Since Toby died we have had loads of cards and letters, quite unbelievable really. We have kept them all as each one is telling us that somebody cared very much and this is important to us. Many people wrote saying that they did not know what to say. Well the words themselves did not matter, it was the acknowledgement of what had happened and our pain that was important.
Some letters have, however, been more powerful than others. Amongst these have been the ones from people that we know who have also lost children but never told us before. We got another such letter this week. These letters always ring so true with us as the writers share thoughts and feelings with a depth of understanding that only a shared experience can give. It is very hard to describe the multiple layers of loss. It is that baby I gave birth to and promised to keep safe, it is that failure as a parent to keep that promise, it is that teenager on the brink of an exciting life that he will now not have, it is all the things that he wanted to do and be that will never happen, it is all the dreams we had for Toby that will never come true, it is the teas I will never make, the room I can no longer tidy, the laughter that I can not hear again. It is the fact we will now never be grandparents, we will not visit Toby in his house, spend Christmas with his family, we will not be able to talk to our friends with pride about all his achievements as he gets older. He will not be able to look out for us in our old age. It is that our lives have changed so much and we can never go back to how they were. It is that desperate need to keep the memories, to keep Toby alive in the only way that we now can.I understand now why people who loose children say that you never get over it, its that you never want to because to do that would mean that I had to forget.
Another letter we received recently was from one of the recipients of Toby’s gift of life. An 8 year old boy who now takes care of Toby’s kidney. I use the words ‘take care’ deliberately as it was one of the things he wanted to reassure us he would try his very best to do. That was so very important for us to hear. To know directly of the difference Toby’s gift has made was extremely powerful stuff. It had me in floods of tears but also left me with a sense of calm and re-assurance, I can stop worrying about it now, well for a while at least. I do worry about them all you know, I can not help it, they carry my boy with them in all they do. I often wander about what they are doing, what they will achieve that they never could have without Toby. Its not Toby I know but its a part of him and its the best that we can do.
#tobysgift #havethediscussion #organdonation