This past week was thanksgiving. The first one I have spent with my family since my (now seven year old) daughter was 1. The first time my dads side of the family was together for a holiday in 11 years.

But even more importantly? On Thanksgiving Eve we celebrated a huge event!

 
I’d like you to meet my dad.

Ten years ago on thanksgiving eve? He received a gift that has changed our lives. 

As my dad and I were headed to the grocery store to pick up last minute ingredients for my Grandma’s favorite dressing, the phone rang.

A family in Arkansas was making the ultimate sacrifice and saying goodbye to their loved one. They had agreed to let their son (husband/brother/etc) save countless other lives by donating his organs. 

My dad was a match. The six month roller coaster my family had been on was over. 

 

At the time? I was a 22 year old newlywed. My kid sister a sophomore in high school. And that year? Our family had been out through hell.

I was starting back to college, in my first week of classes when I got the call that my dad only had days to live. His heart wasn’t pumping and he wouldn’t live long enough to get a transplant. 
21 days later he was on the transplant list and had an LVAD (pre-Denny on Grey’s Anatomy…)  

We settled in for the long wait for a heart that may never come. The horrible reality that someone had to die for my dad to live.

Six short months later? We got the call that we had a miracle.

 
10 years later? My family is eternally thankful for this family in Arkansas that made the ultimate sacrifice. 
My dad saw my kid sister graduate high school and college. He was there when my daughter was born and has watched her grow up. 

Every thanksgiving eve we celebrate November 23, 2094 when we received the most amazing gift that a family could give. 

While we have never met them? We pray for them often. We think of them in every joke my dad tells. We cannot possibly thank them enough for what they have given us.