Personal and Off Topic: Death, Organ and Tissue Donation, and Grief

Heather says:

I am raw, grief stricken, and barely functional right now. Please bear with disjointed thoughts and truly awful [worse than usual] grammar. I need to get this out before I have to step back into the everyday. I needed to share the story before the details become muddled by time.

Thursday morning I was enjoying a cup of coffee in those few precious moments I have before I had to get my children up and ready for our ridiculously over-packed weekday routine.

I had left my phone in my room by my bed, but saw a message from my mother on Facebook Messenger: “CALL CALL CALL NOW NOW”

My heart dropped, it was 5:15am.

I learned that my sister shot herself and that she was being taken to the hospital that she wasn’t going to make it.

I prayed she would hang on until I could get there.

She did. Wonderful friends welcomed me into their home. I cannot begin to express my gratitude.

At the hospital we sobbed. We waited. We watched as tubes were attached and detached. Bandages changed. Medications adjusted.

There is no hope we were told. Well wishers from around the world offered prayers, shoulders, and ears to hear. Family gathered.

Tears were shed. Old grudges dropped. Hands were held.

Wait they said, there is no hope they said, wait through the weekend they said.

Time slowed. There was talking and sobbing and a profound silence marked only with the hiss of the respirator.

I was reminded of my astronomy courses: Time slows in close proximity to a gravitational field. Time also slows in the face of grief.

We faced Schrodinger’s cat and became Billy Pilgrim:

All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, bugs in amber.

I was only at that hospital for 5 days, but lifetimes were lived. People don’t age overnight, they age as they wait for news, they age as they struggle with choices. I am a thousand years older than I was on Thursday morning at 5:14am.

The weekend passed and second opinions were given. There was no hope. Bullets are not the same as blunt force trauma. Bullets shred, break apart, and destroy tissue that will not recover. They rip apart neural pathways that define your perception, your very existence.

They sometimes leave other parts untouched, leaving questions to answer that I hope no one needs to consider in that mindset.

Choosing to be an organ donor gives you the chance to give life to those who may not otherwise have a chance.

If you choose to be an organ donor, your responsibility does not end with the check of that box. You need to make your wishes known. Not every traumatic death results in brain death. In those cases it is cut and dry. Were they an organ donor? Yes. The team is organized, forms are filled out, goodbyes are said, and the chances for others are given.

When a loved one will not survive, but is not brain dead, the decisions get harder.

Did you know that from cessation of life support that cardiac death must happen in less than sixty minutes for organs to be viable?

Did you know that all of the matches must be lined up before the decision to remove life support can be carried out? (did you know it is REALLY FREAKING HARD to not accidentally use a morbid turn of phrase right now)

Did you know that in that time, there is a family blinded by grief being told to decide, now wait, now decide, she’s eligible, she’s not eligible, now wait. They want to do the right thing, to make good come from a horrible tragedy, to give a gift so others won’t be in a hospital room sobbing as their own loved one slips away. But that decision can be excruciating when drug out over time.

Be aware that if you check that box, you need to also have a living will that defines your quality of life expectations. What exactly would you define as unbearable? Don’t assume your family knows. We know what Laura wanted, but in that moment where other people were asking our decision we kept asking, were we making the right choice? Were we absolutely sure that this is what was the right thing.

And so we would decide and then there would be another hurdle another decision, a chance for a little misinformation and a little hope and a lot of confusion.

In the end, after it was confirmed that we would not make it through that misleadingly tiny window of time, I felt like a monster saying, “Please send in the respiratory therapist, we cannot bear this any longer.”

And we said goodbye. And we spent three hours dropping old hurts and embracing one another in this hurt that overshadowed them all. And being my strong, stubborn little sister, she took her time.

We laughed that she took forever to get ready to go anywhere, why should this be different. We sobbed when we thought the fight was over for her, but she had one last gift to give. Her oxygen saturation dropped to zero, we cried, we prayed and braced ourselves and  then we began to tell stories of her as a child. Memories, funny, sweet, and sad poured forth as her heart continued to beat.

