Epilogue: The Last Confesion

It was my 26th Birthday.

There was an unusual and almost autumnal breeze on that sunny birthday of mine. My family and I scurried as a pack through the Upper East Side avenues, weaving in between hurried New Yorkers and skipping over subway vents. I had no idea where my family and I were going. My Dad and Stepmom’s facial expressions revealed nothing, while my sister’s eyes twinkled like a little girl. She kept saying: “It is a surprise! It is a surprise!” to my pestering: “Where are we going?”

Finally, before us was a massive family Italian restaurant. It was infamous for oversized pasta plates drenched in rich red and chunky vine-ripened tomato sauce and crispy calamari drizzled with tart lemon juice. As soon as the menu was handed to me, my stomach gurgled over the wide assortment of pastas, pizzas, and breads. My family and I started on an abundance of crusty, warm bread and fruity and neon-colored drinks with umbrellas. We ate our way through bowls of pasta and seafood, patted our tummies, and could feel the beginnings of a food coma.

The royal purple ponytail holders that held my two plaited dangling long braids matched my swirled purple dress with turquoise beads. When I opened my sleepy eyes, my sister’s smoldered and mischievous eyes met mine. That is when I knew that another surprise was in store.

Before I knew it, a perfectly squared cut and large Tiramisu cake was presented before my very eyes with a single striped pink and white candle embedded in the center. As we aged, the candles became less and less. A higher number was somehow seen as a daunting truth that we were just inching closer to our demise when birthdays were a celebration of life and what was learned and experienced in that particular year. Another year older, and another year wiser. I felt wise beyond my 26 years and counting of life.

I met the eyes of my Dad, Stepmom, and sister who all stared back at me with bright and sparkly eyes that beckoned me to make a wish. They sang “Happy Birthday” along with the tall, dark-haired, stubble-faced, and handsome stranger waiters who clapped their hands and stuttered to remember my name in the song.

I grinned widely. I shut my eyes. The camera flash blinded me. This time, I did not make a wish. I could not make a wish, because I had everything I needed then with my family right by my side and at the pinnacle of good health.

This time around, I rewound to my years of life and living and asked myself as the flame of the candle tangoed back and forth that lured into a hypnotized trance: “Mary, if there was a way to take all your minefield of health episodes back or make them disappear as though they never existed, would you take it? If there was a way that I could wave a magical wand to have been born physically healthy without even knowing the word or the functions of the kidney, would I grab it? Do you want a different life? ”

The answer was as clear as that beautiful day of my 26th birthday: “Absolutely not.”

I was aged from one life experience after another. I was a child that found the most simple as the most special that made me giggle or laugh until my stomach hurt and I was breathless. I was a child at heart with an old soul. I was lucky and blessed to have learned so much in such a short amount of time that I was alive. I had fallen in love with my unpredictable and adventurous life that brought me joy, sorrow, anger, laughs, smiles, and tears. In life, everything happened for a reason, and yet sometimes there was no reason but to learn to take actions, live with those actions and decisions, and become better. Life was a combined balancing act force of fate throwing unexpected curveballs at us, but also taking what was given to us and soaring above and beyond with our very own choices and actions.

If I had never gone through and faced my health problems along with the social and familial ramifications, it would not have made me the person I was today. I understood now that nothing and no one defined me, but me alone. I only held a million and one blessings for my attained and maintained health, for these experiences that made me stronger, for my organ donors and their families and their own decisions that had kept me alive and living, for my family, for all the people I met, left, and stayed to teach me life’s greatest lessons as well as joined along on my journey through all my health battles, and for my desires and passions to help and do more for others and the world.

My one breath exhaled from my mouth blew out the flame. The flame vanished and an eruption of claps, cheers, and laughter deafened me. A single strand of smoke floated and disappeared into thin air.

My last confession is that I would not take back anything in my life, and that I would live every single painful and beautiful experience all over again to have met the people I met and learned the lessons I learned. Yet, there are still so many countless confessions that I can share with you, but for now and just for this moment, these are my truths. These are my stories and experiences. Please take with them what you will.

These were my confessions as a kidney transplant recipient.

August 31, 2008: My 26th Birthday

August 31, 2008: My 26th Birthday


Jennifer said...

OMG! I remember that picture! Wow hard to belive that was 4 years ago! A nice reflective ending Mare!

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing..

Anonymous said...

That was beautiful

Unknown said...

Transplantation is referred to as the "Gift of Life" because it saves lives and restores the quality of life for those who have been sick for a long time.
Kidney transplant

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Smith Clark said...

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Kidney transplant said...

Very inspiring story. Thanks for sharing your experience. This is truly a gift of life. Also kidney donors usually go on to live normal and healthy lives. Source : Kidney transplant

00kidney said...

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