Sunday, July 2, 2017

July 3rd

July 3rd will always be a day that is difficult in many ways. It is also a day that I want to honor and celebrate a life well lived. A day to laugh. A day to remember a husband, father, son, friend, and incredible person, who made his mark on this world in 42 short years.

His heart for others and the way he encouraged others to be the best they could be, continues to be known and shared by those who were fortunate enough to be the recipient of it. I even just heard from someone a few weeks ago who did not know that he died, but shared the impact he had on him, just as they spent time on the Fellowship Bible Church "parking team" on Sunday mornings.

I'm not going to lie...we are sad. We long for him to be here. If I were really honest, I get mad at him sometimes for leaving me alone to raise these boys, while he gets to bask in the glory of Heaven. I need his wisdom, direction, and input on so many parenting issues. Most of all, I just want him here to share in the joy and heartache that comes with parenting our boys. All week we have just been in a little bit of a yucky place. There have been tears, especially at night, and questions of why it has to be this way.

Tomorrow is a day that we hold sacred and our plan is to visit his gravesite. They don't love to go there and I don't force them to go, but July 3rd is a day that we all just sense that unspoken need to go. They actually have asked if we were going. I think being there (even though it is not often) continues to help with closure in a lot of ways for them. Thankfully, we know his soul is not "there."

Rod Cook's greatest wish was to live a life that had an impact between the "dash" of February 13, 1971, and the day of his death. I would say that he certainly did. In fact, in true fashion, he made an impact even after his death to those who benefitted from his organ donations.

(As a side note for anyone who might be reading this....please talk to your loved ones about this. It's so important. I truly consider it a gift that I knew exactly what he wanted and that he made it clear. It is not a decision you want to be considering in the midst of your shock and grief).

I found the letter from Tennessee Donor Services today, and along with sharing information about the individuals who received life-giving organs from him, I was reminded that he made history in the state of Tennessee, as the 1st person to ever donate his lungs after cardiac death. I was also reminded of the many people waiting for lungs on the transplant list and how hard it is to place this. Her letter stated, "Because of Rod's donation of lungs after a cardiac death (DCD), the opportunity to place lungs from DCD patients will now open the door for more lives to be saved in the coming months and years."

Here is what I know of the man whose life he saved with his lungs...he was 69 years old, had 4 grandchildren who he deeply enjoys, He is a retired nuclear data analyst. He also served in the Army and National Guard. I hope one day to meet him!

Thankful that this is NOT our home and hoping for more joy than tears, as we remember him tomorrow! God is still good!

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