I think about them often, anyway, but this past week or so they have been on my heart specifically.

Some family out there is grieving this Thanksgiving over a sweet child missing at the dinner table. No turkey to cut up in tiny pieces, no sweet whining over what food they really don’t want to eat, no throwing food on the floor, no slobbery kisses, no snuggling together on the couch with full bellies.

I have SO much to be thankful for, yet I know there is a family out there who probably doesn’t feel very thankful right now.

And I don’t blame them one bit.

Yet, this thanksgiving, *I* am beyond grateful to them, for thinking of others during their time of grief and allowing my child to live through the gift of their child’s heart. My thanks to them knows no bounds.

My prayer this Thanksgiving is for peace for this family, for God to wrap his loving arms around them and let them experience joy through the pain. That they can enjoy the sweet memories of their child, yet be able to look forward to the life and joy that God wants to give them instead of backward at the pain they have endured, because life spent in the past is a hard place to live.

I know, I know, that’s easy for me to say. My daughter lived. I never said it would be simple, however that’s why we pray, hmm? Not ONLY for the hard things, but ESPECIALLY for the hard things. Only God can do something so amazing as to bring hope after loss, joy after heartache, peace after chaos.

When you sit at the dinner table tomorrow and count over the things you’re thankful for, I’d love for you to remember something.

That life is precious, fleeting, and something oh-so-much to be thankful for. God never promises a tomorrow, just a today. Be thankful, my friends, for your today.

My blue, fluid-filled, very sick baby girl on heart day morning!

Not many people like to think of organ donation “in advance.” There is a spot to fill out on your driver’s license, but your child has no spot to sign. Most people want to plug their ears and say, ‘la la la la la la” at the thought of organ donation for their children. NO ONE, including me, wants to contemplate their child dying young, or even at all.

But it is much easier to make a decision NOW, and to discuss it with your spouse, be in agreement on it.

I’ll be honest. I never thought about it before Annabelle. I like to think I would have made the choice to donate, but I honestly don’t know.

I, however, know now FOR SURE what I would choose.

Discussion: I won’t ask if you’ve signed up to be a donor. That is a personal decision between you and your family. However, if you have questions about organ donation, or thoughts, or comments, I’d LOVE to hear them and to answer them as best I can. I know, an odd Thanksgiving topic, but appropriate for my family today!

And please keep Annabelle’s donor family in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season, as well as all the heart babies that sit in hospitals, their families along with them.

Love and prayers to you all, my wonderful friends! Have a most happy, blessed, and THANKFUL Thanksgiving!



  1. This made me tear up, Krista. What a great reminder to be in prayer for that family that gave Annabelle her heart.

    My debut novel has a scene that relates to organ donation. It's amazing to me….this thing.

    Organ donation.

    It represents such pain for one, and such hope for another. But like you said, Krista, God can bring beauty and joy from that pain. It makes absolutely no sense. But He is able.

  2. I'm a nurse in a cardiac unit that does adult transplants, and I see selfless decisions change lives daily. One day a person is barely able to get out of bed, and after receiving a new heart, they do laps around the unit the next day. It's truly amazing, and the most wonderful gift that a person can give to another human being. I've seen both sides, both taking care of patients receiving organs and patients donating organs, and you are right, that even through pain, there is beauty. Families mourning the loss of their loved ones, but also selflessly wanting to help others through their pain. I would most definitely donate, and would desperately urge anyone else to educate themselves on it before a decision has to be made. Thanks for the post…it was wonderful 🙂

  3. I'm pretty sure I'm a donor. The holidays can be very bittersweet. I hope donor families will find hope today knowing that someone lives because of their choice.

  4. Katie… I'm even MORE excited to read your book now… although I was excited anyway:-)

    I'm realizing that to our human brains, God DOESN'T always make a lot of sense. But… he's God… so it makes sense that He doesn't make sense to us, right?

    He is able. Very much so!

  5. Jay/Leslie/William (not sure which one posted, HA!)

    Thanks for sharing!!! I have a very special place in my heart for cardiac nurses, so thank you for work as well!!!

  6. Jessica, yes they can. It's easy to focus on what we've lost vs what we still have. And super hard to change perspective. But with God, all things are possible!

