“Our baby is graduating today”, I thought as I rolled onto my back and buried myself deeper into my fort of pillows. My mind was racing with a list of to-dos, while my heart pumped excitedly with joy. Oh what a special day it was, indeed. My son, Kalep, high school graduation was later that evening. And with the recent cancellation of “life as we knew it”, due to an unforeseen global pandemic, having the opportunity to safely celebrate the Simsboro High School Class of 2020 was worth the wait.
My daughter, Kayla, came into my bedroom later that morning, just as she had for the last two months to check on me. Since March, our little family had become a self-sustaining quarantine machine. Aundrey had left for work and my care in the hands of our teenagers. Focused with the safety and health of his family, he created a rigorous routine of disinfecting and storing essentials each day.
While my family was busy with our care, I wasn’t much help. You see, my liver was failing. After a 13 year battle with Autoimmune Hepatitis, in July 2019 I was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). The only cure–organ transplantation. I was placed on “the list” on January 30, 2020. My last few months had been spent walking from my bedroom to my bathroom. And even then, that simple task seemed insurmountable.
Graduation was totally a big deal. After months of being in, sacrificing events, missing friends, family and students, only to risk it for my son’s graduation. How could I forget to mention he was Valedictorian! It was my goal to save all of my strength just for that special evening with my family. Though mentally and emotionally I felt full of joy, physically I was not at my best. I was suffering with ascites and experiencing “brain fogs.” Kayla climbed into bed with me and snuggled under the covers. After I had taken my medication, we dozed off. I set my alarm so that I would still have time to take care of my to-dos. My “big” to-do was to pick up Kalep’s special cake.
After I woke from my nap, I knew that I did not have the strength to pick up the cake. In the end, Kayla and my mother-in-law took that task off of my plate. I stayed in bed until two o’clock. Finally, I had enough strength to make it to the shower. Kayla had come back to the room to make sure I didn’t need any help with getting dressed. As I laid across the bed, breathing heavily, wrapped in a towel, my phone began to ring. I was trying to gather myself, because all I needed to do was get dressed for an event that was three hours away.
“Hello, I’m calling for Darmecia Crane.”
“This is she.”
“Hi, I’m calling to let you know we have an organ offer for you, if you would like to
“Yes, we have an organ for you.”
Tears poured from my eyes and I began to thank God for being so faithful. My health was failing and I wasn’t sure how it was going to end. The young man gave me instructions on next steps, but honestly, I only remembered the time span I needed to make it to there. My colorful suitcase that was packed back in February never beamed brighter in May. With joy overflowing, I shared the news with Kalep and Kayla first. I apologized to Kalep because now I knew I would not make it to his graduation for sure. But being the loving son he is, he said “I know momma, it’s okay. I need you to be okay.” Kalep was the graduate, but I received the perfect graduation gift.
UNOS is continuously working to increase the number of transplants. You can contribute to this work by giving and encouraging others to give during #LifeGivingTuesday. Learn more.