(This is a past post I had edited and thought I accidentally deleted. I have looked for it, and finally found it in a folder.)
Today is my brother's birthday. Being a typical younger sister, we have had our share of disagreements and other scuffles, and yet I am so thankful for his life and what he has contributed to mine. There are many poignant examples I could use to highlight his admirable qualities. He is funny, and wise beyond his years. In my mind, however, it is the gift he gave to my family almost three years ago that best describes who he is as a person.
Many years ago, my dad was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease, yet he has managed to live a relatively normal life until recently. His doctor finally told him that he would need to have a transplant, as his kidney was failing. Otherwise, he would be on dialysis for the rest of his life.
After exploring all of the options, my brother Alan told my dad that he would like to donate his kidney. I know this must have been a difficult decision for my dad to make, and yet, his choices were limited. I don't think there was even a question in Alan's mind about the surgery. If he was a match, he would donate his kidney.
As it turned out, he was a match for my dad, and the surgery went extremely well. As I look back on the time we were at the hospital as a family, I am amazed at how peaceful we were. Our family has always dealt with tension through laughter, so we seemed to be enjoying ourselves during our time at the hospital.
I enjoyed a fun conversation with my dad this afternoon. We usually talk about everything ranging from the weather, to really in-depth issues. He has been my greatest mentor and has listened to me for countless hours since I was young. We used to have long walks and talks on the beach when I lived in Florida. For a brief moment, as we were talking, I realized what a gift my brother's decision had been to give my dad his kidney. I will always be grateful for that decision.