Soul Mates and Angels

6 10 2012

Tabitha’s Wish was a post I read floating around on Facebook. The story left me reflective and humbled by the ripples that each of our lives creates. Tabitha was a young girl who on her own decided to be an organ donor. No one could have imagined that one-week after signing an organ donor card she would pass away from a rare brain bleed. Her donation went on to save seven lives. This is what her Dad was able to hold onto as he grieved.

This story breaks my heart; I cannot imagine losing a child. I won’t even watch movies like “Taken” or “The Lovely Bones” because it is simply too painful for me to even contemplate. But as I thought of Tabitha’s Wish, I realized how the gift of organ donation had really deeply touched my life.

Steve and I first met decades ago when we were new and fresh in our careers. We had both volunteered to work on our local ADDY Awards show. He’s a bit older than me and I knew him by reputation having been honored with Cinematographer of the Year the previous year. Steve can be a bit intimidating. Think the comedienne Lewis Black or the TV character Lou Grant—remember that line from the Mary Tyler Moore show, “You’ve got spunk…I hate spunk.” Well, that could be Steve.

I became friends with Steve and his wife Jane. When I saw Steve with Jane I quickly realized he is really more like Ferdinand the Bull—big and intimidating, but really all heart.  I also knew from the ad community that this was a couple that adored each other. And that Jane had diabetes. From the outside looking in, I did not see the impact of her disease. I just saw this hilarious, fun, welcome-everyone-who–entered-her-home-with-open-arms person.

Over the years that I knew them, I always admired the love they radiated. Jane was Steve’s biggest cheerleader and this bull of a man was always so kind and tender with her. I did not see the devastation this disease brought into their lives.

As some point diabetes destroyed Jane’s kidneys. She got on the transplant list and got the transplant and her life was given back to her and Steve. Her gift of joy, and humor, and selflessness stayed in the world for another 20 years because of a stranger’s donation.

Jane’s health was always in the forefront of her relationship with Steve. They talked of the probability of her going before him. Jane’s wish was for Steve to continue to live his life to the fullest. I read of her death on Facebook with a simple post from a friend, She died in his arms. It was shocking for those of us who knew her; we all felt she would continue to beat the odds. At her funeral I remember the same friend who left the Facebook post saying what would Steve do without Jane.

I don’t know what it’s like to lose your life partner in death, but I do know what it’s like to be single again after decades in married world. It feels like an alternative universe. Steve took to Facebook to fill his alone hours. And I started including him in group invites like the event, Live after Five. I knew it to be a fun, music-filled downtown party that was full of people—couples and singles—that Steve knew. Soon enough he joined the krewe.

Days turned into weeks and into months. Facebook time became face-to-face time. Our friendship started to evolve. We decided it was time to have an official first date, just us. I shared my real concerns up front. I knew I could never compare to what he had and I was not willing to just be a date to “practice” on right after losing his wife. He told me simply that Jane was gone and he would never compare me or anyone to her. He was in a new chapter of his life.

Steve and I fell fast and hard for each other. It was in those first few intense weeks as we became a couple that I first felt Jane’s blessing. Steve was getting his house ready for an estate sale. He was boxing up things to keep and things to sell. He casually handed me a book that he said was something Jane liked and maybe I would too. It was a book of daily affirmations for every day of the year. It had a bookmark in it, which is where I opened it up to. It was marked on the current day. It said that to enjoy each moment and to live it to the fullest, you never knew where you’d be one-year from today. I asked Steve if he had bookmarked it for me and he had not. We both knew it was an angel sending us a message that we were meant to be.

I will forever be grateful for Jane, Steve’s soul mate. How could I not be, she taught him how to love deeply. That ability to love continues in the world today.

Yes, love endures and lives on. Sign the organ donor box on the back of your driver’s license. It’s really that easy to leave the gift of love.

Me and my sweetie, Steve

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69 responses

6 10 2012
duncan McLindon

Thank you for your kind words . here is the link to Tabitha’s wish http://www.facebook.com/tabithaswish

7 10 2012
conniemcleod

Duncan, thank you for sharing Tabitha’s Wish and your story. I hope you take comfort in knowing that you are having an impact in someone’s life that you don’t even know. —Connie

9 10 2012
melinda!

