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JK (@contentandwell)

Writing to Your Donor's Family.

Transplants | Last Active: May 23, 2021 | Replies (44)

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I wrote a letter to my donor family, too. I was not ready to do it until about 4-5 months after my transplant. I waited until I was recovered enough that I felt the physical and the emotional strength to put pen to paper.

For me it was extremely difficult to do. Like you, I was grieving for a family that I didn't know. But at the same time, I knew my donor in a most intimate way because now he/she is a living part of me. Many people think I am crazy and tell me that I shouldn't to feel that way. (I wonder if anyone else feels this way?)

There are no words that exist to say I'm sorry and thank you at the same time. I plodded through and after many rewrites, I came up with a letter that was satisfactory to me. I didn't even mail it right away, but waited a few days to be sure that it was just right to express my feelings. I felt a real sense of peace when I finally put the envelope in the mail box.

A few months later, I got a call from my transplant department and was asked if I would like them to forward a letter from my donor family to me. I never expected that to happen! But I secretly hoped that it might because maybe it would give me some closure to the guilt that I felt. When the mail man handed the letter to me, I had to sit down and to hold it for a few minutes before I was ready to open it. My hands were shaking and my tears were dripping on the envelope.

In that letter, I learned that my handwritten note, containing my condolences and my thanks, was well received. My donor family expressed appreciation that I contacted them. They told me a little about my donor. And then told me that they wanted me to enjoy my life. Which I do!

I did send a note on once as an update, but that is the end of any correspondence.

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Replies to "I wrote a letter to my donor family, too. I was not ready to do it..."

@rosemarya I too wrote and kept reviewing for a few days, making tweaks. It was the most difficult thing I ever had to write but I felt it was important.
I have been composing a return letter, basically an update also, and again I have written it and reviewed it numerous times.
A life too young was extinguished. I can only imagine how I would feel if it was my own son or daughter. It hurts my heart to even think about it. I pray every day that they have the strength to deal as well as possible with this. Even writing this has put tears in my eyes.