Tuesday’s Tale: A Mother’s Greatest Loss
Being a mother is an experience that, at times, be difficult to put into words. A mother hopes, dreams, hurts and celebrates, all for the love of a child. Even though I don’t get to see my daughter every day, I know she is with me. I think of the way she is living on through other people and it gives me hope when I feel hopeless. My name is Marsha and I am a donor mother. I lost my precious 16-year-old daughter, Kasey, two days before Thanksgiving in 2005.
In preparation for the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season, my husband Mark and I were at the grocery store planning our family’s Thanksgiving dinner. I knew something was wrong when Mark answered his phone and dropped it to the floor. Time stood still. There had been an accident. With no hesitation or thought, we rushed to Riverside Hospital to be by Kasey’s side. The doctors tried everything but Kasey could not regain consciousness.
For 72 hours, we waited as scans, tests and procedures were performed. As more time passed it started to sink in that I may never get to see my daughter’s beautiful smile again, or hear her familiar laugh. As we prepared to deal with the days ahead I recalled the items that had been returned to us, following the accident: her wallet and sunglasses. As I looked through her wallet I noticed the little red heart on her ID and something in my head clicked. I knew that God had led me back to her wallet and at that point my husband, son and I knew exactly what we had to do. Kasey wanted to be an organ donor. This made our decision very easy once we realized that Kasey was not going to wake up. With the help and guidance of a kindhearted Lifeline of Ohio staff member, we prepared for Kasey’s organs to be donated.
After Kasey gave the “Gift of Life,” we wrote to her recipients. We knew Kasey was shining on and we wanted to let those people know about the incredible young woman who gave them their second chance at life. The following year proved to be more than incredible. We met Lucia from Lima. She was cured of her type 1 diabetes through the gift of Kasey’s kidney and pancreas. We were connected with Warren from Atlanta who was able to breathe easily with the help of Kasey’s donated left lung. We also connected with Ken from Arizona who was the recipient of Kasey’s other kidney. While we are still writing to the recipient of her liver, I have faith that one day, when the timing is right, we will be connected.
As a member of a donor family, the best advice I can give to other donor families is to start writing. Let the recipients know about the person who helped them shine on. For my family, seeing that Kasey was living on through other people was so comforting. We know it is what she would have wanted. I can just imagine her smiling, knowing what a difference she is making in these people’s lives.
Even before becoming a donor, Kasey was always willing to help out someone in need. I remember taking her, as a little girl, to buy toys for needy children around the holiday season. I would beam with pride every time she would carry them into our local fire station. To keep the tradition going, we have started an annual toy drive in her honor called “Kasey’s Gift.”It has grown so much in the last three years; we were able to collect more than 3,000 toys last year alone!
About a year after the accident, Mark and I decided to get involved with the same organization that allowed us to meet Kasey’s recipients.
We are both Ambassadors for Lifeline of Ohio and we encourage others to join the Ohio Donor Registry. Every time we tell Kasey’s story, we know we are planting the seeds about on the importance of donation. If we can dispel one myth, or even encourage just one person to register, we know that we are making a difference. We hope that when someone drives by her memorial at the corner of Bent Tree Blvd and Snouffer Road, or sits on the dedicated bench at Worthington Kilbourne High School, maybe they will think about the difference they can make. It is that little difference that is going to help Kasey’s memory continue to live on for years to come.
Although the last five years have not been easy, I know that I could not have done it without my son Bryan, my husband Mark, and our families. We each have our own way of grieving and it is by respecting each other’s different forms of grieving that we are able to make it though each day, each week, and each year.
I encourage those out there who are not already donors to please register today. The impact you could make in someone’s life can sometimes be too much to put into words. As a mother who has lost a child, I will say that knowing my daughter is living on in the lives of others is the best form of therapy I could ever ask for. I am comforted knowing that she is shining on and that fact alone gives me a ray of hope in a time of darkness.