Gloria’s birthday is today. I sang to her last night, but not the dull, draggy old happy birthday song that we’ve all been singing and listening to for decades. Noooooooooo! Instead I sang her an adapted, personalized version of “God Danced The Day You Were Born” by Andrew Lawrence.* She liked it.
“I’m turning 63!” she had announced last Saturday night, when she came over to my house for dinner, along with some other (fully vaccinated) friends. She was sparkly-eyed, the liveliest I’ve ever seen her. Her new kidney is working well. “I love not going to dialysis three times a week!”
Gloria energetically told our kidney story to a young couple, Alex and Sandra, whom I’d just met. They looked a little dazed, trying to keep up. “Alison donated her kidney, but since we’re not a match, her kidney went to Leesa in the Bay Area, and her donation meant I got my kidney a whole lot sooner than I would have otherwise. Plus, I got a live donor, instead of a deceased donor, which is what most people get, and live kidneys let you live longer.”
Paired kidney donation maybe isn’t the easiest thing to get your head around while nibbling chips and salsa at a kitchen island.
Remembering to decenter myself, I refrained from saying “Let me show you my scar!” to Alex and Sandra, even though my scar is my favorite part of my body, now less than two inches long, starting at my belly button. (When I show it to friends, they typically say, “I can’t believe a whole kidney came out of that.”) I also refrained from spouting a passionate riff such as, “Black Lives Matter isn’t just a sign to put in our yards!” Such restraint I have learned.
Living a thing is better than talking about it.
We all have a big give inside of us. If you would like support on your big give, or even just a sounding board as you think out loud about it, I’ve got willing ears.
Happy birthday, dear Gloria. I love you.
*I have sung personalized versions of this birthday song to several readers/friends/family members, including with dance moves when in person or on Zoom. Feel free to ask me to sing to you on your birthday!