Dear Heart Recipient,
My name is Rochelle and you have my husband Jesse’s heart.
Jesse and I started dating when I was 18. We were together for 13 years and reside in Florida. In those 13 years prior to his untimely death, we had four children. One of which I was pregnant with when he passed.
Jesse was known for being a good father, above anything else. He had three daughters and one son. His two older girls he treated like princesses. He spent an hour at night tucking them in and would play dolls with them whenever they wanted. With his son, he built STEM projects with him weekly. It is still my son’sfavorite thing to do, but it’s different now. He would have adored his last daughter, I know it.
It has been difficult without him. It is hard to give that same attention to the children that he gave. It is even harder to see the pain in their faces and know I cannot do anything about it.
I became a solo mother and widow at 30, this isn’t really how I planned my life. Writing this letter isn’t something I thought I would ever do, yet here I am.
I figured it is important to tell you whose heart you have. Jesse was a property manager. He loved video games and writing. He loved movies and especially critiquing those films. He was an excellent cook. I suppose you could say he was a jack of all trades. When he did decide to do something, he made sure it was done perfectly. He was also well liked. Everyone loved him and he had no enemies. I know that is often said about people when they pass but it was true for him.
He didn’t have much as in money or material items, but he was always the first to give what he did have away. I remember one time when we were younger spending our last $10 at a Burger King for lunch, he picked up our order, only to instantly walk away from me and give his food to a homeless man outside. He did that all the time. Another time it was his sandals, right off ofhis feet. He really took the phrase “I will give the shirt off my back,” quite literally.
First it was food, then sandals, then a whole heart.
When I was asked in the hospital if we should donate his organs, I was reluctant. The truth is, I am on the sad side of this. Agreeing to donate his organs was surprisingly painful. It feels like betrayal. My immediate emotion was no, I had to protect Jesse, I couldn’t let someone do that to him. But within a second, I changed my mind. This wasn’t my choice- it was Jesse’s, and he had made it very clear to me to donate everything he could. So that’s what we did.
The timing was interesting, poetic almost. It was Christmas Eve for us when we walked him back to the operating room. His family was with him and we all cried as he was pulled away from us at 11:50 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Then we had to turn and walk away. I looked at my phone as I exited the hospital in disbelief… 12:00 a.m…. and I said Merry Christmas to you, in my head.
Luckily, I have a close friend who’s father received a donated heart. She was able to tell me her side of it, as the donee. She told me how it changed her father’s life and that he got a second chance to live, which he does to the fullest. I see his photos and I can see the gratitude and joy for life in his family’s face. I am happy my friend’s father gets to spend more time with her and his grandchildren.
I am happy for you, that you were able to continue living and do whatever it is that you enjoy to do.
My hope is that you will respond to this letter. I would love to know who has my husband’s heart. I would love to know about you, but I also understand if you are unable to respond.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.