Thursday, November 22, 2012
So yes, I'm thankful. So much so that it seems almost a weak tribute to write about it here. I want to magically appear before each person who contributed to saving my life and give them a big hug and tell each of them what it meant to me that they carried me when I needed them the most.
To God, whatever you may choose to believe that is. I've learned from coming face-to-face with the Other that in the end our own feeble definitions of That do not matter. Just know that It is there and there it love and grace for you waiting for you in this universe. All we need do is ask. I will no longer argue the subject of God with people in this life. I've experienced the Truth, and I have no more use for the politics of interpretation in this lifetime. God answered mine and your prayers in a very real and tangible way. Any one that doubts this Real Work is simply misinformed to put it diplomatically.
My donor. I hope to hear from his family soon, as it pains me to know they must be grieving on this day of all days. I hope to soon tell them how his sacrifice made a difference not only in my life but the lives of so many other who I know care about me, or who I've had a hand in saving indirectly through my Pat's Promise efforts. I want to welcome them into my tribe, which never shrinks but grows larger each day with each new soul I take into my heart.
My wife. She stood by me patiently as I lay dying, and fought every fight for me until the battle was won. She was brave and strong throughout, and continue to grow in that strength each day now that we are past that most terrible ordeal.
My wife's family for taking us in for four months while in Dallas. Without question or reservation, they opened their home and hearts to us, gave us safe refuge, and the calming levity of their wisdom and constant positivity.
My mother, who prayed with me and stayed by me until my gift was complete. May she soon find peace and fulfillment after the loss of my father last year.
To all my friends and family, near and far. Prayers, support, words of encouragement... how can I relate how I hung on each and every word, "like" or prayer. If anyone says social media is useless, I'd use your example from this spring... how I could feel you reaching out across the distance to send me your strength and love. Please do know that it saved my life, and each of you are forever in my heart.
To my Pat's Promise crew: Amy Holloway, Michelle Segovia, Mark Willenborg, Clayton Bullock, Elizabeth Franks Powell, Emily Torgerson, Scott Lawrence, Dave Chudnov, Dave Floyd, Woody Harrison, Julie Littlefield, Lem Bradshaw, Emily Meischen. Thanks you for all saying "yes" immediately to my crazy idea, and believing in the idea that I could make it work. We've had much success, and have a lot more ahead in the future. An update for all of you: Since the big event, Pat's Promise has participated in three speaking engagements to help promote organ donation, and Woody and I will be teaming with Michelle and the good folks at TOSA to film new PSA's starring Chief Acevedo and Councilman Mike Martinez.
Finally, to all my wonderful doctors and beautiful nurses on 14 Roberts, thank you for saving my life.
Brittany Gyger, Helen LieVan, Angela Conner-Green, Brooke Mack, and of course Leslie Cardona, among many others. Dr, Klintmalm, Dr. Guo, Brenda, Dr. McKenna, Dr. Testa, Dr. Oceloti, Dr. Mike? who carried my new liver down the hallway to its new home, and the whole crew.
So, I've been a bit quiet since the big Pat's Promise Day event. I realized I had not given myself any time to slow down, and so I've been trying to just enjoy my life and live simply for the past couple of months, getting used to my new body. I've tried to stay off the radar and just enjoy a quiet, fulfilling personal life without crisis for once. Something new to me is that I've been going to the gym quite regularly and am starting to get into Yoga classes. These things were never a possibility before my transformation, and now they are an essential part of my daily routine. Exercise, diet, and clean living are ensuring that I'll be bugging you with more of this sappy stuff for many, many years to come.
For the rest of this quiet and reverent Thanksgiving, which I'm spending alone (I'm out of vacation time. Imagine that!) I'll be writing long-overdue thank-you notes to a few select people, notable Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, who gave me my own official day in Austin. Flattering stuff to be sure. It seems appropriate to write thank-yous on this day of all days, don't you think?
I love you all and I hope you each have a blessed and wonderful day with friends and family. Or, if you're alone like me, spend some time reflecting on what you're thankful for. You may be surprised that
the abundance in your life is multitudes greater than the food on your table.