I’d been soooo excited for weeks about speaking to 9th graders as a school in Scottsdale. Sometimes I miss being in the classroom (I taught middle & high school for 6 years) but I doubt I would ever go back to teaching. They kids were great and seemed to actually pay attention. I was hoping for more questions, but they were probably shy. Or shocked.
As I was getting ready to drive up there, though, I got a call from my mom. My parents are in NY right now on vacation visiting friends and relatives from my hometown. I rarely listen to her voicemail; I just call her back as soon as I get a chance. It’s a voicemail I will now never, ever erase.
She told me that the night before, my cousin Sara was found hanging in her closet. She had had a fight with her boyfriend (who I told her to ditch 6 months ago) and luckily, he called my aunt to have her go check on Sara. My aunt got there and found Sara. She had hung herself. Her heart wasn’t beating & she wasn’t breathing. My aunt performed CPR, got her breathing, but she stopped again and was revived when the paramedics got there. Once at the hospital, they induced her into a coma & put her body on ice. I guess lowering the temperature is done often, but I am not really sure why. She is not breathing on her own. She also had a heart attack. When they tried raising her body temperature, she started having seizures, so they are gradually lowering her medications. I am not entirely clear on all the details.
Sara is not even 25 yet. I remember the day she was born. My grandmother used to sing this song “Sara” to her by Jefferson Airplane, or whatever their name was at the time. I’m so sad. My family is very small. My father had no brothers or sisters. Sara is the daughter of my mom’s younger brother. In all, there are only 8 of us cousins in the family. There were 9, but my cousin David died almost 20 years ago when he was struck by lightning playing golf.
I am trying not to find blame, and I have a lot of it I *could* use. Right now, I feel a rock in my stomach and I haven’t stopped crying, except for when I had to present last night. It’s been tough. I keep going to her Facebook page and seeing the postings from her friends. I so want her to be ok, but I am trying to prepare myself for the worst. I can’t.
Sara was a really shy kid. We called her “Sara Loo-hoo” because she looked just like one of the kids in the Grinch cartoon. I so wanted to hold her when she was little! She was definitely the darling of the family!
I want nothing more than for her to be ok and get the help that she so desperately needs. I’m angry, too. I am trying to put that aside, though, and send positive vibes. It’s killing me. I don’t know the last time I felt such sadness. I don’t get sad often, but this is hitting me pretty hard.
My Friday started on another emotional note: Our story was featured on The Today Show. They flew out a couple weeks before the surgery and they were present at Mayo the day of & the day after the surgery. Seeing the story on TV brought on the waterworks. Donating has been the biggest thing in my life! The support from the airing was IMMENSE! I’ve gotten messages on Facebook & Twitter from perfect strangers, all positive. I just hope that our story inspires others to do the same. I never knew how much live organ donations were needed. This whole experience has been amazing!
I presented at Ignite Phoenix last night. Holding my emotions in, I did a pretty good job. I had been wanting to present for a couple years and I finally got the opportunity to present on the kidney transplant. It was only 5 minutes, but from the feedback I got, it really impacted a lot of people. One girl came up to me after and told me her father had gotten a kidney (cadaver) 22 years ago! He’s the 2nd longest living recipient from the hospital where he had the surgery. I’m amazed!
The support & love I’ve gotten from everyone from friends to strangers has been overwhelming. I don’t know how I would have gotten through all of it without all the special people out there. I am truly lucky!
So, it’s been a crazy week. I plan on staying in tonight, keeping busy with housework and regular work. I need an Amy day. And I’m hoping I don’t get the dreaded phone call with really bad news from my mother.
I love you, Sara. Stay strong. We’ll all be here for you!!!
Update: My mother just called, and Sara passed away. They have decided to donate all her organs…because of me donating my kidney. In some small way, what I’ve done will save more lives than just TinyMom’s.
RIP, Sara. I will miss you so very, very much.
My grandmother started singing this, we all followed: