The Gift Of Now - Remembering Michael
On Sunday - what would have been the 21-month anniversary of his liver transplant - Nancy and I attended a memorial service for Michael, who, with his wife, Nan, became friends of ours at NYU transplant center.
Mike died last week, at age 57, having never fully recovered from his ailments, despite the transplant, which occurred two days before my own.
In those post-transplant months, Mike had the opportunity to see his son graduate from college.
At the memorial service, Mike's rabbi spoke of Mike not only receiving the Gift of Life in the fabulous form of the organ donation, but also of Mike's having the Gift of Now - living his life - throughout his life - to the fullest, never knowning when the end would come.
Celebrating the Gift of Now isn't a license for recklessness, it's a challenge to find the joy of life in each and every moment. That's not easy. I keep reminding myself it's easy to say ''thank you Lord for most this amazing day'' when I look in on the kids snuggled in bed as the morning breaks, or as I come upon a family of deer in the early misty woods on a solaritary walk. It easy to forget - but just as important - to say it when you're rushing through the pouring rain to get the train to work.
I don't believe I'll ever get beyond the mind-blowing, heart-warming fascination that - out of an incredible act of kindness by my donor's family - I have been blessed to receive a piece of another person inside of me - allowing me to carry on each day.
As we know with every one we love who has passed on, we carry a piece of them in our hearts always. As I told Nan today, ''now I have another piece of someone else inside of me.''
Rest in peace, Michael. You are missed and loved.