  7. Great post. I am so happy Annabelle is doing so well. I have been on both sides of organ donation. My brother died in an accident 5 years ago, and we made the decision to donate his organs. Then, not quite 2 years later, my husband received a liver transplant. Sadly, he only lived 3 more years, and died this past summer. But we had those 3 years — years we certainly would not have had without that transplant. I am a firm believer in transplants and would urge everyone to consider expressing their intentions (on driver's license or state registry) to become a donor upon death. It changes lives, that's for sure.

    –Linda in Wichita, KS

  8. Linda, thank you for sharing your story! I am so sorry for your loss!

  9. What a moving post, Krista.

    I've been listed as an organ donor for years, but it wasn't until a local law enforcement officer–a young husband and father–suffered a heart attack several years ago and lingered in a coma with no brain activity for a few days that I learned about organ harvesting. When it became clear the officer was brain dead, his wife made the agonizing decision to have the doctors harvest her husbands's organs. Following that exerpeince, my husband and I elected to add the harvesting provision to our health care directives in the event one of us ends up in the same situation. I can think of no better gift to give another person than the gift of life.

  10. Praying for that a family today and in general.

    I know my Driver's license was signed but I'm afraid it may have rubbed off. Will need to check on that.

    I never really thought about my kids being donors, but it's something I'll bring up with DH sometime soon.

    So glad Annabelle is home this year! And that she's doing so well!

  11. Krista, my daughter (24) and I were just talking about organ donation tonight. She mentioned that when she got her license, they told her that even though it's checked off on your license, you should be sure your parents are aware too – or whoever might be called upon to make a decision.
    She asked me if she should predecease me, would I please agree to donate her organs including skin or eyes if needed. She apologized if talking about it would bother me.

    I immediately thought of you and Annabelle and assured her I would agree.

    No, we don't want to think of such things, but I hope and pray the other family has some peace from knowing their child's heart beats in Annabelle.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


  12. Keli… that is a GREAT point.

    There are different type of organ donations.

    To be a donor of many organs, the donor must be clinically brain dead, meaning it is a choice to take them off support and donate their working organs, as things like the heart cannot only be "good" in a not-beating state for a very short period of time.

    This, obviously, is a super hard decision, as your loved one is being "kept alive" by machines, and you're choosing to say goodbye.

    To have this directive to your family, if you choose, makes the decision for them easier, although such a decision can never be EASY by any means.

    I think (I'm not an expert on this) things like skin and corneas and other organs like this can be taken from a deceased donor.

    Also, you actually can be a LIVING donor, and donate things like a kidney (everyone has 2, but you only need one), or part of your liver (it is the one organ that regrows, so a portion of a liver can be taken, given to someone in need, and yours will grow back, and the recipients will grow into an organ that is usable.) Or something like Bone Marrow.

    Because of the intrusive nature of these, usually it's family members that are looked at first, as they have the best shot at being matchable donors. But you can also sign up for (I know at least) a bone marrow database to be a bone marrow donor to someone in need.

    Again, I'm not an expert, but for those who are able, these are great, really hard gifts, that can be given.

  13. Carol, that warms my heart that you're thinking about it and discussing it with DH. Not an easy discussion, I know!

  14. MaryC, a wise and thoughtful daughter you have!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!!!

  15. I decided a long time ago to be a donor, and John (my husband) knew of my decision when we were married. But I had never legally designated myself as a donor on my driver's license… until Annabelle. Now there's a cute little red heart on my driver's license, showing my commitment to be a donor. Whenever I get out my DL, I see that heart, and I say a prayer for Annabelle and all the other folks who are waiting on an organ.

  16. A caring friend shared this blog with me. I want you to know that on Thanksgiving morning, before I could muster the strength and courage to face that day, I said a prayer…for 3 blessed families who would be giving great thanks that day to have a loved one seated at their table because of my precious angel's gift. You see, on June 25th I lost my sunshine. My son was 6 years old and absolutely the most beautiful child inside & out. When given that horrible news, that he went to be with Jesus, I never thought twice about what had to happen. My baby boy would have been a life-saver, I'm sure, in his adult life, so we simply completed his mission for him by graciously giving his gifts to others in need. I often wonder how the parents of the children who received his organs feel…I'm hoping that they feel the same as you. My hope is that they think of him from time to time and know that he is my hero in so many ways. Thank you for sharing and caring.

  17. I can almost promise you they think of your little hero constantly! Our donor and their family is always very close to my heart and thoughts.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your precious little boy's story. Please know my family is praying for you all!!

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