We finally got to write the donor family a letter. Each of us wrote one. Here is mine.
Dear Donor Family:
I am a 23-year-old college student. You don't know me and most likely never will. I do want you to know that I think every single day of your loved one. I'm sorry you had to lose them.
The day my dad got his liver was one of the happiest of my life. But in the back of my mind I knew that as happy as my day was, yours was just that bad. I'm so grateful that in your time of hurt you were thinking of others. Of course you didn't have my dad specifically in mind, but you helped him, specifically, nonetheless.
I've thought about what I could say to you ever since my dad received the liver. Thanks seems so entirely inadequate. So I thought maybe I could just try to paint the picture of what it means to me.
The relationship between my father and I has not always been healthy. We had our problems. But when he became ill we got everything out of the way. We were able to admit things that both of us did wrong. Finally gaining that relationship with my dad, every part of me wanted to keep him here to make up for, I guess you'd say, lost time.
My dad was totally emaciated. He weighed 105 pounds when he got the liver. He would slip into comas at our house and I would have to carry his frail, unconscious body out to the car, while my mother and baby sister watched and cried. He was constantly hooked up to tubes, throwing up and generally in agony. We spent Christmas in ICU opening our presents around him. He was barely able to speak. He just cried.
Now he is healthier than I've ever seen him. We wear the same clothes and I'm 23. He works out for hours on end. He knows he's been given a great gift and tries to live worthy of it. He takes care of himself. I don't know if that's a consolation to you but there it is.
I haven't been told much about your loved one, but I think part of them carries on in my dad. He has changed so much since the operation. Little things: He now likes to shop and before hated it, He loves chocolate, He takes interest in smaller details where before he wasn't concerned.
If nothing else I just want you to know you really changed an entire family. I'm sorry, again, for your loss. But because, in your time of loss, you thought of others, we didn't have to lose my dad. I love you and hope the best for you. I hope these letters help rather than hurt. You gave us something amazing and priceless and all we have to give are these letters and our sincere thanks.
With every part of me, Thank You,