The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.
When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition in the particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is “So it goes.” ~Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse Five

Peace settled over the room.

And for another two hours, we just were, as she drifted peacefully away.

There are many more tears to shed. There are details to attend to and grief to be felt.

While I work  on those things, take a moment to meet my baby sister, and please spare your family this pain by having the difficult conversations in the light of day. Choose to give life. Laura is a tissue donor and hopefully many people will live fuller lives through her generosity. She would like that.

Laura

Peace be with you.

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195 thoughts on “Personal and Off Topic: Death, Organ and Tissue Donation, and Grief”

  1. What a tragedy. I am so sorry. For your pain, for your immense loss. I lost my nephew to suicide this January, and I hurt every day, when I think of what life was like for him in those minutes right before hand. So grief filled and tragic. I’m sorry.

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  2. I found myself here through a completely random web search (looking up the words “home ec” for a work-related thing) and just wanted to say I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost a brother years ago (he was 27) and it is such a hard loss and something people don’t necessarily understand. It does get better with time. Sending you hugs and light and love…

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  3. I found myself here through a completely random web search (looking up the words “home ec” for a wark-related thing) and just wanted to say I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost a brother years ago (he was 27) and it is such a hard loss and something people don’t necessarily understand. It does get better with time. Sending you hugs and light and love…

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  4. Heather i am so very sorry for your loss . I am in awe of your bravery and ability to find the words to share even an iota of your grief. You and your sister have given the greatest gift to others and i hope your family finds comfort in this. Sending you so much love

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  5. Heather, thank you for sharing your heart and being so vulnerable. This heart wrenching news made me stop and think of my family and how lucky I am to still have them all here…..but realized that could all change in one second. Your account of this devastating day is a testament of who you are, and although I don’t know you, through your words I can see what a wonderful sister you were to Lisa and how much you loved her. I pray that your heart is mending and that you experience peace, especially during those times when you need it more than ever. God bless you and your family….you are all in my prayers.

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  6. Hello!

    My heartfelt wishes go out to you and your family and friends! She is a lovely woman!
    I share your grief, the world is a bit less bright now she’s passed on. 🙁
    But the memories you and others share of her, will live on forever. 🙂

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  7. Your sister is beautiful, thank you for sharing your story. It is always sad when we loose our loved ones in death. Even Jesus, (as a perfect man on earth) gave way to tears when someone close to him died. ( John 11: 33-44) I would like to encourage you, and your family with the bible’s hope, and promises for a better future that are sure to come! Being an organ donor can truly help someone in need, however, I look forward to the time when we will have a permanent solution to all sickness, and death. There is only one real solution to mankind’s problems including death, and that is God’s Kingdom . (Revelation 21: 3-5). There is a website @JW.org for more information on what the bible really teaches, and satisfying answers to many questions about life.

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  8. I am so incredibly heartbroken for your loss. Thank you for finding the strength to share and stress the importance of making hard decisions before hard decisions need to be made. Blessings to your family.

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  9. Heather, I am so very sorry for your loss. This is a beautiful piece that will help bring life for others through it. Organ donation is such a blessing but a difficult once to bestow.

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  10. I am so sorry Heather, for all of this and for your family and your lovely sister. I can’t imagine seeing that message and making that call and having to say goodbye. Thank you for sharing resources both for suicide prevention and organ donation. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

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  11. My prayers are with you and your family in this difficult time. “O my Lord! Purify them from trespasses, dispel their sorrows, and change their darkness into light. Cause them to enter the garden of happiness, cleanse them with the most pure water, and grant them to behold Thy splendors on the loftiest mount.” (from the Baha’i prayer for the dead).

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  12. Oh Heather! I have no words. My deepest sympathies for you and all your family. I can’t imagine the pain you must be going through now and have already been through. My heart breaks for all of you.

