Photo: Posthope.org/Kendra Haas
A lot of us have made the decision to become organ donors, but of course, we hope that we never actually have to follow through with that decision. The reality is, to save a life, one has to be lost. So as one family’s desperate dreams come true, another family’s worst nightmare becomes their real life.
Such is the case with Jedidiah Haas. Haas, a husband and father of 2, has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that affects the lungs. Despite working hard to maintain his health, over the past 18 months, Haas lung function reached a low of just 14%, and he had to be on oxygen 24/7. Haas and his wife began to pray fervently for a lung donor so that he could continue living and raising their 2 children,
Thankfully, their prayers were recently answered and Haas underwent a successful double-lung transplant. But in their triumph, another family’s tragedy existed. Haas’ wife, Kendra acknowledges this rub in a beautiful letter she wrote to the donor’s family on their Posthope.org site. She says,
To the Family of My Husband’s Donor,
As I witness my husband breathing deep with ease, I recognize it is because someone else no longer is. Behind the miracle of my husband’s double lung transplant is another family’s tragedy and loss. There are no words that can express our gratitude and awe of the miracle our family has received. We only pray that you can find some healing in knowing that your loved one has touched other people’s lives through their gift of organ donation. No words can truly express what we have experienced. Thank you feels too simple to say, yet I hope you will know the weight of meaning behind those two words.
She goes on to say how their gift has revolutionized their future:
Thank you, for allowing the gift of life for others during your darkest pain. My husband and I were starting to prepare ourselves for our lasts. The last time my husband would spend the holidays with family, the last time we would celebrate our wedding anniversary together, or the last time he would hug and kiss our kids’ goodnight…We cannot imagine the heartache that your family now has of those “last” moments with your loved one. Our hearts are sympathetic to the hard reality that the month of September forever changed your lives. As you said goodbye, my husband was given the hope of a future.
Thank you, for the hope of years ahead. My husband is excited about the possibility of being a pastor again full-time, coaching our 8-year-old son’s sports teams, and taking our 9-year-old daughter on “daddy daughter dates”. He is completing pulmonary rehab and is excited about the prospect of someday running again. Something he has been unable to do for many years. Simply taking a deep breathe without coughing is an experience he treasures.
Lastly, Haas prays that her donor’s family has the hope of eternal life in heaven together that she and her family share:
Thank you, for a gift that can never be repaid. My husband and I realize that the new lungs inside his body are a gift of life he did not deserve. He knows that with every breath he has been given, it is because of the gift of life through organ donation. It is a constant reminder of the gift we all can have within Jesus. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God generously offers us the gift of real eternal life through His Son Jesus if we place our trust in Him. There is nothing we can do to earn this gift of life. We do not deserve it, all we can do is receive it with thanksgiving and share His love with others. Please know our desire is to share the gift of love we have received with everyone that crosses our path. While these lungs give breath to my husband he will use them to encourage and love others.
May your family find some comfort in knowing how precious this gift of life has been to my husband, our children, and myself. We are praying for your loss and healing in the days and years to come. Your loved one will not be forgotten, but cherished with every passing breath.
With a Heavy and Grateful Heart,
Haas’ beautiful letter and their family’s story tugged at my heartstrings BIG TIME! God answered their prayers, and I know they will be faithful to pray for their donor’s family in the hopes that God brings His comfort to them in this time, and that they come to know Him if they don’t already. I’ll be praying, too…will you join me?