Threads of Life Quilt

This years quilt square is our first. A year ago we didn’t even know this quilt existed. This year I want to wrap myself up in it and celebrate all the lives that have been impacted by the stories that the quilt holds. We will continue to make squares in the years to come and honor those who have given or received the gift of life.

Making the square is a way in which we can honor our girls and share with other families that have received or donated organs. We are honored to be part of this family and while moving through this journey we are on we have found Abigail’s gift of life brings us tremendous joy. Hopefully one day we will hug those who carry a little piece of our girl with them daily. For now we pray for them and celebrate the story of how our two little girls have given so much to those around them.

The Thread’s of Life Quilt will be displayed in the Forest Grove Library starting this coming Monday and will be there for a week. I’m honored to have the quilt in our community and am grateful to our community library for displaying it.

I celebrate all of those people who have been impacted by organ donation. We are a family and I am proud of that fact.

threads of life

The quilt is accompanied by a book that tells about each square. The stories of those the quilt represents are touching, both donors and recipients. The quilt is about life and loving;  it brings a smile to my face and I’m sure it does the same for other family members of those who are impacted by organ donation.

Here’s what is written on Abigail’s page:

Honoring Abigail Robinson

Forest Grove, OR

Organ and Tissue Donor

Abigail Robinson was 11 yrs old when she went, along with her 6 yr old sister Anna, to Heaven on October 20, 2013. Both girls loved life to the fullest and were loved by everyone they encountered. Abigail was a 6th grader at Tom McCall Upper Elementary School where she had lots and lots of friends, played the trumbone in the band and made the best of every single day. Anna was a 1st grader at Dilley Elementary School and was just learning how to read. She too had lots of friends and loved recess where she spent her time swinging with her best friend McKenna. Both Abigail and Anna loved to dance, listen to music, spending time with their family and loved “hanging out” with their friends every chance they got.

Abigail, upon her death, was able to donate her organs to individuals who really needed them. We, her family, are so proud of what she has given to others.

Unfortunately Anna was unable to be an organ donor but during her life on earth gave so much which will continue even after her death.

Both girls are a light for so many!

The design for this square was taken from a drawing that was made by the girl’s mom, per Abigail’s request, to put on a sweatshirt that was bought this school year. Abigail loved drawing trees and Anna loved climbing them. The leaves are made of fabric that was found in both the girls sewing kits and has been used in many art projects by the girls. It is the same fabric that has made pillow covers, curtains and countless pajama bottoms.

The picture was taken at Orcas Island the summer of 2013 just before a long hike. Both girls are missed greatly but continue to give those they loved signs that Heaven is real and they are okay.

muscles girls

LOVE

So much LOVE.

It’s amazing what this four letter word can do to ones heart. Thank you for responding to Love Rocks and choosing to love fiercely those around you. I can’t wait to see how the love of two little girls and our amazing community ripples across the country.

Thank you to all of those who sent us cards, put flowers in our front yard, made homemade eclairs, made a cake or said prayers for us this past weekend. We are so blessed and feel so loved by so many. We have found that in having no expectations for what each holiday will bring, we are always amazed at the peace and love we feel as we move through our year of first. We know, without a doubt, that our girls were celebrating Easter and Tom’s birthday in the most glorious place of all. We smile at the thought of the perfect milkshakes they were drinking to honor their dad/Tom as we were eating store bought ice cream.

These next couple of weeks are going to be very busy for both of us. Right now we are in tech week for Guys and Dolls which opens this coming weekend. Once again we have spent the last 2 months with a group of amazing people laughing, creating and celebrating community theater. We feel so blessed to be a part of Theater in the Grove and have truly found that it is a place we not only feel the presence of our girls, but also are surrounded by people we truly love and love us.

We are also very excited to be hosting an event on May 3rd, alongside Donate Life Northwest, to celebrate the gifts that our girls have given during their lives. We feel very blessed to be part of the Donate Life family and are honored to share Abigail’s donation story. We are so proud of the fact that she has impacted so many lives through her donation. Anna has also given an amazing amount of gifts to those around her during her short life on earth and continues to do so now that she is in Heaven. I am looking forward to sharing with our community all of those gifts and to celebrate and bring awareness to organ donation. If you would like to attend you can register at http://www.donatelifenw.org/content/events.

Needless to say our plates are very full right now. Sometimes being busy is a blessing and sometimes it’s not. I have found that I have become quite the introvert  and I find that a good day for me is one in which I can lock myself in my house and spend hours on iPhoto or in heaps of fabric in front of my sewing machine. My life is busy right now honoring my girls and celebrating their lives; this brings me joy.