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  13. Heather I sit here with tears in my eyes. I knew that your sister had died and had seen some mentions of the organ donation but I had no idea it was a suicide. {{{HUGS}}} This is something that lurks in the back of my mind all the time having family who are bipolar and not always stable. I have been to the ER too many times for threats of suicide from them.

    Thank you for sharing what happened with us and all of the info about organ donation. This is something my entire family needs to address – just in case.

    Sending positive thoughts for you and your family.

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  14. Oh I am so very sorry for your loss. You are so caring, loving and so strong to be able to blog about this. I know you have probably helped many who read your post. I hope and pray you find comfort in being able to be with your sister in her last moments. I know that she felt your love. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
    Blessings, Joanne

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  15. Heather, thanks for sharing with us this most unimaginable series of events. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, and will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. May you find peace in little ways in the days, weeks and months to come. Chris

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  16. Heather,
    My phone call came at 3AM this past Friday night. My cousin-in-law shot himself.
    We’re going through/dealing with some of things you mentioned above.
    No hope. Wait, maybe there’s hope.
    It’s a roller coaster no one really saw coming, but yet, we did. Our hearts are heavy and our knees are so weak, we’re not sure how we’re standing. It’s a nightmare, and I scream for us all just to wake up. I don’t know how one minute your world is ok, you tuck your kids into bed, and you fall asleep… And the next you’re screaming into your cell phone…
    So many prayers are coming your way… as y’all figure out how to navigate life without her.
    I don’t know how our story ends… I pray that somehow God gives us peace…
    xoxo.

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  17. My word. How completely unimaginable. I know there are no words, all I can do is extend my heartfelt condolences to you and your family, and my prayers for your sister.
    Through her donation – her passing will be a blessing.

    I’m SO sorry.

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  18. My heart breaks for you and your family and all those who knew and loved your sister. Thank you ffor sharing her story and the importance of organ and tissue donation.

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  19. I can not begin to understand the loss you are feeling. The loss your whole family is feeling. I am sorry. I know those words sound so ‘little’ at a time like this, but it is all I can think to say. How very sad. Your family is in my prayers. I must say it was a kind thing to do to donate what you could of your sister to help others. That is the biggest kindness there is; to think of others at such a heartbreaking time. Peace to all of you.

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  20. I am so sorry Heather. I’m wishing you and your family strength during this horribly painful time. Again, I’m so sorry.

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  21. This is a terrible, tragic story, and I find myself crying right now. Perhaps because I’ve been on the other side of the fence. My father is the lucky recipient of a donor heart. It is a bittersweet gift, knowing that someone else is right now crying the tears that you don’t need to cry, that for your loved one to be saved, someone else lost theirs. It is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given – that my father should live, to walk me down the aisle, to see his granddaughters born. I’m am forever grateful to a family I will never know for the hard decisions they made in their hour of grief.

    My heartfelt condolences to you at this time. I can only imagine that it is cold comfort, but if it helps at all, know that someone, somewhere, is as grateful to you for the gift you have given, as I am to the strangers who gave me more years with my father,

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  22. My sweet friend… I wish I had words that could make even an ounce of this easier. I’m amazed at your strength and your ability to share, so beautifully, what is clearly such an important message wrapped in the beauty of your sister’s story, of your hurt and your family’s tragedy. Know that you are in my heart, in my my thoughts. I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for introducing us to your Laura….. xoxo

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  23. Oh Heather — I am so sorry!!! Thank you for sharing such a difficult post with us all.
    When my father died suddenly of a brain aneurysm at 56, it was such a bizarre stage to be stuck in — arranging for his organs to be transplanted while his heart still beat. But it was such a comfort too. I hope everyone makes that decision to have life come from death.
    HUGGING you right now! LOVE YOU!!!!!!

