March has always been a month of anticipation – the one that follows the longest yet shortest month of the year, February. February tends to be bleak and dark with a side of rainy leaving in it’s a wake no vitamin D and an attitude of gloomy (well at least for me). By February, I am generally over winter and so I await with eagerness for March to arrive.
March doesn’t mean warmer per se but generally sunshine replaces the gray. With the sunshine, the first sprouts of spring revealed, daffodils begin to stand upright, and the first blossoms begin springing (pun intended) forth signifying a change is coming.
Three years ago, March 2020, change swept my city in the way of a tornado and then our country and the globe with a pandemic – these were not welcomed by the way. But the other change for my family specifically was we receive “the call.”
The call to tell us that our son now had a match, a match that would save his life, a match that not only changed the course of direction for my family but also the family who faced the indescribable and excruciating decision to save my son.
So now March, for me, still represents everything as before bringing with it anticipation and excitement, but I am also reminded of the fragility of life. Last year and this, the word fragile has bounced around my mind like a basketball on a court. Fragile can hold a few different meanings depending on how you use the word but for me I see life as fragile through a lens of not being taken for granted.
It’s easy to get into a routine and be swept into the mundane and unexciting necessities of life but the month of March reminds me that I could just as easily argue that even in the monotonous we could still find joy and create a memory because the hard truth that we so often forget is we are not promised tomorrow. We simply do not know what tomorrow holds.
Throughout scripture we can find such reminders. King Solomon instructs us in Proverbs 27:1 “do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth”
On Wednesday March 2nd (this year), I was feeling jubilant and full of praise. I was walking Luna and praying as I so often do each morning, and my prayers were those of thanksgiving. I was remembering that two years ago March reminded me that seasons change and making it to March spurred hope within me. I would dream of holding Townes and watching the birds feed at the feeder, I would long for walks outside with the sun on our face and the smell of honeysuckle in the air. So, I was thankful to be reminded of the beauty that surrounds us and to the simplicity of enjoying the moment.
The next day, Thursday, started off as any “ordinary” day would. I got myself and Townes ready for the day, kissed Scott bye and even made it to my office (thankfully) in record time. Shortly after arriving, our assistant received a call, a call that has changed everything for us at my office and left a huge gaping hole.
I work in a very small office – there was only four of us. We are all very close and we have watched each other battle various things throughout the years. One of our colleagues had begun the process of stepping away prepping to retire and therefore was only around on a limited basis, but he was still very much connected. He was an important part of our dynamic. We could always count on him to find the sunny side in things and his heart made of gold. His wit was unmatched and his humor clever but dry. Many nights I would be sitting on the sofa and start laughing, Scott would immediately reply, well what did Tony text. Even he knew.
We learned that Tony went to sleep the night before and never woke up. The medics believe he suffered a pulmonary aneurism. So at least for him, it was peaceful – he woke up in the presence of Jesus and one thing I know for sure, is Tony had Jesus in stitches with his jokes.
So, I have been reminded just how fragile and easily broken life as we know it can be – we had all just had some amazing laughs two days prior. We never even considered that would be the last time. And in my case, I don’t think I even realized how much I loved Tony until now the opportunity to tell him has passed.
While I think of our donor family often, now with every March that follows “the call”, my heart and soul laments for them. I cannot imagine their pain, their grief, the path they have been traveling these last two years. While we do not know much about what happened to our donor, we do know what it was tragic.
Tragic encompasses words like sudden, unexpected, unthinkable, abrupt, unprepared, unconceivable, and unimaginable to name a few. This March my heart wrestles all the more with the journey of our donor family. As I process a sudden loss of my own, I simply cannot fathom the chasm the loss of their child created.
As we approach the two-year mark of Townes heart transplant, I ask again that you pray for our donor family. Pray for a continued peace and for healing in the loss. That memories of their child will flood their hearts and bring joy to their souls. And if, they do not know Jesus that a person would be put in their path with an opportunity to teach them about the greatest and kindest person to ever live.
I believe Jesus is the only answer for unexplainable events. Allow me to be clear here, Jesus is not responsible for the evil, disease, brokenness, depression, and darkness we experience on this earth. No, that responsibility falls on the ruler of the world who deceived Adam and Eve in the beginning (See Genesis 3).
We must stand with certainty that Jesus, our Savior, will provide the answers when we need them, compassion when we grieve, and healing when it’s time. The Bible is our proof that he takes our grief, pain, disappointment, joy, and triumphs and creates something beautiful. God restores and he redeems – what great news! Romans 8:28 gives us that hope, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (NLT).
We are gifted this hope because of the single greatest defining moment in history: When Jesus Christ willingly suffered humiliation, torture, and an excruciating death on the cross for you and for me. He was blameless, we are not. He is holy, and without him, we are not. (Matthew 27; Luke 23).
On Monday (21st), we head to Vanderbilt for another heart biopsy for Townes. Originally the plan was for Townes to have another at the three-year mark (2023) but in November our transplant team decided they wanted to schedule him at year two. We believe this is precaution and ultimately nothing has changed, and we thank God ahead of time for the results illustrating no sign of rejection are present. As you stood in faith with us for the last two years, we ask you again to fill the gap.
In the meantime, I am going to soak up every minute with Townes over the next few days even when his little two tantrums pop up out of nowhere. We are going to play outside and throw the ball for Luna. Maybe we will head to the park and do some of his favorite things.
Townes has recently started wanting to walk Luna which is adorable although also nerve racking; thankfully (so far) Luna has behaved. He is running faster now which at times causes a few bumps and bruises and he loves to create his own games (although a quick tantrum follows if we – Scott and I – do not get with the program). His throwing and kicking skills keep improving and a no balls in the house rule may come into effect sooner rather than later. Construction trucks now his obsession.
I can never repay the gift we have received and even during these ups and downs there is so much life to appreciate and enjoy. And if I have been reminded of anything, life is fragile and short and sometimes the unexpected happens. We don’t know what tomorrow holds so let’s do our best to be present today and with thanksgiving rejoice in the blessing that surround us especially in a world that feels so bleak.
P.S. Townes turned TWO in February and he went on his first international trip to the Bahamas in January. We had a blast and he loves sand castles!