Last night I was at my brother's for Christmas Eve, a sibling family tradition that goes back for years and years. It was the first time we've seen each other since we got the good-to-go donation news and we celebrated in our usual laid back style: a high five. We're not demonstrative or overtly mushy—but it was a heartfelt hand slap. He then said, "Thanks. And I'm sorry."
He's been saying he's sorry since he first asked if I'd be tested. That's a family tradition too. I suppose its roots lie in jewish guilt but I'm sorry comes as easily out of our mouths as good morning. I apologize for not throwing a frisbee well, for my apartment being too messy (it's generally pretty neat), for not being as on top of things as I should.
As we sat in the transplant office, waiting and waiting and waiting during our initial visit, he apologized profusely. A lull in the conversation? I'm sorry filled the space. As we waited and waited and waited to have blood drawn (we ended up coming back the next day), he texted sorries too, even though we were sitting next to each other. I'm sorries for the delays, the far away doctor's office, the potential donation road I was contemplating, the traffic, the parking. Huge or tiny, he's sorry.
I asked him to please stop. I was there because I wanted to be.
And now I know, after getting the good match news, I'm here because I'm supposed to be.
I have been blessed in my life with amazing things. I am amazed, just about every day, at where I am. I have been married for 22 years to someone I'm still delighted to see every day. We both came from divorced homes and forged something as unbreakable as we possibly could. We brought kids into the world who are thoughtful, wise, challenging, delicious. We live in a lovely apartment in a fabulous neighborhood in NYC. I've worked on project after project that thrilled me. Wrote my dream book and put it out into the world. Had experiences I never would have, could have imagined. After so many years of being heart-breakingly lonely, of anorexia, crippling anxiety, insane self-doubt, I have extraordinary friends and an extended family I'm just getting to know and appreciate.
I am grateful for all that my life is.
And even more grateful that I can give something back.
In a bigger, more spiritual way (not that I often think that way so forgive me if I sound too hippy dippy), I feel like the universe brought me to this point. My time is relatively free, my schedule is open. My bike fall last fall taught me that I can go through pain and injury and heal to be just as strong as I was before.
From another point of view, what's the point of being here if you can't make an impact, a difference? We're on this planet for a very short time, and I'd rather mine be constructive than wasted. Having said that, I can spend more time browsing etsy and ebay than anyone should.
Jon, my husband, said years ago if you have a choice to do something or not to do it, always choose to do. That way you won't wonder or regret or live with what ifs. Way back when that was almost impossible for me to contemplate but it's become something that now comes far more naturally.
This is one to do that I wouldn't miss for the world.
No matter what happens, I'm thrilled to be on this journey. I know it will be hard, scary, anxiety-provoking, stressful, irritating. I know I'll be freaked out and second guessing. I know I'll be scared.
That's life. That's the journey. My journey.
No apologies necessary.