I have found that even through this joy, moment by moment there are a variety of emotions. My heart hurts in places I didn’t know could hurt and it has also felt joy in ways I could never imagine, especially given our circumstances. My heart will never be whole again here on earth, pieces of it now reside in Heaven with my girls. I do however feel that with suffering emotional pain one can truly feel the joy in new and different ways they never thought they could. My girls have always brought me joy…now that joy is supernatural and a gift from God!

I love and miss them so much.

 

event

National Organ Donation Month

“He is having a good time being a lively boy.”

As I read this line of an email I received yesterday I could picture him, playing out on the playground at his school. Maybe he had been restricted in the months or even years leading up to receiving the call that there was a liver that was a perfect match. This 8-year-old boy whose life changed the day Abigail went to Heaven. His family able to sleep knowing that their little guy will be ok.

I pray for them.

I am grateful that God makes good out of bad. I am grateful for this families love story and how God has entwined our lives together. We do not know them but hopefully one day we will get to meet and tell them all about our girls. I would love to see this little boy’s smile.

Last April, celebrating National Organ Donation Month was not even on our radar. I had heard stories about lives being changed by organ donation but never could have imagined that we, in just a years time, would be part of this family of giving life after a death.

I had a conversation with the girls once about people who give their organs to others after they die. I remember Abigail asking 10 yr old questions and Anna not understanding that it wouldn’t hurt to take out your organs after your soul was already in Heaven. I didn’t think much of the conversation until October 21st when we were being asked if we would consider donating Abigail’s organs.

The answer to that question was easy, of course we would because Abigail would want that. I remember Tom looking at me, tears in his eyes, and saying that this will be the joy, Abigail will give life.

I am so proud of my girls for so many reasons. They have shown so much love and hope through their lives but also through their death.

Someday, I too will be in Heaven, and I will yell their names and they will come running. I focus on that embrace in my darkest hours, the embrace that does not have an end but will last for eternity.

organ donation

 

 

 

Proud

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The mail comes mid-day and lately we have lots of it. Cards, medical bills and all the usual junk mail. Yesterday we got a letter from the PNTB, Pacific Northwest Transplant Bank. We have been receiving letters from them thanking us for our donation and welcoming us to the “Donation Family,” a family we are very proud to be part of.

A couple of weeks ago we received a little box with a letter inside telling us that both of Abigail’s kidneys, her liver, and one cornea were successfully transplanted. We got a little description of the individuals that received these organs and tissue but nothing specific.

Yesterday we got our first letter from a recipient of one of Abigail’s kidneys. The letter was beautiful and talked about renewed life and how he will never forget what was given to him. He thanked us with all of his heart – he was so grateful! There was also a letter from another family member which described what happened during the week of Oct. 21st. How they received a call from their cousin, the recipient, on their way home from a Bible study. They wrote about how their cousin had to get to Portland by 8 am on the 24th, the morning after Abigail left for surgery.

They talked about how this donation was an answer to prayer and how much they prayed for the donor’s family, they prayed for us!  They said they are living through everyone’s prayers – just like how we are living through everyone’s prayers. Tom and I cried. Abigail saved someone’s life, she gave someone hope for a brighter future.

I remember thinking as I was saying good-bye to her that someone was getting that call they’ve been waiting for. That a family was happy because their family member was getting a new lease on life. I remember those thoughts comforting me while I was kissing her forehead for the last time. She was such a giver and she now has given the ultimate gift. We are so proud of her and we are so looking forward to meeting the individuals that she blessed with her organs.

When we meet, I will tell them about my girl and what her life was like. I will tell them about how she had so many friends and family members that loved and adored her. I will tell them how she was never afraid to try something new, she was so adventurous. I will tell them how creative she was and how our lives are now filled with her beautiful creations. I will tell them everything about her…I will tell them they are so blessed to have a little piece of her because she was truly AMAZING!

As a parent you never think that making a decision to donate your child’s organs is one you will have to make. Making the decision for our daughter was emotional, but not hard because we know that if Abigail was asked, she would have made the same decision. This choice of giving life is Abigail’s ultimate legacy and for those who were gifted, we will forever feel a connection. They are our family now too.

I am so proud to be Abigail’s mom. I look forward to the day when we are together again <3.

Update (10/23/2017)

It has been 4 years since I wrote this post about the day Abigail gave the ultimate gift of life. Since then we have received a letter from her other kidney recipient and have had the opportunity to meet her liver recipient.  We also found out this past year that her pulmonary valve was given to a young girl in California which ultimately saved her life.  Her gift of life continues and we are so proud of her and her little sister!

If you are reading this and are considering being a donor, here are a few links that will give you more information.

Donate Life Northwest:   http://www.donatelifenw.org/

Donate Life:  http://donatelife.net/


Abigail Donation