An Open Letter to my Loved One as They Lay Recovering From a Heart Transplant

Dear [Name Redacted]

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From the time we were kids, I’ve looked up to you. Back then, my basis for doing so was admittedly pretty shallow. You were simply the older and cooler relative who I wanted to be around and like.

As we got older, my reasons changed — but my love and admiration for you never did. When you got sober, I was a lot more proud of you than I let on. You became you again and I was so happy for you, even if I wasn’t quite me.

That’s the thing, we’ve seen each other at both our best and worst — and never flinched. We still called to see how the other was, even or especially if we knew it wasn’t good. When everyone else gave up on us, we never gave up on each other.

When Jess kicked me out and I felt like I had nowhere to go and nobody to turn to, I called you. You were there in twenty minutes, possibly your first and last time being on time for something, other than maybe this heart transplant.

Back when one of my friends wanted to date you, I knew it wasn’t you I had to worry about. There’s a hurricane named after you for a reason and I say that with all the love in the world.

When I called you and told you my entire life had gone to shit and I couldn’t find a single thing to be happy about, you asked me the question that helped change my life — “What do you think the cause of all of this is?”

You were the first person who made me admit out loud, that drugs and alcohol were ruining my life. And I’m forever grateful to you for it.

Katrina and I (Christmas 1993)

I mentioned that my reasons for admiring you have changed over the years. Seeing the Mother you are and have been from the first day you became one, is one of those reasons. You did it on your own, when necessary.

You have been the best Mother those two little boys could ask for and when you told me you needed a new heart, I wanted to rip mine out of my own chest and give it to you on the spot, if only for their sake.

All I could think about, is how badly those boys need their Mom. I immediately went home and prayed to God, basically demanding him not to take you. Not from those boys and not from me. Because without you, I’m certain I’d be nothing more than a broken little boy.

Somehow, shortly thereafter — I knew you’d be okay. I didn’t think it, or have a feeling, I simply knew it. I didn’t know how, or how long it would take but I knew you’d be okay. That was the only outcome I’d be accepting of.

As strong as you are, it’s going to take a lot more than a bad heart to stop you from being the best Mom in the world to those kids. And I knew it.

I’m writing this because chances are, I’ll never say half of this to you. I’ve always been better at writing words than I am saying them, I hope you don’t mind.

You’ve been through hell and back and came out better for it. In the end, this is just going to be one of those things you look back on and wonder how you ever made it through it. I won’t though, because I know your strength.

There’s not a lot we haven’t been through together and thanks to the amazing doctors at Penn University, as well as for the young donor who lost their life to addiction — we have a lifetime full of memories ahead of us to make.

They said your first sentence after you woke up was “Tell them to shut the fuck up” — so it looks like you’re already feeling like yourself again.

We made a deal, after you got your new heart and doctors cleared you, we’d go running together. I’ve never looked forward to a run so much in my life.

I love you with all my heart, no pun intended.



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Brian Brewington

Brian Brewington

Writing About the Human Condition, via My Thoughts, Observations, Experiences, and Opinions — Founder of Journal of Journeys and BRB INC ©