To My Donor

ROSE COLORED MASK - Kathleen Sheffer

I took your heart and lungs to Half Moon Bay and I walked through the sand like there was nothing to it. My body remained unfazed as I sunk my feet into uneven mounds of heavy sediment. Lacy white layers of foam flowed across my path and eventually flooded my sneakers when I was caught trying to photograph the hundreds of pelicans that were attacking the surface of the water. The sky was that deep blue color you only get on perfectly clear days and the breeze was strong enough that I didn’t mind the warm weather that greeted my fog-hunting hiking companions and me. I took deep breaths, letting the fresh air fill your lungs and then I began to cry. This will sound platitudinous, but in that moment I realized I would not be standing there without your gift. The realization of how close I came to death hit me again with new power. Because of your generosity, I stood in my soggy running shoes, the sun warming my tear-stained face as I stroked one of several vaguely heart-shaped rocks I hoarded in what became a very heavy purse in the short time it took to walk along the tide pools.

Your heart and lungs and I have spent a lot of time irritable and in pain. I have felt ungrateful and unworthy. Transplant inherently comes with tremendous loss, but it seems that every day now I discover something beautiful made possible only by our surgical merge. Continue reading 

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