A girl, once confined to a hospital crib with tubes and machines keeping her alive (barely), now runs free through the park with someone's else's heart beating inside her chest. Her health is not perfect (she currently has pneumonia, again...), but she is alive and outside of hospital walls and free from tubes and machines. Instead, another child's heart keeps her alive. A child who is no longer able to run through a park or be held by his or her parents. The story is one of amazing joy and gratitude for us. But, the story is one of crushing pain and loss for some other family.
I must admit that I don't think about it all the time. It would probably not be healthy to do so. But, I do think about it quite often. It is hard to have your story of joy tied so intimately to another's story of pain. I have not heard back from the donor family (I wrote a letter, something that was obviously, in every way, not telling the story well - how do you thank someone for saving your daughter's life by losing their own child's life?). So, I don't know the story of pain, I simply imagine it in my head and hurt for it in my heart.
I love my daughter so much. I am so thankful that her life was saved by this amazing medical procedure that seems as much science fiction as science fact to me. But, I am also sad for that unknown family out there and for the loss of that unknown child. It is a strange place to be, here in the land of pediatric heart transplant. It is our every day to give our daughter many medicines to make her body not reject this "foreign" object beating in her chest. Is is our every day to know that this heart is not likely to last her lifetime. It is our every day to know to that she is doing amazingly well for the condition she was in when she received her new heart.
It is a unique story and the picture above captures the pure joy that we have been given. But, that picture also leaves out the other story, that I have committed to telling in the hopes that the child's life who was lost to give mine life does not go forgotten or unrecognized. I wish I had a picture of that child or knew the story of that child so I could share it with you, but for now, the simple recognition that there is a story left untold will have to suffice. It is a reminder that although every picture tells a story, it also leaves a lot out and sometimes that untold story is just as important or more important than the one told.