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  24. We don’t know each other, but thank you for sharing such heart-breaking and beautifully-written words about such a painful and personal event. I lost my brother to suicide 35 years ago when he was 17. I wish I could have had a forum to share my grief on like you have. Back then, no one talked of such things. Friends and family didn’t even have the skills of how to comfort us. Many of my parent’s friends even withdrew their friendship. I had to return to high school with nobody knowing about my loss. The pain is excruciating but does get easier. The hole never heals but the memories fill in the gaps. I miss him still. All my best – I send you love and light to heal you and yours.

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  25. Heather,

    I am so very very sorry for your loss. One year ago, my beautiful baby brother took his life in the same manner.

    I want you to know how proud of you and how grateful I am that you courageously shared your experience publicly.

    I understand how hard it must have been to share this time in your life with the world: http://www.angelamaiers.com/2012/08/the-gift-of-christopher.html

    I can assure you 100 percent, that LIVE WILL BE SAVED because of your courage and the power of your words.

    There is nothing that will bring back your sister or my beloved brother, but by our sharing our stories we become a part of the solution helping other individuals and families work through the pain of suicide.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    God Bless!

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  26. What a beautiful vibrant girl, even in death; what strong warm love surrounded her; what guiding your thoughts give to all of us.

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  27. Praying peace and comfort for your heart tonight. What a heart breaking experience. Praying also that many lives will be touched through her gift.

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  28. I will try to make this brief even though I’m tempted to be long winded. My sister passed this along to me since it is a topic near to our hearts. First off, let me thank you, your family & your sister for choosing organ donation. Someone have that very same gift to my family almost 5 years ago. My daughter had a heart transplant in 2008. She was 6 at transplant & she’s 11 now. Please feel to visit my site (dedicated to her) to see what the gift of life really means. My thoughts are with you and your family as you continue to heal.

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  29. As the parent of a suicide I understand there is no worse excruciating pain. Please take as much time for yourself as you need. Take life a day – or a moment at a time. Realize that you will never be the same as you were before your loss. The tendency is to want to get “back to normal”. But, “normal” is just a setting on a washing machine. What we’re really saying is, “I want things to be the way they were. I don’t want to go through life with this hole in my heart. I want to feel strong and happy gain.” I do believe that it is possible to regain your strength, to internalize an actual spiritual presence of your departed loved one, and to move forward but you will do so as a different person. I will be thinking of you and your family and carrying you in my heart as you move through this new journey one stepping stone at a time.
    Your compassionate E-Friend
    Sandy

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  30. Praying for you and your family. Your sister did a very incredible thing, and you and your family made some very honorable and difficult decisions. Your sister will always be with you.

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  31. Praying that the Lord will uphold you by His righteous right hand and that the Holy Spirit will encircle you in His love, comfort, and peace! HUGS!!! patti

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  32. We don’t know each other but, I am sending love to you and your family and to all of those who love Laura. All of you are in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  33. I came over from Lisa’s blog to send you some light and love, and peace. Thank you for sharing the story of what may just be the most painful time of your life. You have helped others to become aware of things they need to know. Thank you for that courage. Let the tears flow as they need to, to make room for the oncoming light. Laura’s spirit lives on….

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  34. So heartbreaking to read! I’m so sorry for your family’s loss..thoughts and prayers with ya’ll at this time..
    Why-Rascal Flatts

    It must’ve been in a place so dark you couldn’t feel the light
    Reachin’ for you through that stormy cloud
    Now here we are gathered in our little hometown
    This can’t be the way you meant to draw a crowd

    Oh,why?
    That’s what I keep askin’
    Was there anything I could have said or done?
    Oh,I had no clue you were masking
    A troubled soul, God only knows what went wrong
    And why you’d leave the stage in the middle of a song

    Now in my mind I keep you frozen as a seventeen year old
    Roundin’ third to score the winning run
    You always played with passion no matter what the game
    When you took the stage, you shined just like the sun

