Thursday, April 3, 2014

Our sister, the hero

Today is a guest post from my sister, Lindsey. This post is about our oldest sister, Leigh Ann, and an honor our family received in her memory this week. Lindsey was there and can say it much more beautifully than I. So I'll let her take it from here...

A scab was torn off Tuesday as I attended a ceremony honoring my sister, along with many others, who chose the selfless gift of organ donation in hopes that lives would be saved. 

My great grandmother passed away only months before the tragic accident that took my sister's life. 
She and I rode from the graveside service together and "just happened" to start talking about organ donation. 
It had never come up, strangely enough since I felt like we knew everything about each other. We both agreed that organ donation was something we wanted to commit to, thinking this would be something we put on our drivers license so all would see when we passed in another 80 years, at a time our organs would probably not be of much use. 
However, if a life could be saved, why not! 

Well, it was God. He brought the topic up and lead to openness on both ends and it, in retrospect, was a timely conversation. 
I never dreamed Leigh Ann would be taken from this world at age 23. It is a good thing I didn't know this in advance. I probably would have stopped living at that point because, as I wrote her in a poem a few years before on her birthday, "without you, I could never be".

She was my best friend and sister- only 15 months separated our birthdays. We were close. Extremely. I was told just the other day, "When people thought of your parents, they thought of the 3 of you girls (my sisters and me) as a whole. You were all close and always together."
That statement pegged us. 
I remember walking arm and arm into church on Sundays, probably being a little silly but portraying how our relationship was. Sure we had our moments, but we had each others backs. And we knew it.

You don't know what you can get through until it happens. 
Her death was a pivotal point in my life. 
There are 3 reasons I made it through:
-Supernatural strength ("not the brute strength but the glorious inner strength that comes from Jesus" - from Colassians and Ephesians).
-Tangible peace ("if in this world you will have troubles, but I leave you my peace, that where you are, I will be there also")
- Hope ("death where is your sting? I have conquered death and defeated the grave", says The Lord)

Tuesday, the local hospital that served her as a patient in her last moments on earth, had a ceremony honoring her As an organ donor. They established a "wall of fame" to honor the Heros that made the selfless gift of organ donation.

Because of her decision to donate, 3 of her organs we used to bring healing to 3 different people. 
As you can read in the article below, one of these would have died within 24 hours without a transplant. 
Her life lost was other lives saved. 

After the ceremony, the families and friends of the donors met in front of the hospital where The LOPA (Louisiana Organ Procuremwnt Agency) raised a flag in their honor that will fly high for the month. 

It was a hard day full of emotion, but I felt like Leigh Ann was honored. 
So, for my family and me, it was worth it. 

Feel free to Read the article at: 

Also, last week I was able to share a small part of my testimony at church. Not so much about loss or grief but about the role my faith and the church played in my life during that time. 
It was quick and, to me, not much , but if it blessed anyone, it was worth it. 
The statement I made that I would repeat to anyone willing to listen is that we know hard times will come, but waiting until they do isn't the time to develop  faith in The Lord. It is because I had a church family and my faith that I was able to move on. I am so thankful for the blessing of having my sister for 22 years and for the memories that I will always hold near. 

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