This Should have been posted yesterday

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I am sitting at my kitchen island at 2am trying to decide if I should post this or not.

3 years ago today I finally started to truly come out of my coma.  I had started to wake up and have conversations but October 29, 2010 is my first day of any memories after the crash.  It is a day that will forever be burned into my memory.  Gracie’s doctor came into the room.  I’m sure that I had met her before but I didn’t remember her.  She explained Gracie’s condition and told us that she would never recover at all.  The only thing keeping her breathing was the ventilator and before much longer, her organs would slowly start to fail.

Because we had lost our dear France-Anne the year before (FA was more than a neighbour.  She was my other daughter.  She was my girls’ big sister.  She was another bright light in our lives), Gracie was very aware of Organ Donation and she had said multiple times that as soon as she got her licence she was going to sign it to be an organ donor.

We knew that Gracie would want someone else to have a chance at the life she wasn’t going to get so we made the most difficult decision anyone should ever have to make.  We chose the date to have her removed from life-support – October 31, 2013- Halloween, her favourite holiday.  We didn’t know that at the time, we just said Sunday.  We had no idea what the date was.  (she would be making plans for her costume the next year starting November first).

On Sunday October 31, 2010 the nurses at McMaster Hospital back boarded me into Gracie’s bed so that I could hold her one last time.  Her family and friends had a chance to come in and say good-bye.  Then at around 10pm (not sure of the time, it wasn’t really what I was thinking about) they took us downstairs to a room and removed her breathing tube, her lungs stopped moving, her lips turned blue and her heart stopped beating.

Like I said, I really debated about posting this or about making it even less graphic than I already made it but the fact of the matter is that every day in this country, this scene is replayed by yet another family.  Maybe it’s time for people to realize how raw and painful it is.

It is a scene that I replay every day in my head – how she smelled, how she felt.  Wishing that I had had just a little more time with her – just another day to hold her, even if she didn’t know that I was there.  The rational part of my brain says, “would it really have made a difference to how great the loss feels.  After all, what’s one more day?”.  The mother in me says, “One day is a lifetime when it’s your baby girl.”

I am telling you this because this is Gracie’s legacy.  She changed at least 8 lives that day.  This is what I want people to know about Gracie.  Every day that she was alive she changed someone’s life.  That’s just who she was.  And she would expect me to end this blog by telling you all to register to be Organ Donors.  The two easiest things that you can do to save lives – don’t Drink And Drive and register to be an Organ Donor.  Do it for Gracie.  Make that her legacy.

10 Responses to This Should have been posted yesterday

  1. Thanks for sharing Julie. I’m glad you decided to post. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.

  2. As painful and fresh as your loss is, I hope you can take some comfort knowing that through your pain, your daughter became a hero. She gave many more days to the recipients and her spirit lives on. I have yet to meet a recipient who does not live every day in gratitude to their donor. Thank God for families like yours. God Bless you all.

  3. Theresa Dietrich

    Julie, thank you for sharing this very painful story. Although I never met Gracie I would like to honour her and your family for being heroes and making such a difficult and important decision to help others. Thank you Gracie for asking others to be a donor.

  4. Thinking of you all at this time ,Gracie (was) is special with the people she did help

  5. Hi Thanks so much for sharing this story. My heart breaks for you and any other family that has been through this. But I also want to thank you for giving other her gift of life. My daughter is a lucky recipient that I would not have if some family had not also made such a great gift. May her memory live on forever.

  6. As I was reading your story I realized this beautiful little girl I know her. I knew that she loved to dress up, her Aunt Corrine always shared beautiful stories of her niece when we got together. I remember the sadness of learning of the accident and then her passing. I was not surprised when Corrine told me that her organs had been donated. Grace was named so perfectly…she lived with grace and died with grace. Your family and others continue to be touched by Grace. Halloween does not come and go without me remembering your Grace. God Bless you and your family always xo
    Anne

  7. Thanks for being brave enough to post your story. As someone whose life was saved by a donor, I can’t express enough gratitude to you and your family for your decision. Grace’s legacy does live on, and thank you for continuing to tell her story. Thinking of you.

  8. You are so very brave! If even one persons heart and mind are touched by this and they start the talk with their families about organ donation just think how quickly other precious lives can and will be changed! God Bless you and your family <3 Keith , Heidi and Lucas

  9. Julie you have me crying again. I have had many of the same nights over the past 4 1/2 years but I have never sat down and poured my feelings onto paper as beautifully as you have done. France-Anne too had saved at least 8 lives through organ donations and I know that she and Gracie are together watching over us. Their memories will live on forever.

  10. Thank you for posting yours and Gracie’s story. Thank you to Gracie and your family. She was able to save at least 8 lives that day. I am a recent liver transplant recipient and everyday I thank the donor and family for saving my life. Transplantation is a difficult surgery to recover from, but not near as difficult as the loss felt be the donor family. Thank you Gracie for giving other people a second chance at life.

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