    Oh,why?
    That’s what I keep askin’
    And was there anything I could have said or done?
    Oh,I had no clue you were masking
    A troubled soul, oh, God only knows what went wrong
    And why you’d leave the stage in the middle of a song

    Now the oak trees are swayin’ in the early autumn breeze
    The golden sun is shining on my face
    The tangled thoughts I hear a mockingbird sing
    This old world really ain’t that bad a place

    Oh,why?
    There’s no comprehending
    And who am I to try to judge or explain?
    Oh,but I do have one burning question
    Who told you life wasn’t worth the fight?
    They were wrong, they lied,and now you’re gone,and we cried

    ‘Cause it’s not like you to walk away in the middle of a song
    Your beautiful song, your absolutely beautiful song

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  35. Dear friend.

    I wish I could scoop you up, envelope you in mind-numbing waves, turn back the clock, take away your pain, do whatever it takes to change this. I am sorry I can’t. You have my number. I am always here, and I love you very much.

    Carye and Liz

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  36. I have a friend who lost her son to suicide. Its not easy for the family left behind asking why. You and your family are in my prayers.

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  37. We lost my niece to suicide in March on her Grandpa’s birthday which is a hard day for us all as he passed away 9 years ago. It is so hard to heal from and to understand the whys. It was also a happy day for my other niece (different side of the family) as she got married that day. So, it is a hard day for me and my kids because of all of that. I hope that you all find peace and remember the good times with your beautiful sister as we are trying to do with my niece. Prayers for comfort for you all. God bless you.

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  38. Heather, my husband Mark and I are constant customers at Steph’s work, and through that are proud to now call her a friend. My heart was breaking as I watched some of this unfold via FB. Please know that we are both grieving with all of you for your loss, along with countless other people who were so obviously blessed to know her, and your extended family. “Perhaps they are not stars, but openings in heaven where the love and light of those lost pours down to let us know they are happy”~Eskimo proverb

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  39. I am so very sorry for your loss, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved ones at this unbearable time. Thank you for sharing your poignant story.

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  40. I never know what to say, but that my prayers and healing thoughts/energy are yours from me today. I appreciate you using this moment in your life to share an important message to all of us. (( <3 ))

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  41. I am so so sorry for this terribly difficult challenge you and your family have been faced with. Your sister is beautiful and I commend you for writing your story down. I know it can be somewhat healing, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. And your story may help others. May peace and comfort be with you and yours!

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  42. Heather, your raw emotion and open heart are very much felt through your writing here. I won’t pretend to know what whirlwind you’re feeling right now. I will pray. ♡

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  43. Heather, I am so very sorry for what you are going through. I absolutely cannot fathom what that experience must have been like. Prayers and positive thoughts to you and your family.

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  44. I am truly so very sorry. I don’t know you but for your words that amuse and encourage me. But I am crying for your heartbreak at this moment, and for your powerful words.
    My prayers for your family to find solace and peace.
    1800SUICIDE is an easy to remember number that saves many lives. I am so sorry no one was able to prevent your family’s tragedy

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  45. I am so sorry for your loss. It is such a difficult decision to make when terminating life support but I am glad your family was able to heal old wounds & will send prayers & positive thoughts for you & your family during this difficult time Hugs!

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  46. Heather, thank you for sharing your story. At the darkest hour, you have shared your soul and shared a message that is important — and will surely set in motion events that will save more lives. My thoughts, tears and love are with you and your family. Peace be with you, as well.

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  47. That must have been extremely hard for you to put on paper, but you did it very well and I am grateful you did. Such a loss for you and your family and I am sorry that you have to endure the pain and I am sorry for the pain your sister was obviously in. My prayers are with you.

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  48. Thank you for sharing and not covering this up as people did in times past. You give strength and hope to others. There is no shame in the truth. Laura was a beautiful young woman, and you as her sister have honored her well.

