The coolest birthday gift

Our Aunt Shelley, who had the bummest liver ever, received the gift of a healthy new organ on my birthday. There are still many questions and much healing to come, but it appears she's taken to her new liver beautifully.

As a family, we are mindful that the donor is no longer with us and that the donor's friends and family are grieving, while we are feeling hopeful and full of thanks. The donor's loved ones should know that Shelley is a much-needed, much-loved member of her immediate and extended families, someone who is full of humor, energy, love and curiosity.

When I first met her more than 20 years ago, she took me shopping--as is her way--and I asked Shelley, who's a therapist, "How do you know, if he's the one (speaking of Mr. Nake-id)?"

There was no, "Oh, you'll know" or mystical soul mate rhetoric. She just said, "You don't. You never know. You just do it, work at it and hope for the best."

I did know, though. I knew that I belonged with not just Mitch but also his family. I am blessed to have two loving, supportive and spirited families, and over the years, Shelley has been a big part of the hijinks on Mr. Nake-id's side.

Please send a prayer Shelley's way and to the family and friends of her donor. And take a moment to check your organ donor status, if you've made that very personal choice, and register if you that's your inclination.

It can make the difference between another birthday and none.

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