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Happy Birthday Jan!

I stood in the card section of Walmart this morning searching for just the right card. It had to make sound, but nothing too obnoxious. I wanted it to be audible, and funny… something she’d want to hear over and over. I felt them all for texture… something she could hold in her hands and enjoy.

It took me 30 minutes, but I finally decided on a card and made my way to the checkout.

As I walked to my car, I dialed her mother’s number. I needed to know if she would be home later so I could stop by and drop off her birthday card. We made arrangements for me to come by while Justin was at school.

I dropped Justin off at 11:00 and made my way to the florist. Again I found myself staring at my choices. Her favorite colors are purple and pink… but at this time of the year, there aren’t many purple and pink flowers.

I found one bouquet and buried my nose deep inside. I breathed their fragrance in as deeply as I could. It was important that they smelled good. They smelled almost like spring.

Next to the display I found a small porcelain angel. I grabbed it too and went to the service desk to have them spruce up my bouquet…

Ten minutes later, I arrived at her house; my card and flower arrangement in hand.

I knocked on her door, and her mother answered. I could hear her calling from the back room, “Who is it, Mom??” Her mom pointed me to where she was.

I walked into the room and told her to “guess who!”

She said, “Shelley!”

Jan, like I’ve said in the past, lost her sight years ago. She is Corey’s kidney and pancreas recipient.

“Happy Birthday, Jan!” She smiled great big. “I have some gifts for you. Hold out your hand.”

I handed her the birthday card. She told me she would have her mom read it to her later. I said, “No. We can read it now.” I opened it and read, “For your birthday I taught the dog how to sing”. Then when she opened the card, a dog started howling the traditional birthday song.

Inside it said, “Next year I’m going to teach him how to dance!” When you close the card it says “Five, six, seven, eight and swing and twirl and jazz hands jazz hands!!”.

It was a card she could read.

Then I handed her the flowers. I described them… Pink and purple. I had her smell them. Then I asked for her hand… and directed it to the porcelain angel.

A smile came across her lips… “An angel! Because I was your angel when you needed one, and Corey was mine when I needed one!”

“Yes. And long after the flowers are gone, you will still have that to remind you.”

Today I celebrate one more year that my son was able to give this sweet woman.

Happy Birthday, Jan… and to all of Corey’s organ recipients.

Gwen Carver

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