Yesterday, I mentioned sharing stories with my friends at lunch, back in school.
Well, it turns out that I will be exchanging stories with my best friend from school once again.
I met Bridget in the first grade, but her reputation preceded her. For the first week of school, to help us transition from kindergarten, they had us go half days only. I went in the morning, and Bridget went in the afternoon. When our classmates saw her nametag, they got all excited. (I never told Bridget this, by the way…) We both turned 7 in first grade–she had gone to pre-first the year before, and I had done developmental kindergarten two years prior. By the end of September, we were inseparable.
All through school, we played creative, dramatic games and wrote stories about people who were much more interesting than anyone we’d meet in real life. When we went camping, we pretended to be Russian and were convinced that we’d fooled everyone. Bridget was as confident about her identity as I was unsure of mine. Even in middle school, she was absolutely resistant to the pressure to conform, and never stooped down to the level of the bullies who constantly tormented us. She may be the only person in the world to emerge from those years with no regrets.
As we got older, we went our separate ways and ended up going to different high schools. We got back in touch shortly before she married her high school sweetheart. We did some double dates, and Bridget stood up in my wedding.
After my job took me up north, I heard through the grapevine that Bridget’s husband, Jason, had lymphoma. Later, my dad saw them at the store and learned that her husband was going to have a bone marrow transplant. He made it just days short of clearing the time period when rejection is no longer a threat, when he developed graft-versus-host. Three years ago, I heard that he was having lung problems as a result and only had a year to live.
We kept them in our prayers, and I posted a prayer request on Michigan Natural Parenting as well. Time went by, without much news, then my friends and family convinced me to join Facebook. I found Bridget there, and Jason was considering a double-lung transplant. They were always so upbeat, while facing a situation that would bring anyone to their knees.
When it did happen, I missed it. I was in Midland, last May, managing my mother-in-law’s Facebook account two days after her sudden, unexpected death (it was also the night I wrote this tribute), when I saw that Bridget’s husband was recovering well from his surgery.
We had donated Rob’s mom’s organs and tissues, so of course I had to do the math. The timing was not right for him to have received her lungs, but that really isn’t what matters. What matters is that another family made the same decision, through their tears and disbelief, and because of that, many families received that life-changing phone calls right before Mother’s Day. At the funeral, and at all the family gatherings surrounding it, we all expressed our desire to have our organs and tissues donated as well, when the time came.
So, as far as Bridget and Jason were concerned, there were frequently new pictures on Facebook, with him becoming healthier in each one. Now they are looking into adoption, and I can’t think of a couple who deserves children more that they.
And, yes, Bridget and I will be exchanging stories again, and you are invited to read about both of our adventures! I am adding her new blog, Living a Life Inspired, to my blogroll. Be sure to check it out! Bridget and her husband have seen their share of storms, and I guarantee you’ll be inspired my her faith, her kindness, and her inner peace.