November 21, 2020
Robert was a 36-year-old who had a smile that could light up any room he walked into. He loved life, worked hard and had a zest for love, life, God and his circle of family and friends.
My son Robert was a 36-year-old, thin, very active young man. Over the course of his life, he had battled some addictions with drugs and alcohol and would do well for some periods of time and then would have some slip-backs and succumb to his addictions again. He was very active as he was a carpenter by trade and worked long hours weekly.
In November 2020, the day after Thanksgiving, he got up with a headache and was later found unresponsive. Tragically, he suffered a massive stroke. Robert had made the decision to be an organ donor and had made that public knowledge on his birthday in August prior to his stroke. The wheels of emotion and grief began to turn and churn in our lives and bodies. Although, we hated to part with such a loving son and kind soul, we knew Roberts wishes and with his work ethic, activity level, love for life, and personality we knew what had to happen and we must let him go and carry on with his desire for organ donation. I don’t think that was ever not an option for us to donate or to second guess what he would have desired.
Vanderbilt and TN Donor Services helped us through the entire process and led us, making that happen with love, respect and kindness, and there has not been a day of regret on our part. I know through Robert’s decision and love for life he has given hope and a second chance to someone that might not otherwise have had that time to spend with those they love. I am grateful for Robert’s life, heart and love for his fellowman, and because of his decision to follow Christ when he was 8 years old, that I can see and spend eternity with him when my time here is done. I too will be an organ donor.
TN Donor Services and their staff locally have become an extension of friends and family to us, and I am eternally grateful for their leadership, love and Grace that is portrayed when handling families that might not be at a good place when faced with the talk of organ donation. I pray that God will use me to give hope to others through the grief of losing a child and that I might give understanding and love to another family during a difficult time and build a network connection for life and love.
Many donor families find that corresponding with the transplant recipient or recipients can be a powerful experience. Donor families can take comfort in sharing stories and sending well wishes to those who live on because of their loved one.
Should you choose to connect, we're here to help. Letters and cards can be a tremendous gift to both the donor families and recipients. To protect everyone, we provide guidelines for communication. Names remain confidential unless both parties agree to share those with one another, and we provide a correspondence address. We are happy to share sample letters to help you get started.
For more information about corresponding with recipients, please call us at 615-564-3649.
When you register as an organ, eye and tissue donor, you leave a lasting legacy and bring hope to those waiting.
To access the National Registry, click here.