Beautiful story, Connie. I knew Steve and Jane as well and their deep love for each other. I didn’t know the story of how y’all got together so thanks for sharing it. Y’all always look so happy together and I am glad both of you found love again.

16 11 2012
Helene Bludman

Connie, this is such a beautiful story. Fate brought you and Steve together and blessed you with happiness. Wishing you many more years of bliss.

16 11 2012
conniemcleod

Thanks Helene, I really do feel the universe’s blessing.

16 11 2012
midlifecrisisqueen

Connie: such an essential message to live right now, one we surely learn more and more about every year of our lives.
Because my new love at age 50 has been a man with CFS, I related fully with your perception about “not seeing the impact of her disease.” I have learned so much by living with a man with a chronic illness. It is one of the greatest challenges of aging, and one most of us will learn either with an illness ourselves, or as a caregiver.

16 11 2012
conniemcleod

Laure Lee, I appreciate your comment. Steve has actually thought to write about the reality of living with a spouse with diabetes. But I think it’s too hard for him to do, at least right now. Go hug your man for me.

3 12 2012
themidlifesecondwife

I got chills reading this. What a life- and love-affirming story!

3 12 2012
conniemcleod

Thank you, we just celebrated the third anniversary of our first kiss.

3 12 2012
Barbara

Checked (my driver’s license for organ donor). Your very personal and moving story is another reminder why.

3 12 2012
conniemcleod

Barbara, it’s such a easy and simple thing to do. You never know the lives you may touch by being a donor.

3 12 2012
Sharon Greenthal

This is an amazing story. I’m so glad you and Steve found happiness together, and I’m sure Jane is smiling down on you. And I have to say, I love your husband’s face – you can see all of the fun and love in his heart through his smile.

3 12 2012
conniemcleod

He is my sweetie! And I do feel blessed.

3 12 2012
afterthekidsleave

What a beautiful story! I’m so glad you found one another…you look so delighted to be together.
Karen

3 12 2012
conniemcleod

The best thing is at this age, we do know how lucky we are!

3 12 2012
Meeting the loves of our lives | After the kids leave

[…] Soul Mates and Angels (ConnieMcLeod.com) […]

3 12 2012
conniemcleod

thanks for the repost

3 12 2012
Ginger Kay

Beautifully told; I love that you are able to appreciate his life with Jane and not feel threatened by it. That takes so much love and grace.

3 12 2012
conniemcleod

Thanks for your comment Ginger. She taught him to love, how could I be jealous of that.

3 12 2012
Melissa Lawler (@MsMissy62)

Second chances are wonderful.

3 12 2012
conniemcleod

yes they are!

3 12 2012
joyweesemoll

Such a tender story. I read a statistic somewhere that people who were happily married are more likely to have a second happy marriage later in life. In one way, it doesn’t seem fair, but I think there’s something to “learning to love deeply” as you say.

3 12 2012
conniemcleod

I’ve had to learn that he does things for me just because he loves me. I always tell him how grateful I am and I never take the things he does for granted. It’s been a learning experience for me because my first marriage was not easy.

3 12 2012
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3 12 2012
conniemcleod

thanks for the repost

3 12 2012
Fern DeVilliers

This was such a great story Connie. You made me cry – in a good way! Very touching. And the message of living life to the fullest, so true. Loved it!

3 12 2012
conniemcleod

Thanks Fern. I laughingly say my Indian name is “She Who Weeps” so I understand the tears.

3 12 2012
BigLittleWolf

All I can say is “wow.”

To the generosity all ’round, the openness of spirit that know how to see a partner and love, and the heart that expands to love again.

I also admire your willingness and bravery in plunging in again after divorce. It’s terribly hard. For some of us, more than others.

3 12 2012
conniemcleod

I was 5 years post divorce when Steve and I started dating. I wouldn’t have been ready for it before then. I’ve come to accept that we are exactly where we are suppose to be.

