July 17 – 23, 2017 – CRAZY WEEK FULL OF NEW THINGS…What an emotional roller coaster!!!

July 17 – 23, 2017 – CRAZY WEEK FULL OF NEW THINGS…What an emotional roller coaster!!!

July 17 – 18, 2017 – I was at a  two-day RULER training at Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. It was a training that would bring some structured and direct instruction to our students at St. Augustine around Social Emotional Learning. Five of us were there and, although it was the middle of the summer, we knew that we could gain some insights that would bring a level of understanding and regulation of emotions to our students! It was exactly what we had been talking about all year at school…and the five of us were looking for a way to guide our direct instruction to bring a little peace to all of us. Life was going to be good!!

As I walked in, the first face to greet me was Sarah Free!!  She was out of place, and she had to say, “Debi. It is me, Sarah!”. I am so not good at recognizing people who are out of context!! She was my new neighbor….the girlfriend of my very good friend’s daughter!!! She had just moved in, but I have known her a while!!! It was so nice to be in the presence of someone I knew. And I had no idea she was connected to the RULER program.

I had never been at the St. Thomas More Chapel before at Yale and as I looked around there was a comfort in seeing familiar posters of the Pope, statues of various saints, and fliers for religious studies. I felt comfortable, but as I looked up, there was my sign! John 10:10 “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

That quote stayed with me all morning. Made me think of my goal of living intentionally this year and living abundantly. It was there for me, or so I felt, at the half way point in the year. A reminder to keep my New Year’s Resolution going.

And then it happened. A phone call and the words on my screen with caller i.d. telling me that Joyce from Yale was on the line.

I stepped out and underneath that sign, I took the call.

“Hello Joyce”

“Hello Debi. Congratulations! You are a match!”

I felt the lump in my throat as I smiled and said, “Really?”

Her answer was simple, with an added question. “Yup. And as luck would have it, there has been a cancellation for next Tuesday, July 25th. Do you want me to schedule the surgery? I will need to call Mark.”

Without hesitation, and looking to that sign above, I said, “Absolutely! That will be perfect.”

My secret journey of becoming an approved kidney donor would come to an end tonight! My children were told and each responded with complete joy, excitement and support. Melissa’s friend, Allie had the best response….”Man, she is like Jesus with a gel manicure.” Kevin said, “Now you are making me proud, mom.” (A little spin on my closing line with him all the time, “Make a momma proud, Kev”)….. Each of my 4 were so supportive…and so excited for my recipient, Mark!  After those 4 phone calls, I was so incredibly proud of each of them!

July 18, 2017 – I had phone calls to make to tell my fiends about my personal life…..and plans to make with my colleagues about the professional steps we were taking as we finished the RULER training. I have to admit, I smiled at that sign when I re-entered the building on Tuesday morning and had a very hard time focusing on the training all day!! My heart felt light and excited.

July 19, 2017 – I told my boss, my colleagues, and more friends. It was all becoming more real! AND…I made the decision to trade in my lease on my car and upgrade!! Why not make my life more exciting? I picked BLUE. I had never had a blue car before!!  This seemed like the year to have a new color car.

July 21 – July 23 – Vinnie and I got to babysit for Anthony, our grandson, for the first “real” time (overnight and for an extended time)…so on that Thursday, of course, I took him to show him off to my previous place of work!!!  But on Friday, the 21st, I had to head up to YALE HOSPITAL for my pre-op work up. I was on the 3rd floor and Mark was on the 4th. The journey I had been on since December, when I thought I was donating to a stranger, became all the more real when I sat there knowing my kidney would be functioning in Mark in only 4 more days! How do you say good bye to one of your body parts that you have never seen??  It is a weird concept! And I quietly gave it a little pep talk of encouragement …..telling my left kidney how much I was sure she (he?) would love its new home!! I even whispered the words to my left kidney….. “He’s a nice guy. Work hard for him.” I smiled at the same time my eyes got moist, as I sat in the waiting room to finish the pre-op process.

The weekend rolled around, and Saturday, July 22nd came around! Melissa’s life long friend, Andrea, was getting married! I cried as I saw that beautiful bride walk down the aisle with her Dad, Frank. How is it that Kindergarten was 22 years ago?? How did the beautiful bride and my daughter, her bridesmaid, become friends whose memories are so intertwined? And how lucky was Frank, and so proud, as he walked his baby girl down the aisle. I got so emotional as I imagined Mark someday walking down the aisle with his beautiful daughters, with my kidney living so intentionally (and hopefully abundantly!!) inside of him; tucked away and out of sight.  I wiped my eyes; the mass ended. Off we went to the reception to dance and laugh with Melissa’s friends, and our friends. I didn’t let the night slip by without living it intentionally….every bite of steak, every sip of wine, every slow and fast dance, every shot (only 2!) with Melissa’s friends, and every hug as people said, “Good luck on Tuesday.”

July 24, 2017 – Stephanie and Anthony met us at our house when they returned to Norwalk. We were having a “Last Supper” with my parents, my aunt, and cousins, and siblings. My parents would soon be leaving Norwalk again, and we would soon be leaving our house and Norwalk. It was a beautiful night of love and family. And in the middle of the porch was a beautiful plant, that had arrived earlier,  from the Darien Football Team with a loving message:

Dear Debi,

You helped to raise most of our sons who now make up the Darien Football Team.

We wanted to thank you for your unbelievable act of kindness to one of our football families.

Thank you and God bless for a speedy recovery.

Blue Wave Football


YES!! I got weepy all over again!!  The week started off learning about regulating emotions and it ended up being quite the emotional roller coaster! With only 2 more days until surgery, I was so excited about this opportunity of a lifetime……literally!