the best day in my life was the worst day in theirs…

I’ve always known that I’m addicted to my phone…but I actually laughed at myself a little while ago and thought jesus, this is an obsession…I was in the bathroom at the airport, waiting to board my flight…I was in a line up of anxious travellers trying to empty their bladders before heading to other parts of the world…I think the thought of using a airplane bathroom haunts a lot of us…as I was waiting for my turn, I felt my bag vibrate and I immediately reached in and pulled out the phone…sure enough, yup it was ringing – it was my sister…

so here’s where joey turns crae crae…my first thought was weird, why is she calling, we were just texting…my second thought was obvi something is wrong…but before the third thought came to my head, I was saying ‘hey sis’…her bubbly voice answers ‘hey just wanted to say have a great’ I cut her off and said ‘hang on a sec, I’m in the lineup in the bathroom’…my sentence was answered with laughing and a quick come back ‘you are truly committed to that phone’…I laughed back and said well it was ringing…she continued to laugh and then I chimed in laughing with her…the lil old ladies in the bathroom were not amused…I slowly walked away with phone to my ear…

the conversation went on as it usually does with her…we laughed, giggled and wished the flight was over already so we’d be together…but alas I hadn’t even boarded yet…as I hung up and boarded I started to think about what she said about my commitment to my phone and why is it that I can’t not answer when it comes to my family…

the best day in my life was the worst day in theirs…

as I boarded the plane, it struck me…my mind was immediately taken back to the 8th of June 2006…as I sat on a similar plane so many years before, I began to reflect back to the time that I didn’t answer my phone and it all came back to me…it was like it was yesterday but it wasn’t…for them it probably seems the same…

june 8th, 2006…that’s the night I sat in my friend’s apartment, chatting, catching up, drinking tea and my phone rang…I ignored…we chatted more and my phone rang…I ignored…we chatted more and my phone rang…I reached for it, in what seems like slow motion now and I saw my brother’s number and I thought, seriously dude, I’m obviously busy and laid the phone down…and the phone rang again…

something clicked at that moment and I thought, well first ‘what the fuck’ and second ‘what the fuck’…and I answered…

I remember his voice, I remember listening to him breathing and I remember him saying, where are you…pause – ‘I’m out’…are you with someone…pause – ‘what is wrong with you Stephen, yah I’m with a friend’…are you driving, are you sitting down…two questions in succession – he meant business…pause – I’m sitting down…now you gotta know my bro – we’re not phone peeps, so I chuckled and said “like oh my god, what’s up” – the next 4 words would change my world forever….i close my eyes any day of the week and I hear my brother say “dad got the call”…

‘we have an hour’, he said slowly….

looking back over time, I always knew I was a daddy’s girl…well to be quite honest I’m a mommy’s girl too…I’m basically a 43 year old sook…at that time I was a 35 year old sook…but a happy one with amazing parents…i find myself so fortunate to have had such an awesome upbringing…now we’re not perfect but honestly we were so fortunate…for 2 years previous to that phone call, our family was waiting…just waiting, waiting, waiting for this phone call…be prepared they said, have a bag packed they said, time will be short once the call comes they said…we waited – no bags, no discussion, no preparation plan – it’s the hogan way…I’m not sure what was going through my dads head at this minute, but mine was kinda clear, kinda muddled and overall fucked…

I don’t remember the drive home…

he packed his bag, mom threw stuff in hers, we made calls, we laughed at our disorganization and we made fun of ourselves and then the call came ‘you have 15minutes’…there was silence…we stopped…we hugged…we said our good byes…there were 5 going into this, we weren’t sure how many were coming out…mom, dad and our brother walked out the door and me and my sister sat down at the kitchen table – the table where we always ate together as a family growing up – then there were 2…serious denial set in…

praying for an organ is really praying for someone’s death…wrapping your mind around that takes a long time…

the next few days, weeks and months are basically a blur…my favorite moments are those that made us laugh…laughing at ourselves really – its what the hogans do…and we do it good…my sister saying how comfortable she was one morning walking to the hospital…she kept repeating ‘oh my god, I’m so comfortable, I’m so comfortable’, when we looked down at her feet she still had on pink bootie slippers…we nearly pissed ourselves laughing…the day my brother and sister were with dad and dad was glaring at the wall and saying ‘why is there a Zamboni washing the walls, why is there a fucking zamboni washing the fucking walls’…my siblings nearly lost it – well after they knew dad wasn’t losing his marbles…it was just the good drugs he was on…dad also got mad at my brother one day for shooting him with a water gun as he lay in the hospital bed…my brother was seriously thinking dad was crae crae…but again, good drugs…

when dad got out of surgery, we named the new organ…yup cause that’s what we do…we called it larry…see larry saved dad’s life and putting a name on it takes away the thoughts that run through your mind…the thoughts of where did larry come from…who did larry come from and where were larry’s family…if I think about it, I can’t comprehend it…organ donation – I always knew about it…I always knew the importance of it…I always signed my organ donation card – but I never really thought about it…until june 8th, 2006…

see larry’s owner signed his…and my dad is alive…

what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger right…

my dad is the strongest person I know and he is the strongest he has ever been…there’s a family out there that did the unthinkable – they granted their loved ones wishes and they donated…my dad and many more people got a second chance at life that day, the 8th of june…a lot of families got that phone call…I remember the ringing of the phone, the loudness of the volume and me ignoring it…what if I hadn’t answered…what if I had forgotten the phone in the car…what if…what if…what if that hour passed and I didn’t get home to watch him scramble around the house getting ready for the biggest day of his life….what if…what if…

