Caring For His Heart

My husband and I met 3 years and 2 months ago. We found out on our first date that we had an interesting connection. He is a heart transplant recipient and I am part of a donor family. 

My stepsister, Lorraine, suffered from a horrible disease. Addiction. This illness took her on June 23, 2010. She was 24 years old. While she was on life support, my stepfather, John, was able to understand what the local OPO (organ procurement organization, Gift of Life from Philly) was asking the family. She was brain dead. She was hooked up to machines that were keeping her body alive but she was already gone. We were waiting to say goodbye. They were asking if her organs could be used to save the lives of others. John told the family that this is what Lorraine would have wanted. So John and Lorraine’s mother said yes. Lorraine was given rest and another chance. A legacy. 

After many health struggles that are another story, my husband, Derek, was in heart failure for 7 years. He received a new heart, someone else’s heart, on the same day that his doctors thought he might not live another 24 hours. He was given another chance. While his family celebrated this miracle at his bedside, Derek’s mind wandered to another place. Somewhere there was a family gathered around their lost loved one. They were crying and saying goodbye. And they had decided to make their loved one a hero. Give them a legacy. Save a life. 

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Rocking Chair Moments

Chairs and Table Overlooking Great Smoky Mountain National Park at SunsetI believe I am going to live until at least my late 80s or longer. I don’t know if it’s true but I believe I will. And I will sit in my bright turquoise rocking chair. And even though I will be healthy and will take lots of walks, still hike, ride my bike, probably play bingo with friends while wearing a color coordinated track suit, my favorite thing to do will be to sit in this rocking chair. 

That chair is where I will look back on everything and everyone in my life.  Continue reading

Leave Everything In This Room

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The soft ocean breeze hits my body and whispers to me to relax (shhhhhh). I can hear the seagulls. They are softly telling me to keep my eyes closed and just breathe (hushhhhh). There is no place I would rather be. The sound of the… bull horn. That’s a bullhorn. That is a loud freaking bull horn. What the hell is going on? I feel myself being pulled from my beach chair into the air toward that crazy, uncomfortable sound. Why am I going up? Why am I …

Oh. It’s my alarm. It’s 4:30am. Time to make the donuts. If you don’t know what that means, it means I’m old.  Continue reading

A Needed Finish: Women’s Philadelphia Triathlon Race Report

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You know how certain things in life can feed your soul? For me those moments are usually things I do to help others. Yesterday was the first time that I felt that way about something that was really just for me. I competed in (well, “participated in” is probably more accurate) the Women’s Philadelphia Triathlon (PHLTRI). It wasn’t the most challenging race I’ve ever done and it won’t be the most challenging race I will do this year. It was, however, one of the most fun races and 100% the most soul feeding. I needed this finish. Ever since the New York City marathon last year, I have had a string of very painful and very discouraging training and racing moments. I DNF’d a race this year for the first time in my life. Twice! Every day was a new pain and a new challenge. I am used to pain. After breaking my back Continue reading

What if you knew?

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“Wow. That’s pretty brave to start something like that.”

I didn’t know this guy at all really and certainly not well enough for him to make such a judge-y statement about my new relationship. I didn’t respond because I didn’t know what he meant. It took me maybe a month and then I remembered and realized what he meant. In hindsight I think it’s a good thing because it was a pretty shitty thing to say. My response would not have been how I really feel and would not have helped. I am also glad it did not cause me to over think what I was, in fact, “getting into”. I tend to overthink a lot (as evidenced by the fact that I am still thinking about this guy’s statement years later). Continue reading