Four years ago;Dec 28 2006, my friend Gail left this earth.Gail lived for 15 years because someone was generous and gave her his liver.Fifteen years of life.. fifteen years of memories and love ; fifteen years that we would not have had ,if it had not been for the unselfishness of a family.
The beginning; Gail had Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis ; one of the few who did not develop cancer..
I went to visit her in October '91 she straight up asked me if I came to say goodbye.it was hard not to lie..then I said yes..and I told her how much I loved her..we spoke about everything.even that she wanted her husband to remarry and what kind of funeral to do.A catharsis for sure, but the best thing that could have happened.
She got on the list right after Thanksgiving and one week later a liver was available.Rushed to the hospital and then the surgery.John (her husband called; she made it thru!! A couple of days later, we spoke..that gravely voice was the a voice of an angel..My friend was alive !! The pure happiness was more than I can express.. the sound of her voice..
Over the years, we shared laughter and life experiences..vacations and family times.We educated people about Transplant.Sometimes the reactions were not nice.A man asked Gail how it felt that "someone had to die for her to live".. Gail in her infinite wisdom responded" someone already died and was unselfish enough to allow myself and several others to live".
Gail taught me to respond to the ones I love as if everyday might be the last.. to share love and life..
We talked about being donors wherever we went.. to minor league baseball games; brought donor cards..dogshows; you name it..
Then the bad news.. Gail's disease was active again..But her attitude was amazing. She took everyday with a smile..we still talked and laughed; still spoke to people about being donors; still were two friends who laughed and spoke..
Gail was a gift.. She was my friend and we had 15 years that never would have been had she not had the gift of a transplant.Times that I needed her for emotional support.. when my Mother died ,she was there, to comfort me. To listen to me, to laugh until we (literaly ) wet our pants..to do what friends do..To go to the mall and shop.. the things we never think about until it is too late..
Being a donor is the greatest gift; the greatest act of unselfishness that a person can agree to.To give life and joy to the people who have a "Gail" in their life.Gail enriched my life in ways I can not even verbalize..I miss her so much ,it hurts.. the tears are pouring down my face as I write..as the realization hits that I had 15 years, when it could have been none if the family of her donor had said no...
Gail lived life to the fullest.. and gave of herself.I can still see her eating the first piece of pepperoni pizza after her surgery.But the most important aspect was that she lived.. and was my friend...because someone was a donor..