(Click on the picture to get a better view)
This is at the last "Heart to Heart" get together for heart transplant recipients of Emory and Egleston around Valentine's Day 2008. Mary went to every one that Danny went to. Danny only went because Mary would go. We all squished into Danny's little truck (mine now), Mary and I sitting on the fold out chair flaps behind Tony and Danny. The first H to H we ever went to there were probably 20 recipients and 25 staff. This time there was probably over 75 and a one man had his heart for over 18 years.
January 2nd this year when they called us to come down to Emory because they had a heart that looked like a good match, they called Mary and Tony's house first. Danny was up there for New Years and he had just gotten back home around midnight. She was SOOOOOOOOOOO excited. Emory called us and Neile told me she had just gotten off the phone with Mary. While Neile was talking to Danny I was gathering the video camera and other stuff thinking that Mary was getting ready too. A few minutes after Danny hung up, the phone rang again. It was Mary and she said, "Weeeeeeelllllll..... did they call you?" I said yes. She said, "Why didn't you call ME?". I told her I thought she already knew. She said, "But, I wanted to hear it from you. I knew you'd be SO excited."
Saying we were all "excited" doesn't quite mean excited in the way it normally does. Glad the wait is over, yes. Glad Danny will get his active life back, yes. But deep down, the knowledge that someone had died to give us this, pretty much puts a BIG damper on the excitement. All the way down to Emory little tears were rolling off my face. Danny put his arm around me because he knew what I was thinking. Unfortunately, the heart was not meant for Danny. Julie called Mary and caught her coming through Helen and told her to turn around.
Now, I only wish we could understand the feeling of giving life to someone else. That would have been the one and only thing in this world that might have made a difference that night. I tried so hard to talk the people in NC into taking something of Mary. Some little bit of her that would remain alive in this horribly dark world. They didn't have the heart (!) to tell me how badly injured she was until much later.
There will always be "if only's" from now on I'm sure. But this will be one of the hardest to completely accept. Danny getting a new heart was the 2nd most important event Mary was waiting for. Getting married was the first.