Thursday, March 15, 2012

To whom it concerns

In my life, I have received correspondence of all kinds, written with a whole range of purposes. Love letters from boys who came and went; notes in my lunchbox from my mother, when I had been bold and she had been mad and both of us fools were regretful.

There have been letters of rejection from employers who didn't see it in me; scraps of paper passed in class, about the disco at the weekend or with the latest of who was shifting whom; many, many windowed envelopes with hospital appointments laid out inside.

I like getting letters. I like seeing a new email in my inbox. And I know of nobody who doesn't feel some small anticipation at the sound of the letterbox flapping in the morning. Something for my eyes only, from someone who thought me worthy of some words today.

In recent weeks, I have received a different type of correspondence from families who are strangers to me. Hearts broken, grief still clawing away at their door, they have found it within themselves to write.

One mum and dad told me of their son; another mum wrote to me of her daughter. Both young, both beautiful inside and out, both at the start, at the beginning of everything their lives should have held. Both now gone.

The sad stories that these two families have to tell have in common the decision to donate the organs of their children. In fact, in both these cases, the boy and the girl had made their wishes known in conversations with their parents before their donor cards were tragically transformed, from a good intention into a good deed done.

The correspondence from these parents has been welcome. They heard of me through my appearance in newspapers after my transplant. They have wished me well, and I know they mean it.

I have responded to them as best I can. Difficult to make the pen and paper connect and produce some thoughts that may comfort them, but writing back, and giving them the small happiness that comes from the receipt of a letter or an email, that is the least I can do.

I feel in some way as though I owe them, that I owe donor families the world over.

To be indebted like this though, it is no burden at all.


  1. Hi Regina,

    I'm writing from Sydney, Australia. I often listen to RTE podcasts on my daily walk along the harbour as I miss Ireland & enjoy listening to stories from home. Today I downloaded the documentary about you! My heart went out to you while listening to your story. I couldn't wait to get home so I could Google your blog and find out if your story had ended happily. I am so delighted to discover it did! I'm sure others waiting will take inspiration from your happy ending. How insignificant the little things really are....I will think of you the next time I moan!

    Wishing you well from down under x

    1. Eve - Thanks so much for listening to the doc, and then actually taking the time to check out the blog. The story did end happily! It has all gone really well so far, and I couldn't be better. As for moaning, I've already re-commenced my various daily tirades...on bad drivers, on crap telly, on work. But that is normal, and it is glorious!

  2. I am so happy to read this update on your blog!
    Thinking of you from Christchurch, New Zealand.
    Holly :)

    1. Holly - It's nice to be thought of by anyone, from anywhere :-) All is well, and long may it continue