Tuesday, February 21, 2012

THE POWER OF ONE

It's possible for ONE person to make a difference.  And, it's possible for ONE person to inspire others to Pay It Forward. This is an absolutely amazing story.  It began with one self-proclaimed impulsive former Catholic man who turned to Buddhism.  He decided, in a random act of selflessness to walk into a California hospital and offer to donate a kidney.  For NO reason other than to help a random stranger.

You can read the entire story on the NYT website.  It began a "chain" of donations that involved sixty people.  One man. Walked into ONE hospital.  Thirty people whose kidneys were failing........ all helped because of the chain reaction.  And, one other man, a fellow Long Island resident (spoken with a sense of hometown pride), whose determination led to the founding of the National Kidney Registry...... another case of ONE person making a difference.  When I make references as I did last week about ripple effects, THIS would be a prime example.  Ripples that turn to waves.

How else can one person make a difference?  In my life, you see, the photo below tells a poignant and touching story.  The little one in the photo is the love of my life.  She was born on March 19, 2007.  My final chemo was the very next day.  March 20.  In a bitter twist of fate, as I was in a chemo chair, my dad was in an operating room for an unsuccessful attempt to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm.  Less than one month later, my sister called to tell me she was adopting a baby and "what should she do about telling mom and dad."  Funny how I remember that conversation.  I was laughing and crying at the the same time.

My dad was a healthy man who did not appear to be 70 years of age.  There is a photo of us in my very first post.  He was diagnosed with a VERY early stage lung cancer.  Eight months later, he passed away.  It was a series of one thing after another.  Between me on chemo and his many trips to the hospital for tests, surgeries, radiation, let's just say that 2007 was a pretty sucky year for my family and leave it at that.  (Gotta give a shout out to mom, here...... because SHE was diagnosed with her SECOND primary breast cancer about three weeks after my dad died....... the day of her surgery was my very first oncology follow up post active treatment.  THAT, I will say, was bizarre)  Again, 2007?  Not a good year.

Except, the selflessness of ONE person that began a ripple of love within my family.  This was a miracle of joy in the midst of such sadness.  The action of one person begins with the person in the far left of the photo.  She is my sister's friend.  My sister was out with her one afternoon and she mentioned her niece just had a baby.  Her niece was quite young and the baby would be adopted.  My sister who never had children of her own immediately inquired if she might consider an older, single parent.  Before the baby was one month old, she was in my sister's care.

I remember laughing with my sister when she said so much was going on with my dad, she didn't know how to tell them. And I remember saying, "What the hell are you going to do?  Just show up at the house one day with this baby in your arms?"  So much was BAD, we didn't know how to handle something that was overwhelmingly filled with joy.  The baby immediately stole ALL of our hearts.

Despite the fact that my dad was very weak from the onslaught of medical issues and I was still in active treatment, there would be a baby shower.  We needed to celebrate.  And, in lieu of a useless trinket favor at that shower, WE DONATED MONEY to Kites for a CURE and had a kite flown for my dad.  Just so happens this was one of the organizations that Komen went after with a vengeance when they were in the lawsuit portion of the program.

None of that has anything to do with the power of one or making a difference or rippling love.  It is the photo that says it all.  My mom is on the right.  You can definitely see the tears in her eyes.  My little imp who refers to me as "Re-Re" is between my mom and my sister.  On the other side of my sister, is the baby's birth mom.  She is the young girl whose actions are those of such deep love and such selflessness, I can't even scratch the surface to find adequate words.  And her actions boomeranged right back to her.  My sister made a decision five years ago that my niece will know she has two mommies.  Last Thursday afternoon, my sister's friend (who is also an attorney who handled the adoption) called to tell my sister they needed to be in court the following morning to get the last of the paperwork rubber stamped.  And my sister found out the court would be finalizing the adoption immediately upon completing the paperwork.

And so, my sister told her friend, "Call YOUR niece and tell her to get in her car and drive to NY."  In less than 18 hours, there was a judge beaming down from the bench at my sweet godchild, my tearful mom, two proud mommies and the friend who set this all in motion.  One person setting wheels in motion and who made a difference thus impacting the lives of DOZENS of people.  Just one person.  We all have the power to be that one person in the life of another.  

13 comments:

  1. Your post made me cry. What a beautifully touching story amidst all the family trauma. It is wonderful that both mommies can share this lucky child's life. As an adoptive mom, I can relate to the beauty of adoption stories.

    Thank you for this!

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  2. This posting made me cry. What a beautiful story about the power of an individual to make a difference, especially amidst all the family trauma. As an adoptive mom myself, I can so relate.

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    1. Thanks, Beth....

      We have been waiting for the adoption to be finalized for quite some time. There were a number of issues with paperwork and a whole host of other things........

      When my sister called on Thursday evening to say, "Adoption is being finalized tomorrow..." I was elated and stunned at the same time. I hoped to get to the courthouse but wasn't able to make it because of car issues here... and, the proceeding began by 7:30 and the clock on the wall shows it was all done by 8:20.

      I never understood the bonds that exist in an adoptive family until it became a part of the tapestry of my life. That little one is what we would call "an old soul" .... so compassionate and empathetic that it is truly amazing to watch her interact with people. From when she was barely two years old, if she saw another child crying.... she would be running over to say, "don't cry" as she would pat the kid's back. Recently, we were in a restaurant with her. A man was pushing his wife in a wheelchair. As they approached our table, she said to the woman, "What happened to you?" Her concern was genuine and I think we were all a bit uncomfortable. The woman called over her shoulder, "I got sick." I had tears in my eyes as my niece turned around and said, "I hope you are better soon."

      This baby.... I can't call an almost 5 year old a baby, but she will always be my baby...... is special. So So special....

      xoxoxox

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  3. AnneMarie, your family's touching story restores my faith in humanity! The Power of One ~ truly, one isn't the loneliest number!

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    1. Deb...
      Never thought of it that way... One can be THE most powerful number.... as it was in this case for everyone involved! Each person played their part. Some were smaller than others, but each holds equal importance, for without all involved, THIS would not have occurred! Thanks, Deb.

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    1. There has to be good stuff..... it balances out the not such good stuff. Friday? Absolutely great. Joy, indeed.... Thanks, Kathleen!

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  5. Just when we get down about life, something oh so right happens like this! Thank you, thank you for sharing. Yes, I'm welling up..... I'm crying.

    Love,
    Brenda

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    1. Brenda,
      On March 19, 2006, I stepped into a funeral home. My beloved nana passed away at 94 but she was still TOO YOUNG for any of us to say goodbye. One year later, I'm in the midst of cancer tx, my dad whose prognosis was excellent just continued to be up and down...... and then this baby was literally dropped into the loving arms of my sister.
      Birthmommy spent this past weekend at my sister's home. My sis summed it up best and massively understated, "It's been a very emotional few days around here." I had my niece her for her overnight visit and we just kept doing, "Duh?" and "Duh?" over silly stuff..... Every time I said "duh!" I thought about my sister's remark.....
      Love to you,
      AnneMarie

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  6. So happy for you and your family, AM! Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story. Sir isaac Newton said it best: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. One man (or woman) really can make a difference.
    xoxo

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  7. This situation was just a ripple all the way around..... and it's a cool little circle...... Mommy's aunt was looking out for HER .... and now I'm the smitten aunt of that little baby. I love the way both mommies are glowing in that picture!

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  8. I love these energizing stories of love! Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. My heart is still filled with such great feelings!!

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