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  49. Dearest Heather,
    I am so very sorry for your loss! So, so sorry! I want you to know something from the recipient side…. Over the fourth of July weekend, my younger sister received a kidney transplant. My sister was so ill that we feared we would lose her before we could hug her again. Our lives are changed because of the generosity of a family who gave the greatest gift at their darkest hour. The people who are whole again because of Laura’s gift will never forget her or you. We know that sadness comes with the gift of life. I honor Laura today because your family chose organ donation. Sending warm thoughts and hugs your way…….

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  50. Your sister is beautiful. I hope she is at peace now, and that you and your family will find peace in your time of pain. Thank you for thinking of other families during an unimaginably difficult time.

    During times when I give to charity, I often donate to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; as it has touched my life as well: while they don’t offer the immediate help of a hotline, they work to support families and educate the public. Here’s their website, I hope it helps: http://www.afsp.org/

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  51. My baby (and only) brother took his life four years ago. He went to a secluded location, so our agony was whether or not we would ever find him. We weren’t sure if he followed thru, or ran off somewhere.
    I know the heartache and the questions and the pain. It never stops, but it does get softer.

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  52. Heather, I’m so sorry and send my deepest sympathies to you and your family. Thank you for sharing this information, even though it is so raw for you. I’m certain it will help others. For now, I wish you peace and hope, in time, your heart will heal.

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  53. Thank you for sharing. I can’t imagine what you must be going through, sorry about your loss. You and your sister will touch many lives, be strong.

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  54. I am so very sorry for your loss, and for the pain you’re all going through right now. My deepest condolences, to you and to your entire family. Love and peace. xoxo

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  55. I never post on blogs I read… Too shy maybe… But today your post touched me… My heart felt condolences for your families loss… Stay strong…

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  56. Thank you for sharing your story. You have opened my eyes and I’m sure others will feel the same.
    May God bless you and your family and comfort you in this time of grief.

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  57. Though i do not know you at all, know that my prayers are with you and your entire family. I wept while reading your post. I lost my Grandmother to suicide when i was a teenager. I am heartbroken for you and with you. God bless you.

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  58. Heather, my heart breaks for you and your family. I admire not only that you made a difficult choice but that you shared it in hopes of improving the world and saving more lives. Peace to you and your relatives.

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  59. I can’t imagine what you are going through, Heather. Please know that you are in my thoughts. Thank you for sharing this post… it is important information that I will remember.

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  60. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16

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  61. Thank you for sharing your heart with us, Heather. I pray for you and your family to be at peace and for continued strength for you over the coming days. Love you, friend.

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  62. Keeping you and your family in my prayers and wishing that were enough. May you find comfort in the good memories, and faith in the hereafter. Many Hugs to all!

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  63. My heart and soul are with you in this very moment. Although I’ve almost become a widow 3 times in 14 years, my heart could never understand what you and your family must have gone through.

    I want to thank your sister, from the bottom of my heart, for what she has given to others. My husband will be celebrating his 9th anniversary this November… not for our wedding… but it is his 9th Transplant Anniversary. In 2004, another brave family gave the gift of life to my husband. He was dying from a genetic terminal illness called Cystic Fibrosis. And, without the love of another family we have yet to meet, I would have surely been a widow by now. We could never repay his donor’s family for the gift they gave… just as I’m sure no one can thank your sister (and family) enough for the gift you have given.

    I wish I could say the right thing. I wish I could tell you that it’s all going to be ok. But, I can’t. All I can tell you is that you have a great support system and, judging from the number of comments, many people that care about you. We are all here for you… you need only ask and we will support you in whatever way you need.

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  64. I am so sorry for your loss. I am deeply moved by your story. I am sitting here recovering from a double mastectomy while my mother takes care of my five children. I have plenty of time to pray and I will pray for your sister and for you and your family. May God bless you all.

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  65. Your family is in our prayers. I know there are no words. There just aren’t. Thank you for reminding us to think beyond ourselves and give the gift of life to others. Thinking of you all during this time!

