Waiting for my connecting flight home to Chicago,
I open Facebook to see
what I’ve missed, and what I’ve not,
& to pass the time.
I see a post from my sister-in-law Tina,
who has received a card
from the woman whose life was saved
by my nephew’s still-beating heart.
Imagine: writing a card like that
receiving a card like that
Thank you for my life, I guess.
Thanks to your son for my life.
I only received one card from Jackson
in his short life.
Also a thank you — after his high school graduation.
I’m pretty sure his girlfriend wrote it.
But I didn’t care. I laughed.
I had felt proud that day, picking up his cake from Tina,
setting up his party.
We hung his school pictures across the screened-in porch.
Jack was all smiles.
And now somewhere, maybe not so far from home,
this woman has his heart.
It is incredible.
I can’t begin to explain —
but it feels like the universe
flipped the script on us,
as I still remember the other side of this,
when my mother’s name was on top
of the transplant list.
One heart, two lungs:
like a lunch order that never arrives.
As I waited for that day that never came for mom,
I never understood, not fully, not until now,
what our family’s miracle would mean
now inside this stranger.
I think about her getting the call —
Do they still have those pagers? —
and the joy, the gift, for her, for her family,
as we were in hell.
It’s too much —
I can’t begin to grasp it —
but if I saw her, I wonder,
could I lean my head
against her chest
for just a moment —
just to believe —
to hear it —
my nephew’s gift,
Written 3.27.2022, in flight.