9. Ready

A few days ago, exactly one month since I heard from the bone marrow donation people, I emailed for an update. I steeled myself for bad news; if the recipient was sick in July, what were the odds that she’d be strong enough to withstand the procedure just one month later? I prepared to mourn the end of this glimpse into how small the universe really is, and the life of a woman whose name I don’t know, but who has become a profound influence. (What would that mourning feel like? I know the pain of losing parents, a hole of grief one blindly, painfully escapes over time. How much does it hurt to lose something you never had in the first place?) Over the past few weeks I tried to protect myself, practicing for pain by imagining the worst and then ignoring it entirely.

The real answer made me giddy:

“Well, you must have some kind of intuition going on, because I just received an email that the patient may be ready to proceed.”

It was the day before Rosh Hodesh Elul—what better moment to begin a journey of change and renewal? Yes, I’m still willing to donate, I answered when they asked (as they must before every stage; I can withdraw at any time, no questions asked. But if I turn back too late in the process, the patient will die.) Yes, any day is good—well, actually not. I’m kind of busy during the weeks of the Jewish holidays, and don’t want to run the risk of getting exhausted the week before, either.

They got back to me today with new dates at the end of September, right before Simhat Torah. I had a feeling all along that it would happen over Shavuot. You couldn’t script it more perfectly—harvesting the stuff of life during the holiday of the harvest.

I still need more blood tests to confirm that I haven’t caught anything nasty over the past two months. It’s still not a sure thing.

I don’t believe that man plans and God laughs (well, maybe God does laugh at times—but at our excellent jokes, not at us), but God certainly has agendas about which we have no clue. So I’m prepared for anything. And if it really does happen—I will not only celebrate new Torah the next day, but also the renewal of life. And not just Bracha bat Sarah’s, I hope and pray, but mine as well—the miracle of this connection has reawakened me to the great luck of my own life, which I must live with equal measures of patience and urgency.

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