Megan Riley had a 4-year-old daughter who loved life, dancing, and her family. The connection was strong from the moment her daughter was born. She had dreams for her daughter, hopes and wishes and plans for the next 50 years that included all of the happiness that life had to offer. And then one day, tragedy struck…
Even in just four short years, I have several memories with my daughter that I know I will never forget. I can still remember the feeling of joy I felt when I seen her for the first time. I can remember how immediate and unquestionable that love was. I can remember how her father was scared to hold her because he thought he might break her.
I can remember how excited she would be over eating her favorite meal and the way her face would light up when she would open a present. I can remember the way she would dance around the house singing her favorite songs and the her constant insistence on not wearing pants.
My daughter truly was my best friend and if soul mates actually exist I believe she was mine. She was just like me, very particular about every little thing and such a goofy little person. Her happiness depended on my happiness. She would say to me , ” Mom, are you happy?” And I would say, “Yes. I am happy.” Her little face would just light up and she would smile. “Good,” she would reply.
We were getting to the parts of her life that I had always been excited about. I enrolled her in dance classes and cheerleader. I planned to put her in piano lessons after her fifth birthday. I loved all these things. I loved how much pride she would feel when I praised her dance skills. I loved being that Mom sitting at her cheer competitions and would day dream about a shelf full of trophies as she continued with it.
I can also remember every detail of the final days. I can remember the sound of my sobs when we found her not breathing as I begged her to wake up. I remember how tightly her father held my hand as we slept in her hospital room knowing it would be our last night with her. I remember the look on the nurses face and the way she couldn’t seem to get the words out when she was there to inform us that it was time to take her for her surgery and off life support.
One moment in particular I remember most often, lately. It was when we were saying our goodbyes and I placed my hand on her chest to feel her heart beat. I had mixed feelings between sorrow and joy. The sorrow of it being the last time I would feel it in her body and the joy knowing it was going to continue beating in someone else’s. I kept thinking about someone else’s parent standing over their child as I was now with their hand on that chest feeling that heart beat and feeling such happiness.
It is hard to find any positivity from this experience, but knowing that we were saving lives and bringing happiness to families who had been hoping for the day they would get the call that there was a match brought me comfort. It is a feeling that is hard to describe.
To those families, I hope that you know how much love came with those organs. I made that heart, that liver, those kidneys and they are worth more than anything to me. The little girl who used to have them was the most beautiful person. She was full of life and filled mine with happiness every day. She was smart and witty and she had a personality that made the world a brighter place. Take care of those organs. Take care of that child who received them and cherish every moment you have with them. I hope whomever those recipients are that they live a long, happy life and they don’t take a second for granted. Maybe if they are lucky a little bit of my daughters spunk will stick with them.”
This brave mom did something that seems impossible to those of us who haven’t lost children…she said goodbye to her precious daughter, but knows that out of the greatest sorrow, her daughter’s organs were able to help so many other children keep on living. It’s a small consolation, and one that will never truly fill the hole that her daughter left behind. But Megan is adamant to spread the word about organ donations and has since taken her story to anyone who will listen.
In order to remember her daughter, Megan decided to get a tattoo of her little girl’s thumb print onto her right hand – where she will be able to hold it forever and remember that her sweet little angel is always by her side!
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