Sometimes I come across stories on the internet, as I'm browsing news sites, twitter, other blogs, etc. and I just can't stop thinking about them long after I've moved on to other things. After I read this article about the death of a young, generous woman and the legacy she's continuing to build, it's echo continued to linger. Loss of loved ones has been on my mind pretty often recently and I am comforted by the notion that there is some meaning in the life cycle of all of us humans. That some good can come from the pain of inevitably losing people we love or becoming the lost loved one ourselves.
Kristina Chesterman was a beautiful, 21 year old nursing student when she was killed in a car accident last September. Her selfless decision to be an organ donor saved the lives of two men, two small children, a family friend and a 64 year old, named Susan Vieira, who was suffering from congestive heart failure.
Kristina's Mom, Sandra, discovered a bucket list, among her belongings with future plans like riding a camel, running through a poppy field and learning to fly a plane as well as the wish to someday save a life. Sandra was comforted by the thought that Kristina would live on through the lives her organs saved. She shared the story of her daughter's impact on those lives and told a little more of Kristina's personal story. Susan Vieira became aware of the article, which mentioned that Sandra would like to meet the woman who received her daughter's heart, and reached out.
Sandra shared Kristina's bucket list with Susan and ironically, Susan had already accomplished many of the things on the list. She also vowed to fulfill as many of Kristina's wishes as she can. She says "I'd like to think all the things I continue to accomplish in my life, I'm taking Kristina with me. Together we will finish her bucket list.". Sandra has stated that she couldn't have imagined a more fitting recipient for her daughter's heart.
When the two women met in person, Sandra couldn't wait to hug Susan....because she could feel her daughter's heart beating inside of her. It's an absolutely lovely notion that a young heart, belonging to a girl who's life was cut so tragically short, can go on beating and giving life to another soul, as can the other organs she donated.
Death is confusing and it always feels senseless. It's not always a waste though. Death does not automatically equal meaninglessness. Sometimes death can bring new life and new hope. Our time on earth is short but giving what you can to others and living a life full of love will leave a lasting impression on people. Good deeds are immortal.