30 Days of Thanks #2--Molly

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A month or so ago I was asked to speak at an Organ Donation Symposium at Rice Eccles Stadium to a group of medical professionals. I love any chance I have to talk about Lucy and how proud I am that she donated her organs and saved two lives.

The speaking engagement was two days after I got back from NYC, so I felt a little ill-prepared. But I felt good about what I was going to say, and how to say it.

As as side note, our good friend, Dave Hibbert, was originally going to speak at this event. One of their twin sons aspirated a small piece of pretzel six weeks after Lucy's accident and we love them dearly. DEARLY. They have had quite the experience with their son's (Mason) organ recipients. You can read about it HERE on A Good Grief. Dave had to go out of town for work so I was asked to take his place. I was honored to do so.

When I walked into the room where I was to meet the staff from Intermountain Donor Services, the woman in charge approached me and the first thing she said was, "There is a nurse here who worked with Lucy, she really wants to see you. "

"OH. Who?"

"I think she said her name is Molly."

Oh guys. I hadn't even started my speech and the tears were flowing. FLOWING. Do you remember THIS POST? Remember? Remember my nurse named Molly and her daughter Lucy?

We never exchanged information. I hadn't seen or talked to her in over 3 years since she wheeled me in the hospital bed to hand Lucy over to the organ harvesting team.

And there she was. At this symposium. Tender Mercies, tender mercies, tender mercies.

I saw her walking down the hallway toward me and thought my heart would leap out of my used to be D, now B, chest. We embraced and we could hardly talk. We just kept looking at each other and holding hands and crying. This is what she finally said, (basically, in so many words, if I remember right, and of course I'm semi-paraphrasing, but mostly remember)

" I have thought of you so much since that day. Lucy was, and still is, my only organ donation patient. It is very rare for a "regular" nurse to be in the room when they harvest someone's organs. I want you to know I was very scared when you asked me to be stand in for you. But I stood in the corner of the room. I stood in your place for you. I tried to be strong. It has had such an impact on me. I have had to remind myself over and over that THIS IS NOT MY PAIN, this was not MY Lucy. I have literally felt your pain as if it were my own. I have thought of you and Vic again and again and again. I was so honored to stand for you when you couldn't."

I then told her we have a son named Peter who joined our family 11 months after Lucy left earth.

That's when she looked at me and said, "You are kidding."

"That's my husband's name."

You guys. I don't make this stuff up. And maybe its not a big deal. But to me...to me it is God talking to me. It is God telling me that HE'S GOT THIS. He's got it all taken care of. He knows I'm hard headed and crazy and sends me these small outward signs that say, "I am in control. These people are all connected to you and taking care of you. I love you."

So I changed my talk. And I talked about Molly. (The symposium was for nurses and doctors being trained in organ donation. What to say to patients, how to specialize in the field, etc.) I told them they could only be so lucky as to have their own "Nurse Molly" experience in their entire career.

And after my speech the head of Donor Services asked Molly to come on stage. And we stood next to each other in front of this crowd, crying and hugging and telling these people--"You do make a difference. Never doubt that."

I hope she is reading this. I gave her my contact info but didn't get hers. I hope she knows I'm having a baby on Lucy's birthday. I hope she knows of my gratitude. I hope she knows how thankful I am for the pain she has carried for me. For the physical act of standing in as Lucy's mommy when she gave her kidneys and liver so someone else's life could carry on. I hope she knows what a sacrificial gift that was. I hope she never doubts her worth and what she has given to my soul.

I hope she knows.

I am thankful for Molly. I can't even remember her last name. But I am thankful for Molly. I love her.

*Post edit- They asked me to speak again at the big annual donor ceremony in April. I warned them of the pregnancy hormones (I think...) but am thrilled to speak again.


  1. Wow Molly. Wow. That is an awesome story. It is amazing how it takes these outside of ourselves experiences to see that God really has got this. Those things are anchors for our souls. Someone out there really is in charge and there is a method to the madness. Bless nurse Molly.

