An Open Letter to the Mother Whose Baby’s Heart Now Beats in My Son’s Chest

“I will treasure the gift you’ve given. I promise.”


Seven months ago, Lincoln Seay was born with a severe heart defect known as heterotaxy. Without a heart transplant, doctors gave him a very slim chance of survival.

Lincoln’s parents, Mindy and Rob, have been anxiously awaiting a new heart for their son since November—and just as their hope for a miracle was dwindling, they received incredible news!

Lincoln Seay is a heart donor recipient

When Mindy received the phone call from Seattle Children’s Hospital, she could hardly contain herself.  The doctor continued to discuss  “next steps” over the next 20 minutes or so, but the ecstatic mom couldn’t get past the words, “You’re child has a heart donor.” 

“I was feeling every emotion possible all at once,” she told “I’m so happy and grateful that Lincoln gets to have a chance at life.”

The last piece of unexpected news that the Seays had received from the doctor was that Lincoln was going into cardiac arrest, so this phone call gave them the beat of hope they’d been so desperately needing.

However, it was equally devastating that another child had to die so that theirs may live.

“It was an idea that had been brewing in my mind since he was put on the donor list,” said Mindy. “There’s nothing I want more than for my son to live, but I hate that another child has to pass for that to happen.”

Just days before Lincoln’s new heart was set to arrive, Mindy decided to pen an emotional letter to the mom of her child’s heart donor.

On February 10, she wrote:

“I want you to know that I will always have the utmost respect for the gift we will be given. I will treasure that heart more than I’ve ever treasured any gift. I will care for that gift to the very best of my ability and will be sure we always give reverence and respect to the child and family from which it came. We may never now you by name, but I will know you deep in my soul.

Your child and mine will be forever entertwined (sic) as the heart that grew in your womb now pumps the blood through the body of the child created in mine. They have merged in a way, and your child will forever live on in mine. When my child bleeds, I will think of you. When I bandage his scraped knee, I will think of you. When I hear his heart beat, I will remember you. When his eyes flutter closed as he falls asleep, I will remember your beautiful child. I will say prayers of gratitude and blessings over your family, often. I will treasure the gift you’ve given. I promise.”

Though the heartfelt words were intended for the donor’s mom, Mindy wanted to share it on her blog and Facebook page so that it may help others coping with similar situations.

In one sense, it doesn’t seem “fair” that as one mother mourns the loss of her baby, another gets to celebrate keeping hers. However, the fact that one child’s heart will forever beat on in another’s is a bittersweet victory that both mothers can revel in—and that is the unshakable joy that eclipses the pain.

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