I met Lizzy several months before her transplant - I don’t remember the date, but I’ll never forget her face. I'd had my lungs for about a year and a half... I walked into our support group - we were having a big, combined group with other organs regarding drugs or writing your donor family or social security or something... She was sucking oxygen and sitting with her little entourage - about a half dozen of her family and friends were surrounding her... She was so young and beautiful and precious and she was like a giant magnet and I was like a little paperclip - I could tell she was a CFer - I walked over and sat down right next to her and fell in love... Her eyes glowed when I told her it wasn't so many months earlier that I was like her... And I told her what breathing was like... I could see how excited she was... She was like a precious little sister to me. Maybe even more than a sister because we shared life experiences. I understood what she was going through and I so wanted her to have what I had...
Lizzy was so incredibly kind, and positive, and accepting - of people and of whatever came her way... She was so sick right before she got her lungs - the night she was called she had gone up to her bed and decided that she and her CF lungs really just couldn't go on any longer... Liz wrote her own little story on the Gift of Hope site that talks about that... When she got her lungs, she was so excited - her recovery was wonderful and she took in life so fully... The folk musicians Tom Dundee, Sons of the Never Wrong, and Kat Eggleston threw Lizzy a “got well” party a year after her transplant - On their CD "Nuthatch Suite", Lizzy plays her didgeridoo on a very special Sons song called “Wind/Tree”, but that’s for another post I’ll do very soon.
Looking back, I wish I would have spent more time with her - but we had our own lives. Whenver I saw Lizzy, she was surrounded by family and friends: Emily, Jill, Jackie & Ed Joanis, Emily's husband Bobby, Cathy and so many others. She was living her life to the fullest. Her emails were so full of life and love. She had wonderful adventures she may never have had - I heard about her first 5K, about teaching little neighbors to swim, about school, about new jobs... She climbed the Hancock with me three times! One of the joys of her life was her beautiful little niece, Isabella. And she told me when she fell in love with a beautiful man named Jon. She spoke of how special he was, and how they made one another laugh - I think her falling in love was my favoritest thing. I didn't see Lizzy as often as I would have liked - but my heart and soul glowed when I was around her. We knew we loved one another.
When she started getting in trouble last year we touched bases a few times... I had thought she rebounded, then I heard from some friends that she was having problems - I thought they just had old news so I called her... I asked for her, but she had answered the phone. Lizzy was often quiet and shy...When I asked her how she was, there was a long pause, and then she started crying... I honestly think she didn't want to tell me because she didn't want to hurt me, or somehow let me down.... I told her I loved her and I went to see her either that night or the next... She seemed so very much like she was going to get through this...
Her friend Bobby (Emily's husband) played Lizzy's didg at the start of her services - He was going to play his own didg, but Em's Dad handed him Lizzy's didg and told him this was her day. He played beautifully - Liz would have been so proud. Three of Lizzy’s precious friends, Emily, Jill and her boyfriend Jon gave an incredibly moving eulogy to Liz - Lizzy’s Mom also gave me the honor of giving part of her eulogy. What I said is here.
Lizzy didn’t get the second set of lungs she so desperately needed. When I speak to groups about Kari and about organ donation, I think of Liz and all of the other Lizzys in the world waiting.
My beautiful Lizzy, I miss you... I know Kari gave you a hug when you arrived.