This week, my uncle went home to be with Jesus. I want to tell you a little about him and how he played a part in my story, and now in the story of so many others.
God must have needed a very loving angel when he called my uncle home. We may say his life was too short or we want to keep him here to love or to do more good, but God’s ways are higher than ours. Uncle Kirk is going to touch more lives for our Lord through his death as complete strangers learn about his legacy and the life he lived.
I was his second niece and flower girl, the little girl who would come over and entertain his girls and play with his dogs. I will always remember his hugs and devotion to his family. He loved so many people and so many things. He brought our family a lot of joy.
In remembrance of my uncle’s love and humility, I want to write about something that is special to both of us. Uncle Kirk and I are the only people in our family who now truly, personally understand the gift of organ donation through being a recipients or donor.
During the summer of 2010 while I was waiting for a life-saving liver transplant, I rallied to raise money for a fundraiser for Lifebanc, our area’s organ donation and procurement agency. Without any asking, Uncle Kirk took it upon himself to personally raise hundreds and hundreds of dollars for my team. At the day of the fundraiser, Uncle Kirk wanted to sign up to be an organ donor. I had no idea at the time.
At the hospital this week, shocked at the sudden state of my uncle, I found out about his decision, and I was moved.
How like my Uncle Kirk was it to want to be an organ donor? To want to use his healthy body to someday save and change the lives of dozens of strangers? Kind of predictable in hindsight.
He got his wish, and I’m in humble awe of how my story helped move him to that decision. Today, so many people are beginning their new lives all because of my uncle and his giving heart.
As a 2-year liver recipient, I cannot even express what a gift Uncle Kirk has given to not just one person, but so many. A dad could have sight today or a young boy have a new, beating heart. Maybe like my story, a college student and an infant are sharing a strong, healthy liver. Perhaps a burned, injured soldier has a chance to look normal again, and a woman on the verge of death is breathing through pure, healthy lungs.
My uncle made a difference every single day, but I want everyone reading these words to know that he will continue to make a difference every single day…. Literally.
He will live on and make a difference through his legacy, without a doubt, but you all know that. I want you to know and forever remember that he gifted his body to dozens of people and his love is literally living on all over the nation. And it will continue to, just like the memories in our hearts.
Thank you for loving my uncle and my family, and thank you, Uncle Kirk, for leaving a beautiful legacy of love. You will never be forgotten, and you are living on through your death. In heaven and on this earth.