I don’t have to worry about that anymore…larry was graciously given to us on that day…grateful, indebted, appreciative and forever, forever thankful to those who gave us the opportunity to get that phone call…I can’t remember sending out any messages…I can’t remember making any calls to friends…I can’t remember much about that time…but I remember feeling happy, content, and at ease…

the road was not an easy one following that date…there were a lot of ups and downs…peaks and valleys…but the good days slowly began to outweigh the bad days…and for me, the daddy’s girl, the worry decreased day by day…I was working in critical care shortly following my father’s surgery and I began to take notice of the sadness of illness, the impact of illness on families…I truly believe that when it’s our time to go, it’s time to go…it’s not easy to say good bye to a loved one but knowing we have the opportunity to pass on our loved ones legacy to a stranger is overwhelming…I’ve seen people sign, I’ve seen people torment over signing and I’ve heard families respond and I’ve watched families watch as their loved ones are rolled away, rolled away to fulfill one last wish – to save the lives of others…

organ donation is the single most selfless thing a person can ever do…in the time of grief, despair and heart ache – it is us the family that can be comforted to know that although our loved ones are no longer, parts of them can save the lives of many…there’s a family out there that has a guardian angel looking over them – I’m sorry for their loss but I’m thankful for their gift…

8years ago, our family was given the gift of life…larry gave us more time together…larry opened our minds and our hearts…through the years, there are days that I forget about that june 8th, 2006…but when I remember, I remember two families…I don’t know who you are, but I thank you…i’ve always appreciated life and my family – that time in my world changed me forever…I treasure what I have and I hold close to my heart that any day anything can happen…I treasure each passing moment with the hope that there’s a tomorrow…

it’s been over 8years since that day – the best day in my life…it’s been over 8years since that day – the worst day in theirs…wrapping your mind around that takes a long time…

at the end of the day if anything, i realize that i’m committed to my family…it’s the only one i got…

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11 thoughts on “the best day in my life was the worst day in theirs…

  1. I’ve only met one member of the hogan family but I feel like I love the works of ya. Great story which reaffirms my decision to be an organ donor too. Here’s hoping Larry has a long healthy life 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember that day too, was sitting in a meeting and my cell went off, thinking someone needed something bad, I answered and it was your aunt informing me that this was it, and Mom and Dad had asked her to contact me, feeling special, running on prayers and crying too, he made it through, tough guy with the biggest heart that a man can carry, a family that everyone deserves, thank you Larry

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh My Jesus Danielle . I too remember that call because we received it 13 yrs ago when my brother got his call for a liver transplant . I had just finished a 12 hr shift on cardiology and was lying on my bed saying my novena for him . The phone rang and I heard my husband say ‘I’ll be right there’ .and so the panic/ rush began . The drive to his house, the drive to the airport ,my sister jumping on the plane with them with no luggage .The waiting , waiting for the call that he made it through surgery .then the guilt .Did I pray for someone to die.? My brother got through it ,lots of ups and down . Never easy .but he is amazing . As he waits for another major surgery this month ,the stress for all of us is sometimes overwhelming .especially for my parents . But you keep going because he does ,everyday!!
    Thanks for this !!! Xxoo

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  4. Wow, this was very emotional for me to read , being as your Dad is my first cousin. I have always had the upmost respect for Edward and Lorraine….two very great loving compassionate people. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the kids since they were little children. I do believe we are “all Daddy’s girls”. This was beautifully written and I too, thank God for Larry. Here’s to many, many, many years of life and happiness for “The Hogan Family”.
    Jo Hogan ( Josephine, Uncle Benedict’s daughter)
    Take care of yourself and each other.

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    • Josephine…thank you so much!!!! Us Hogan’s gotta stick together…love that you read it…it was very emotional for me to write but felt compelled to…of course had to get dad’s approval first…lol lol lol…

      keep reading and keep praying for larry…xxoo…

      Like

  5. Danielle, this is a great story but really sad. I too had a transplant. my sister was the donor. she donated her kidney to me on may 9th. 2005. so thankful for such a beautiful sister and for wayne stoyles who was there when I had the transplant. a day I won,t ever forget may 9th . 2005. I want to wish your dad the best and also your family. thinking about you all , xoxo

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  6. I worked my first job with your Mom and my last with your Dad before I left the country to go live in Holland, and now in Turkey. I am also glad to read that larry is 11 … Tell them both I say Hello and send my best 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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