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Donor Stories

Just 23 More Minutes…

This is going to be the hardest, but most beautiful thing I can do – to tell everyone what a hero our son, Eric, was with his unique life.

He was the joy of my life. My only son and so tiny I could hardly find him in the blankets. Little did we know how he would grow up to be the funniest, most mischevious little child on the block.

Eric was always trying to make children laugh. He spent a lot of his time in the principal’s office. He was always playing jokes and keeping the classroom full of laughter. As Eric grew up, the girls always told us, “he is so handsome and he is so funny.” Oh to hear him laugh again would be the greatest thing!

Eric played basketball only to win the Pass-Shoot and Dribble contest in our city three years in a row. He joined the swim team and received many ribbons and medals for his efforts. He played football, baseball, and whatever came next on his agenda only to be the best.

As those early teen years came along, what a struggle it was for him to find his place in life, and he made some wrong decisions along the way like so many of our young kids today do, but Eric conquered all and when he told us what a problem he had been it only confirmed more that he was the perfect son I knew I had.

Eric married his High School sweetheart at the age of 17 with our approval. You see, Eric was raised to do what is right and being left by his natural father at the age of 5, he knew what it was to be left alone. Eric and his brothers and sisters were adopted by Charles, the kind of father children are suppossed to have. Soon they would know what a real family life was all about. Eric had a son who was just the center of his world. Eric worked a part-time retail job then went on at night to a factory, only to get up in the morning to go to school until noon so he would graduate. Sure enough, graduation day came and how proud we were of him and he deserved the recognition for all of his hard work.

He made a promise to his family that they would not do without and he kept that promise. Soon a daughter came and she was such a joy to his life. Being married at such a young age brought struggles, but Eric always showed how much he loved his little children.

Eric’s car accident happened on a Sunday early evening and Eric died on Tuesday. Eric was on a respirator the entire time so we never got to tell Eric good-bye. We have to know in our hearts that he heard every word we shared with him along with his brothers and sisters. He was just so handsom lying there so peaceful and without a care. Now that it has been four years, I can look back and see what a blessing in disguise it was to be able to remember him as we all knew him. He didn’t even look like he had been in an accident at all.

His life is now peaceful in the most beautiful world that we can only imagine.

Eric’s decision to be an organ donor did not surprise us in any way. His whole life was about helping and giving to others. The Lifeline of Ohio staff was there and has been there when we needed them the most. They have shown us how important the “Gift of Life” is and how so many people are effected by such a generous gift that we all have the power to give.

We never know what tomorrow will bring so on behalf of us and the other parents out there that have buried a child, don’t take another minute for granted because you may never get the chance to give those children a hug or to see their beautiful faces tomorrow.

We had 23 years with our precious son, but Oh, what just 23 more minutes would do for our broken hearts.

Because of his wonderful gift of organ donation, three families have their child. Eric is still out there and his gift of giving still goes on. He was such a fighter and the recipients hung in there until their guardian angel, Eric, came along. How wonderful for their families that such a gift is available – if only others could be so giving of themselves.

I urge all of the donor families to consider meeting their recipients. Just to give that hug to them is a feeling I can only tell you about. It sure completes the journey that we have all traveled in the months and years after losing our loved one. Although I will probably never understand why my son could be taken from me, I understand that God has a plan for all of us and what a mighty God he is to allow this wonderful miracle to happen.

To Eric – I love you and miss you! Love, Mom

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