside and together we heard the hard, cold facts of Teagan's fate. She was given CPR at the scene and I watched as her little body was taken by ambulance and the next time I saw her, she was hooked up to life support machines and looked as though she was sleeping soundly. She hardly had a scratch on her...she still looked beautiful to me. I wished I could have just watched her open her eyes and that it would have simply been a bad dream. Just hours earlier she was laughing and singing and life held nothing but promise and hope for her.
It was surreal for me to listen to a doctor say that despite all they had done for her, the fact was that her brain was never going to function again, and machines were keeping her alive. Chip and I at that time were asked if we would like to consider organ donation. It was one of the 'easiest' decisions we had to make while we were in the hospital over the next 3 weeks. We didn't even hesitate in our response...to me that was a gift from God in all this- that we both wanted the same thing- to give others hope and to bring something "good" out of our tragedy.
We were told of a family waiting for a heart for their 7-year old son...Teagan was the miracle they were praying for. There were others who were in dire need of hope...and Teagan's death would mean a second chance at life for them.
We signed the papers quickly, and then I do remember holding Chip and letting the tears fall...as I began to accept our fate and reality...but mixed it with the realization that someone was getting their hopes and dreams and future back. It was the first comfort that I felt as the depth of my pain was just settling in.
And then hours later the hurt came flooding back, as Teagan went into cardiac arrest and the hopes and dreams for other families waiting their 'new life' were shattered once again. The doctors were able to give Teagan's heart valves and the corneas of her eyes to others- and that was a bit of comfort...but not what we had hoped for Teagan to be able to give back in her final moments on earth.
I have no idea who received the gift of sight or the gift of a mended heart because of Teagan's death. But I was struck yesterday, not only in my memories and the notes and phonecalls and cards from people touched by Teagan's memory still. It was the feeling in my own heart, and the very peace and comfort that flooded my soul that I couldn't deny. I am shedding tears today, in a larger sense, because after all these years of feeling sad that Teagan couldn't give someone the heart transplant they so deperately needed, I see that she indeed has been a part of changed hearts...my own heart has received a transplant in a sense. I am changed and see the world differently because of her. Others have shared how their hearts have been touched and forever changed because of Teagan's death. What a comfort, what a blessing...that didn't come in the way I had hoped and expected, but that transpired over time and it is a beautiful thing to see and experience.
I have knew 'eyes'; a new vision and outlook in life due to our experiences. I never would have imagined that Chip and I would find ourselves signing papers to give Teagan's heart and eyesight away to others. Nothing in life can prepare anyone for such a moment...but it has changed us. It has changed me.
I just baked some zucchini bread and my children are playing and eating blueberries and I can hear the coo of a morning dove just outside the screen door. Teagan loved to imitate the coo of the morning dove...so their song always brings a smile to my face and heart. The sun is shining and I cannot believe that this moment is my life. Because of my hardships and pain, I am "extra-sensatized" to beauty and sounds and simple goodness in life. My heart could burst at times...not from the pain...but from the peace. It seems to be now that those of us who need heart transplants and fresh eyesight aren't just the ones sitting in hospital beds waiting for a surgeon. But instead it is those who have no idea that life is truly a gift. Every single day.

17 comments:

Ilona said...

Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and what you have gone through.

Barb K said...

Blessings to you, Jody.
In Him, Barb K.

Anonymous said...

My heart is changed forever because of Teagan's story.

(((HUGS))) and prayers.

karen in CA

Christy said...

It is truly a blessing to me that you can still see so many rainbows in the midst of the raindrops!! You are such an encouragement and you may not even realize it!
Love and blessings,
Christy :O)

patterns of ink said...

Looked in today over lunch break. We've been gone camping and it's been a while since I've dropped by.

We learn best how to love by understanding loss. You are a very good teacher.

Anne said...

Jody you are an inspiration. Your story has touched me so deeply.
I too have a story about a little girl who has forever changed my heart and the hearts of our family. God does his work in such mysterious ways - sometimes in painful ways. Who knows why - and I dont ever ask myself why - I just accept my changed for the better heart and self and life and try to be thankful for my blessings so I can be a blessing to others. I try to spread the possitivity as it were.
Thanks so much for sharing this very emotional part of you.

Heather said...

Your story has touched my heart so deeply. I wish you peace, a lttle piece of Teagan lives in all who read your story. Mothers will never forget her....

linda t said...

Oh Jody, I love how you have showed us our need to 'let' the Lord change our heart and for us to 'see' through His eyes, knowing their is a bigger picture that could not begin to comprehend.
In trusting Him, we can 'stay under', aware that He is in control. But why do we make it so much harder than it really needs to be...
Thanks Jody and have a wonderful time in MN with your family!

Lene S said...

I am sitting here in tears... So sad, so greatful..just filled with mixed emotions! Thank u so much for sharing your story! It means a lot to many people to read stories like this.

I had a little "brother in law". He had just turned 4 when I met my husband to be :o)He was my husbands half brother, but a true brother by heart anyhow. A few weeks before his 8 birthday he was hit by a car when playing outside their house. It didn´t ran fast, but it hit him in the head. He had to be picked up by air ambulance, so we knew it was critic. But we never thought that it would be a matter of life and dead. We just didn´t!

Just like Teagen he was only kept alive by the machines, and his parents were also asked the question about organ donation. Like you they said yes right away. They didn´t hesitate for a minute, it was an obvious choice for them. And though the pain will never fully go away, they also get comfort in knowing that two other people could get on with their lifes thanks to their son.

Thanks again, I will remember little Teagen, and I wish you peace! God bless you!

(Found this through Adrienne Lomans blog, and please excuse my badly written english...I´m norwegian ;o)

Lene

rev said...

thank you so much for your inspiring words. life is a gift indeed. i ran across your blog throug Kelly's and i'm with tears reading your post. bless you and your family.
revlie, the Netherlands

rachd said...

I lost my beautiful five year old daughter a week and a half ago and I'm struggling to make it through the days. Two wonderful commenters sent me a link to your blog to show me there is hope that I can survive the crushing pain and emptiness inside. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

Kate said...

So eloquently put -- you have such a way with words Jody!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jody
I came across your blog through Wilna Furstenberg. You, and your Teagan, have really touched my mother-heart. It has changed the way I'll look at my 2 daughters (3 and 4 yrs old) tomorrow morning!
Love from Johannesburg - South Africa!
Ingrid

Lee W. said...

Very eloquently written. As an RN who sees people die, I have become acutely aware of all the little things to be thankful for. I say little prayers for them every day. I get teary-eyed over little things, and thank God that I am able to. What a terrible tragedy for your family, and what strength it takes to see the flip side of it. Bless you.

Anne Marie said...

God is using you to change hearts too - to bring a dose of reality and a reminder of what matters as well as the frailty (is that a word?) of life. thanks. Anne Marie

Sarah said...

Hi Jody

Your story has touched me deeply,im typing through tears. god bless you all. In god arms teagen god bless you little one.

Hugs

Tina Vega said...

Jody - I just stumbled onto your blog tonight and am so glad I did! Bless you for sharing your story; what an inspiration you are - your love of Christ so clear. I am sorry to hear about your family's difficulties. My heart goes out to you, dear sister in Christ.

Tina