    I love that you choose to see God's hand in this experience and in others that you have had. I believe that is one way he speaks to us.

    I am so glad you spoke--I wish I could have heard you. Dave asked me if I wanted to take his place that day and I just felt really unsettled about it so I didn't. It needed to be you. I have a feeling they will be asking you again and again.

  2. So beautiful and so touching. I love what you said about God "getting this" and that He has it all taken care of. It gave me chills. What an amazing story full of special and sacred tender mercies. Thank you for sharing. XO
    p.s. a thousand congrats on your pregnancy. Too awesome!!

  3. That is so amazing, and my tears are just flowing. I am thankful for your Molly, too.

  4. I have no words for how beautiful this is. (Or how much you have made me cry the past few days.)

  5. once again you have me in tears and feeling so thankful for LIFE. congratulations on your pregnancy and thank you, thank you for sharing the beautiful tender merices in your life.

  6. Goosebumps. That is just amazing. Congrats again on baby #3.

  7. {this is me, hearing a pin drop}


  8. Oh, Molly. This is Molly. I have been thinking about you since that day we met again at the Donation Symposium and have been formulating in my head what exactly I would email you. Like both days we’ve met, I wasn’t entirely sure what I should say. That first day in the hospital, I didn’t know what to say. At the Organ Donation Symposium, I didn’t know what to say. But your words in this post gave me words. There have been a lot of things I want to say to you:

    First of all, thank you. Thank you for your kind words. I never doubt that what I did that day wasn’t the right thing to do. I was scared, mostly because the similarities were so striking between our families (and continue to be so!) and because of that I easily imagined myself in your shoes and that would be the culmination of all my worst fears to actually be in your shoes, as I’m sure it was yours.

    You and your sweet family taught me so much about what it means to really CARE for patients. You taught me compassion, which I thought I knew. But you don’t really know anything until you KNOW, right? You taught me, with your faith that I was put there for a reason, that there was a grand plan in this world, far beyond my control. Your experience, horrible as it was, made a lasting impact on me, one that translates into the way that I take care of patients to this day. You think I sacrificed for you by being in the OR. I think you sacrificed, and you let me learn some important lessons along the way.

    I hope you don’t mind…I emailed my Director the next day and told her about the amazing experience I had at the symposium. I also had found the post you wrote about me; I linked the page in my email so she could read it. In my email I told her that I was so grateful to see you again. I was grateful for a multitude of reasons: one, I knew that you were a fighter and an incredibly strong woman. Two, I got to tell you how important you and Lucy have been to me. A little embarrassed saying that…I barely know you. Finally, it drilled into my head that everything we healthcare professionals do makes an impact on patients. Be it good or bad, we do make an impact. After taking care of you guys, I want the footprint that I leave to always be good.

    The day after Lucy died, I sat on the floor of my house, folding clothes and packing for a trip we were taking. I listened to John Mayer’s latest album over and over again, particularly “Heart of Life.” The words just echoed around in my head for days. Now, every time I hear this song, I think about you and your little girl.

    I hate to see you cry
    Lying there in that position
    There's things you need to hear
    So turn off your tears
    And listen

    Pain throws your heart to the ground
    Love turns the whole thing around
    No it won't all go the way it should
    But I know the heart of life is good

    You know, it's nothing new
    Bad news never had good timing
    Then, circle of your friends
    Will defend the silver lining

    Pain throws your heart to the ground
    Love turns the whole thing around
    No it won't all go the way it should
    But I know the heart of life is good

    Pain throws your heart to the ground
    Love turns the whole thing around
    Fear is a friend who's misunderstood
    But I know the heart of life is good
    I know it's good

    I’ll never forget what Vic said, as he lay next to Lucy in that big bed, after we told him that it was time to go to the OR. He said, “Lucy, I know that your spirit is gone and all that is left is your body, but I’ll tell you this anyway…I love you.” I think he also said, “Be brave in there.”

