Two months ago I wrote a short response to a Facebook post by Royce Young who covers the NBA for ESPN. Young and his wife were expecting their second child, a girl whom they named Eva Grace while she was still in the womb. There was a problem with Eva. She didn’t have a brain. Doctors told the Youngs that Eva would die shortly after being delivered. It was inevitable. This a was terminal case. Nothing could be done.
In light of the news, the Youngs decided to carry Eva to full term and then donate her organs after she passed away. The plan seemed to bring them comfort, however slight. It gave them strength to know their daughter would live on through others. Her death would help bring about life. That was the plan.
Except, in the end, things did not go according to plan.
Thursday, Royce Young posted the update: One evening not too long ago, his wife felt something was wrong. They rushed to the hospital and confirmed their fears. After doctors failed to find a heartbeat, they induced his wife and delivered Eva. A stillbirth. Her organs had already shut down. There would be no donation. No life potentially saved. Eva had made it 37 weeks. It was the ultimate unfair twist to what was already going to be a devastating conclusion.
“We felt cheated. What a total rip-off. The word I still have circling in my head is disappointment. That doesn’t really do it justice, because it’s profound disappointment. Like the kind that’s going to haunt me forever.
“We had come to terms with the outcome, and had almost found a joy in the purpose of our daughter’s life. We looked forward to meeting her and loving her. She was making an impact already, and people from around the world were celebrating her. We knew we’d hurt from her loss, but there was a hope in the difference she was making. We heard from recipients of organ donation that were so encouraging and uplifting. But the deal got altered. The rug was pulled out from underneath us. This was a curve ball we couldn’t accept.”
Napolean Hill once wrote, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” I thought about that quote when I started reading Young’s post. I thought about how difficult it is to truly believe in this philosophy. How would I feel if someone had the audacity to give me this advice after experiencing such loss? I’d be angry.
Then I kept reading.
Shortly after Young cut Eva’s umbilical chord, he received word that a recipient had been found. For Eva’s eyes.
“I had latched on to kidney or liver donation, grasping to the thought Eva would directly save a life. She’s not saving one like I dreamed of, but she will be changing one. ”
Every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. Indeed.
Our friends’ daughter also recently passed away. She was younger than Baby Girl and had been born with a disease that cut her life expectancy short. Much like Eva, it was never a question of if. It was a question of when.
After she passed, her parents both got the same tattoo. It’s on the underside of their forearm. Five series of numbers signifying…time. Years. Months. Days. Minutes. Seconds. Forever a permanent reminder of exactly how long their daughter had lived and that she’d made a difference even if but for a short while.
And there’s the intersection between the two stories. Because while only one little girl experienced life outside the womb, both still managed to make a difference.
A part of me wants to believe that our friends’ daughter welcomed Royce Young’s daughter with open arms. Two new companions. Two little angels. And that upon their introduction, the older one said to Eva Grace, “Wow. You have beautiful eyes.”
Copyright 2017 Damien Alameda. All Rights Reserved.