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  66. I’m crying for you, for your family, for your sister. I’m glad for you that you were able to be with her at the end. Thank you for writing this raw, honest, beautiful piece. It is a healing piece to read. God bless you and your family with long, healthy lives and very good memories for the good times.

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  67. Oh my beautiful friend. I ache for you and am grieving for this beautiful woman. From someone who’s been there when life support was removed, and as a family member of a donor recipient, I am feeling so many emotions for you and with you.

    No matter what your relationship was with Laura, in the end she knew your love. And that, is all anyone could ever ask for. To know your love.

    I’ll be there soon. And I’ll wrap you in my arms and I’ll hold you and cry with you. I love you.

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  68. You’re in my thoughts, Heather. I’m so sorry to here that you’re going through this. If you need some blog posts or copy written or editing help or anything else I can provide to help keep things going while you’re with family, please don’t hesitate to email me.

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  69. I’m sorry I never met your sister in real life instead.
    But this is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever read about dealing with this kind of tragedy. Thank you for putting it out there and so beautifully.
    Love and prayers headed your way and to all of your family Heather. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

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  70. I have never been to your website, found it through facebook share. I want express my sincere condolences to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your hard-won advice.

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  71. Heather, My heart goes out to you and your family. I cannot fathom the decisions that the family had to make, but I do understand the depth of your loss. My heart is broken (again), but I do understand that it is up to me to lift up your mom and fill the void of loss with love. I grieve with you in a way that I remember not long ago. Your loss has again become my loss. Thank you for putting your love, loss, and frustration in words that everyone can understand. I love forward to you being home so I can place my arms around you and share memories of such a beautiful step-daughter. I love you and may God give you peace.

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  72. Thinking of you, and thanks for writing this and sharing your heart, your sister, your perspective, and your knowledge with us while everything still hurts so much.

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  73. (Wishing I’d checked my reader before I emailed you earlier… Derp, derp, “Hope all is well!!” Open mouth, insert foot, bury the whole package in the sand.)
    If your sister was anything at all like you, I’m sure she was a kind, intelligent, and funny person. I’m sorry that your family had to lose her in such a tragic way. I know it’s cliche, but at least she is no longer battling the beast that is depression. You and your family will remain in my thoughts.

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  74. Heather,

    The good things matter the most. Grief lasts a long time but fabulous memories that you carry in your heart last forever!

    Deepest sympathies,
    Alison

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  75. Heather,
    I missed all of this because we were in the hospital with my mom. Oh my sweet friend, I am so sorry.
    Your entire family is in my prayers and will be sending you so much love.
    What a gift Laura has given to others, and you by writing this.
    <3

    Reply
  76. Oh, Heather, I am so so sorry for your loss. The loss of a sibling is devastating in a different way than the loss of a friend or a parent. I will be thinking of you and your family. I’m so sorry that y’all are going through this. Thank you for getting the word out about organ and tissue donation. When my brother died in 2002 we weren’t able to do that, and it has bothered me ever since.

    Reply
  77. This just breaks my heart. I am so sorry you and your family had to go through this. You are in my prayers and I hope you can eventually find peace and beauty in this ugly reality.

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  78. Heather ever since I heard what happened, your family and your sister have been in my prayers. From a donor family standpoint there truly are no words that can describe how it feels to ask God to save your loved one who needs the gift of life to survive and at the same time, know what it is really that we are praying for. It is truly the most conflicting and gut wrenching feeling in the world. Know that the gifts Laura is giving others doesn’t go unappreciated and without joy and grief at the same time.

    My heart and prayers continue to be with you and your family as you work through this. In love and friendship – we all are with you.