    You two were such brave parents. I never fail to be impressed by the capacity of mothers and fathers to be so strong in such situations. You knew that the heart of life was good even in the depths of your darkness. Don’t let the darkness win out over the good. I have faith in you.

  9. How can one read this story and not be deeply touched... Molly, you have an amazing gift in your writing--and in writing these incredible experiences. Thank you for sharing the Lord's mercies with us. I love reading your blog--every bit of it. You are the epitomy of "keeping it real."
    I love you. Congratulations again on the amazing news of the pregnancy!

  10. Thank heaven for tender mercies. They remind us that we are never alone, no matter how solitary we are feeling.

    They remind us how much we are loved.


  11. This made me cry!! What an amazing tender mercy!

  12. Here is a thought that has been forming in my mind for a couple of days. All of your readers love you. You continue to inspire and touch and teach and uplift. Is it because you are perfect and have handled this personal tragedy with unfailing faith and optimism? No. No one who reads your blog would say that faith and optimism are always the major themes. I'd say pain and fear and doubt and even depression are the major themes, with just enough faith and optimism sprinkled throughout to keep us reading and cheering you on. And herein lies your greatness. It's just you. You being you, with all the imperfection and humanness that we all relate to, telling your pain just like it is. On top of this honesty that makes you amazing, you continue to reach out to others, turning your pain into something transformative and useful. Double amazing. Thanks from all of us for being you so effectively.
    Love, Bronwyn

  13. Oh Molly, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for reminding us all that God is in charge. That he is so very aware. I think it is interesting that we (human beings) each have our trials and heartaches. Mine seem so insignificant compared to yours, but then you remind me that they are significant to God and He is perfectly aware of my heartaches too. You've taught me that it's possible to love people you don't even know because I sure love you Molly and your sweet little family.

    p.s. We share the same due dates. We will be adding baby #4 to our home and we are thrilled! Congratulations to you guys.

  14. Dear Molly,
    My name is Dollie you don't know me. I feel so priveledge that you have a blog open for reading. Some how I laugh and cry in every post. I have an aquaintance here that lost her daughter just shy of two. They still don't know why and never will. You can do this.

  15. I am watching "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire", and you were the first person in the audience they showed! I had to think for a moment how I "knew" you, and then I remembered it was because I have followed your blog for years! It felt like I was seeing a freind.

  16. I love you, Molly. I don't even "know" you, and I love you.

  17. Lovely, touching post. I'm so happy you were able to meet your nurse Molly.
    As a nurse myself and having a SIL whose kidneys were failing, organ donation was a miracle for our family- and has brought 2 families together. Thanks for sharing your story with others.
    Congratulations on your little one. Hope you start feeling better soon.
    We love you!

  18. Molly and Molly,

    Thank you for both of your words. I love how Heavenly Father can place the right people in our paths at the right time...which is so amazing considering that usually means the wheels must be set in motion before the critical moment is upon us.

    Thanks for sharing.

  19. Wow... to both Mollys! Thank you for sharing, for this was so beautiful. God is with us for sure. He puts people in our lives right when we need them~ This I am sure of too.

  20. Goodness gracious, I am at work sobbing like a baby after reading this post. Thanks.
    No really thanks for sharing your life and your faith. It is amazing.

  21. I'm so glad you two found eachother. When I read your first post about Molly, I told my Mom about it over the phone that night all choked up and crying, and the first thing she said was "Tender Mercies." Life is full of them, and I'm so glad that you see that. I forget to look for them sometimes. Thank you for reminding me.

  22. Crying here too! My brother-in-law and cousin are organ donation recipients, it has given them new life and given our family more time with them. Thank you, thank you for that incredible sacrifice to let others live. We too have seen incredible tender mercies through their surgeries and recovery.

    You are incredibly strong and have helped me through some really rough things. Thank you so very much, for someone I've never met you and Lucy have impacted my life so much

  23. Molly, I can't believe I didn't wish you congratulations on your pregnancy!! I am so excited for you...what a sign from the universe to have your due date be on Lucy's birthday. Congratulations - I'll be thinking about you!
    Molly Duberow


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