I know he is. I can feel it. He is with me during finals, this last one on the day when he got a new lease on life. December 10, a day that, for my son and me, will live forever.
21 years ago today, I walked into the CVICU at Baptist Health, not knowing what to expect. There, I was surprised to see a man sitting up in bed, all pink and rosy, with a huge smile on his face, ready to once again face the world. I know I’m sentimental, but that’s me. I like being sentimental. It makes me remember very cool things and have those same feelings every time I think of them. This particular feeling was special then and still is today. It was the day that he knew he’d get to see his “little buddy” again. It was a Christmas miracle to the rest of us.
21 years ago today, I sat outside a hospital room, waving in at him. I couldn’t go in. He was on heavy doses of antirejection medication. Any little infection could have thwarted the good deeds done by the physicians, and the great gift granted by his donor family.
The guilt we felt is still present today. Knowing that somewhere a family was grieving the worst grief they could probably ever feel – the loss of a child – and knowing that that same day we were experiencing great joy – was very, very hard. It still is today. Time passes, and you’d think that you would not feel as strongly today as you once did, but I still do. I think about Ken just about every day. I wish I could call him up to brag about my grades – he would be so very proud. I will walk across that stage on May 18, knowing that somewhere, somehow, he helped me get there. I will dedicate that day to him.
He is with me during finals, I swear. I hear his voice, prodding me on. Much like the time that I said I couldn’t do the transplant organization newsletter anymore, he simply looked at me and said, “Yes, you can and you will. I need you to.” And I did. You didn’t argue with him. You just went along, and you never even felt bad about it. I swear he had Jedi powers.
I’m certain those Jedi powers will be with me later this week as I take on my next-to-last set of finals. I just know it. I can’t let him down, even when he’s not physically here.
Because, he will always be with me in spirit. I can feel it.