Reflections from the First Teen Editor of Transplant Chronicles

By Joshua Goldberg

I could easily say that it's been awhile since I have written for the chronicles. I believe it was the end of my final year in middle school when I signed off for the final time. Boy, does time fly.

As an almost 21 year old, life has changed pretty dramatically. I’m a college kid less than two years away from holding my diploma, and all of a sudden the youngster I used to be seems to be slowly drifting into the past. I’m still pretty much the same person with the same boyish sense of humor, but suddenly I find myself confronted by the near future of adulthood.

Now as the fate of adulthood continues to draw closer, I find myself venturing into the world as far more independent and self-confident than ever before. But of course, this newfound sense of self-reliance is only a reflection of what I have learned and what was taught to me throughout my childhood.

I’m speaking of course about my parents, to whom I credit everything I have ever accomplished in the beginning chapters of my life thus far. It’s very true that real-life heroes don’t wear capes or masks or run around the world in eight seconds; real heroes are the individuals who provide us with unconditional love and unending support throughout our lives.  I am truly blessed to call myself their son.

What always kept me off guard throughout my childhood was the day-to-day uncertainty of living with a parent suffering from end stage renal disease. Though both transplants were successful, the expiration dates of the organs are never known. I wondered how anyone could live without knowing whether they would awaken the next day.

Last year, I found myself asking those very same questions, as my grandmother gradually succumbed to bladder cancer at the age of 90. How do you live with that uncertainty? How do you act towards a loved-one whom you’re not sure if you will ever see again?

Through my grandma’s final months, she taught me that dying, although inevitable, should never be the focus of an individual’s life. However acute the onset of death might be, we have to live in the moment. Her first words in the morning were indeed “I’m still here,” right until her final day. The moment that we begin to think about the uncertainty of tomorrow is a moment wasted. Now, the present, is the only time that matters. If I close my eyes, I can still hear her say to me “I am with you now Joshua, and that’s all that counts.” I believe savoring the moment of “now” could not be more valuable. Now is all we have, so why not make the most of it?

My Grandma is no longer here, but her lessons have proven invaluable to me throughout my life. I have learned not to question the lifespan of my mom’s kidneys, as hard as that is for me at times. Treasure the moments and experiences of today because no one can effectively predict the happenings of tomorrow.  Though our loved ones may come and go, the memories we create with them will live on forever.