3 12 2012
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3 12 2012
conniemcleod

thanks for the repost

3 12 2012
Aimee Troxclair Hansen

I didn’t know about this part of your relationship – you know my brother Donnie’s story and how fully and deeply I believe that God places us where we must be. What a beautiful blessing you both have in one another.

3 12 2012
conniemcleod

Hugs to you and your brother

3 12 2012
haralee

A very touching story. I wish you the very best!

3 12 2012
conniemcleod

thank you

3 12 2012
Lois

What an amazing story — I have tears in my eyes. Thanks for sharing and for showing the importance of becoming an organ donor.

3 12 2012
conniemcleod

Thank you for commenting Lois

4 12 2012
Bonnie

This is such a sweet, tender, and loving story. What a great Lifetime movie this would make.
I agree that Jane was sending her blessing. She can rest easy knowing her beloved is once again happy.

4 12 2012
conniemcleod

I believe that too Bonnie

4 12 2012
javaj240

What a great story! So honest. So mature. I loved it!

4 12 2012
conniemcleod

I tell everyone I’m his sweet young thing (I’m 55).

4 12 2012
javaj240

Here’s to hoping you’re still saying this at75!

4 12 2012
conniemcleod

🙂

4 12 2012
Walker Thornton (@WalkerThornton)

Love endures and lives on… Indeed. What a wonderful and uplifting story

4 12 2012
conniemcleod

I appreciate your comment.

4 12 2012
darrylepollack

What an unexpectedly beautiful story; thank you for sharing; and how lucky both of you are to have found your way to love and appreciate each other.

4 12 2012
conniemcleod

I am one lucky woman!

4 12 2012
Chloe Jeffreys (@ChloeJeffreys)

That is a beautiful love story. I am moved to tears by your love for Steve, but also your love for Jane. Thank you for sharing this with us.

4 12 2012
conniemcleod

Thank you for making me feel so welcome in GenFab.

4 12 2012
daphne

I signed mine, years ago…. It makes sense to pass on something valuable when you no longer need it. Nice write, Connie …..

4 12 2012
conniemcleod

Thanks

4 12 2012
Kathy

What a beautiful story. So happy you found each other and love once again.

Kathy
http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

4 12 2012
susanintheboonies

What a touching story!!! Thank you so much for sharing it, Connie!

4 12 2012
conniemcleod

Susan, thanks for your comment.

6 12 2012
mindy

What a beautiful story. So happy for the joy you both share.

6 12 2012
conniemcleod

Thanks Mindy

14 12 2012
imnotasupermom

Totally teary right now. This is a beautiful story. I would want my husband to be happy like that if he outlives me. It would be the best thing I could hoe for him.

14 12 2012
conniemcleod

Thank you for your comment. Believe it or not, it can make me tear up too!

3 02 2014
What Gives You Joy | Connie McLeod

[…] •  Knowing love […]

26 03 2014
Lynne

What a beautiful story. Made me tear up!! Thank you so much for sharing.

26 03 2014
conniemcleod

Lynne, thanks for stopping by. It may sound strange, but I tear up when I read it too.

26 03 2014
Duncan McLindon

THANK YOU for sharing Tabitha’s wish

26 03 2014
conniemcleod

Duncan, this has been one of my most popular blog posts. I hope it has driven some traffic to Tabitha’s Wish.

26 03 2014
Sheryl

What a wonderful story, on so many levels.

26 03 2014
conniemcleod

Thanks Sheryl.

27 03 2014
Mindy Mitchell

A lovely story and a great reminder of so many things: that life is short…that new love is possible…that the ones we hold dear live through us..thank you so much for sharing this.
Mindy
lubeoflife.com

27 03 2014
conniemcleod

I appreciate your comment Mindy.

27 03 2014
sulliv90

I love the way you describe Steve, because Dave can be intimidating to people and underneath he’s just a big Luv. As usual Connie, you speak of such important things that make life complete- love and loss, and finding it again. Thanks for the wonderful reminders! XO Virginia

27 03 2014
conniemcleod

Hugs to you Virginia, I look forward to meeting your sweetheart someday.

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