    Reply
  79. I am so, so sorry to read this post.
    I will leave you with words that I could not express on my own, from a beautiful song called Can’t Cry Hard Enough. http://youtu.be/7pg695ZWkwY

    I’m gonna live my life
    Like every day’s the last
    Without a simple good-bye
    It all goes by so fast

    And now that you’re gone
    I can’t cry hard enough
    No I can’t cry hard enough
    For you to hear me now

    I’m gonna open my eyes
    And see for the first time
    I’ve let go of you like
    A child letting go of his kite

    There it goes up in the sky
    There it goes beyond the clouds
    For no reason why
    I can’t cry hard enough
    No I can’t cry hard enough
    For you to hear me now

    I’m gonna look back in vain
    And see you standing there
    When all that remains
    Is just an empty chair

    And now that you’re gone
    I can’t cry hard enough
    No I can’t cry hard enough
    For you to hear me now

    There it goes, up in the sky
    There it goes, beyond the clouds
    For no reason why
    I can’t cry hard enough
    No I can’t cry hard enough
    For you to hear me now

    Reply
  80. I cannot express my empathy enough. I wish it didn’t happen but I am glad you were able to be close to her in the end. Peace comes in ways we don’t expect. Thank you for stepping up and speaking out about this tender subject so soon after your loss.

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  81. Thank you for sharing with us. Laura can hopefully help a great many people. You sharing your experience will help many as well. Again, thank you.

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  82. All my love to you Heather. I hate that you have to feel this pain, and hope you and your family find peace down the road. You know if you need anything, I’m here.

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  83. Aww it is so hard to read this. I experienced profound loss recently. What a blessing you got to see her one more time. I know how time slows and you age many lifetimes, how quiet it all gets waiting and watching as they decline every minute…How you imagine you’d have so much to say to them but in the end, three little words are all you needed to say. I’m so sorry

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  84. You’ve made your own kind of spiritual donation to the world by sharing this story through your hurt. I thank you and I honor your sister, your history, and your irrevocably changed future. Wishing you strength and peace through my own tears.

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  85. My prayers are with you and your family for comfort during this difficult time. I’ve been through similar situations with both my parents and agree with you that you age tons in such a short time.

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  86. I am so very sorry for your loss of your sister, I send up prayers for you and your family. I am inspired that your sister’s life will continue to help bring life for others and wish you peace during this time.

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  87. Heather, my heart goes out to you and to your family. You’re so very brave to share your story, your advice and what you’ve learned to help others because it does help. I never knew most of this or how organ donation works. I’ll pray for you and your family during this unbearably sad and hard time. Hugs!

    Reply
  88. Please accept my condolences, thoughts, and prayers. I have lost some family in this manner. One quite recent. I’m very sorry to hear of your loss. Thank you for taking the time to share your story.

    Reply
  89. I am so very sorry for your loss, but I am so grateful for your family’s courageous decision to do what you could to make some good come out of the bad. My heart is with you.

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  90. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Heather. If there is anything we can do, anything at all, please do not hesitate to ask. I am so sorry that you have to walk through this. Hugs

    Reply
  91. Oh, honey! I’m so sorry. You’ve been in my heart and prayers for days. I’m so glad you told this story. We all need to hear it. We all need to take the time now to make things simpler for our families later.
    Your sister did a beautiful thing, and you all truly honored her by doing everything you could to make her wishes a reality.

    Reply
  92. My baby sister commit suicide too. A few year after my father was killed in a car accident cause by a texting teenager. I know where you are. My heart and thoughts are with you and your family.

    Reply
  93. Thank you for telling your story, Heather, I know it wasn’t easy.

    I think The Powers That Be are in a tough position. They need to be matter of fact and thorough to ensure that they are saving lives, but there is also the family of the donor to consider. I’m so terribly sorry you had to go through this.

    Knowing your sister didn’t die in vain and left a wonderful gift behind must be such a comfort to you during this time. Just like you, she is enriching lives, something not enough people do.

    It will take time for you and your family to heal. I hope you know that your friends are here pulling for you, and we’ll be here whenever you need us.

    Reply
  94. My friend. I am so heartbroken. I am so sorry. Words cannot express. Sending you love, strength and prayers for peace. Love you.

    Reply

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