My sister Christy was diagnosed with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) in 2005. A genetic liver disease that leads to failure of the organ. She was placed on the liver transplant waiting list. An organ transplant was the only option for her survival. As time passed, her situation worsened and without a transplant, she was not going to make it. So I offered to donate part of mine. This is known as being a living donor. I went through all the physical and mental testing at Duke University and they deemed me a match and able to donate. In January, 2006 the transplant was completed, but the journey had just begun. It was a long and arduous one for her, and a difficult one for me. One day I would like to write a book about it. The previous is a very very condensed version of how things began. Seriously, it would take a lot of pages to describe everything, that happened during that time period and afterwards.
The short of it is, Christy lived 7 more years after the first transplant. The disease became too much for her to overcome, and she passed away on August 20th, 2013. She was 35 with a loving husband and two beautiful daughters.
My family got to be by her side during the final moments, but I was away on a business trip in Boston when she passed. While waiting at the airport for my early flight back home, I felt compelled to write. And so I did. This is the poem I wrote at the airport and read to her at her funeral.
A Poem for My Sister
Out of town I was amassed
The news came you had passed.
The Angels had taken your soul
It was all out of my control.
As I wait for my flight feeling almost alone.
I cry…you won’t be there when I get home…
I’ll be heading home from this big city
Trying not to have any self pity.
Your time was spent shining so bright
A gift now taken from all our sight.
Your story should be heard far and wide
“No one can compare” I will always say with pride.
The way you handled a life full of pain
Only a fool would express any disdain.
A life of suffering you did not deserve
It is a wonder how you kept your reserve.
Never once asking for compassion
You remained as a great bastion.
You are my inspiration – I want you to know
I hope you enjoy heaven while watching us all grow.
It is time for me to board the plane.
I remind myself you are no longer in pain.
I pray I continue to make you proud
To everyone I say out loud.
We love you and you will be missed
And this is my poem for you, my beautiful big sis…
Writing this poem, I had a lot of time to reflect on my sister’s life. She influenced and inspired a lot of people. Myself being one of those people. Witnessing how she handled her misfortunes, inspired me to reach new heights in my fitness career. Wherever you are in your life, I hope you are taking the time to nourish and cherish your health. You only get one body in this lifetime, so live well and show your body the respect it deserves. Not only will your body and mind thank you, but your family will too!