Since my bone marrow donation in October, I hadn’t heard anything about how my recipient was doing. Paulette from Be The Match said this happened sometimes, that no news was good news, that we might hear something at the 6-month mark. I resigned myself to not knowing anything about her, other than her age and disease, hoped for the best regarding her recovery, but prepared for the worst should I get an unfavorable update somewhere down the road.
But yesterday, I received a welcome surprise: Paulette called and told me that my recipient had send me a letter and small package, and that “because of the language” I would be able to figure out where my recipient was from. Since knowing those sorts of details before the allotted time period is a no-no, Be The Match had to approve sending the package on to me, and had to black out some specific information that would give away more information that they thought appropriate at this point in time.
In a matter of minutes, I learned that my recipient was not only alive, but doing well enough to put a letter and package together. Not only that, she wasn’t from the United States as I thought, but from another country. When my cells were rushed to the airport, they caught an international flight to points unknown! I was overwhelmed with happiness at these developments. To know that my recipient was alive and relatively well is, well, I just don’t have words.
This morning, I received a FedEx envelope at work containing a typed letter (with names of towns and people blacked out). I started to read the letter out loud to Mr. Awesome over the phone, but I couldn’t finish because I started to get all teary. It’s one thing to think about how my recipient is doing. It’s another to read what she thinks about my contribution. Her words are ones that are burned into my heart, and as much as she tells me I have done for her, she has done just as much for me.
It’s clear from the letter that English is not my recipient’s first language, but it didn’t give away any country of origin. However, included with the letter was a Christmas card and small wooden ornament:
Hmm… what language is that? Maybe there’s more inside…
It’s German! My recipient is from Germany!
The text is from a poem by German poet Arno Holz. Here is the Google translation:
And now again be in the dark,
the stars twinkle their Christmas
Thr lights illuminated even every home
and the Christ Child tells out the gifts.
I took a minute to read a little about Arno Holz. He was fascinated with the work of Charles Darwin and believed it was scientifically possible to eliminate subjectivity from art. He summarized this philosophy in the following formula:
Art = Nature – x, where “x” is the materials needed to produce art
While I don’t agree – I believe art is based on subjectivity and it’s value is derived from the emotional impact is has on a participant – I respect the attempt to quantify such a broad idea.
My patient wants to meet me someday. I would like to meet her, too. Perhaps we could talk about life and art and nature. Or we could just hug each other and be happy for one another’s existence.
I have a little scar just above my clavicle from the central line, and whenever I think about my patient, I reach up and touch it and send a good thought into the universe for her. The scar is my badge of honor, a reminder of my experience and how fragile we all are. I send good thoughts into the universe for my patient a lot. I like to think it helps her heal. I know it helps me. Maybe one day we can talk about that, too.
(This is a cross-post with my not-so-foodie site, Sit. Stay. Good Blog. It’s important, so I want as many people to learn about bone marrow donation as possible.)