By Maureen King Goldberg
Life is a journey full of twists and unexpected turns often leading us in directions never imagined or anticipated. This is especially true when a loved one becomes ill and everything you hoped to have is feared lost. Not so, when the Gift of Life is received. For life can be restored and the joys of living can be renewed with a sense of marvel, giving us a greater spirit and blessings to anticipate.
I now take stock of all that I hold dear and precious. It is through the gift of life (twice given I may add) that I am able to feel life in its totality: to love, to be loved, to give love. I am embraced by the love of my husband and son, surrounded by a group of friends and share a community with my donor/recipient families. It was through the generosity of my cousins Karen and Lisa that I am here watching my boy become a man, and have shared my life with my prince charming. If there are angels, my cousins have wings. They have given me the gift of time I would never otherwise have had.
Thanksgiving is always a special treat in our home as it becomes a blending of Jewish and Hispanic traditions. The best part is that my cousin Karen is host this holiday and all my family has to do is show up with hungry tummies. Homemade tortillas, noodle kugel, creamed corn with stuffed turkey and all the fixings await us. For the vegetarian (that would be me) a tofu delicacy of soy burgers shaped like small kidneys. Karen does this every year to remind me of what she gave up. I remind her that giving up a kidney turned out to be her best diet ever. She has still managed to keep the 10 pounds off from a decade ago.
In a few weeks, we will be back at my home with all the family of cousins to celebrate the festival of lights called Hanukah. This year, the holidays have been bittersweet as I mourn the loss of my beloved mother. She has been my inspiration and role model for “making each day count.” .Whether we are lighting candles to commemorate the Macabee miracle, or saying grace at our Thanksgiving table, I will always be blessed by her loving soul.
It is my hope and prayer for all of us to have a happy, healthy holiday season and wonderful new year filled with the marvels of an ordinary day and strength for days ahead.