July 04, 2013
I don’t know how many pints of blood my daughter received during her almost-three-year battle with leukemia. Marika had many transfusions to keep her life going. And she kept going for a long while. There were road trips, concerts, colleges and music festivals. Marika partied and sang and stayed out late nights. She lived like the lights could go out at any time. And she rolled her eyes often at me saying, “Mom. Get a life.” Often stuck in the hospital those years, there was little I could do for her other than hold her hand or rub her feet. But one day in the hospital cafeteria I saw a sign for a blood drive. That’s when I first started giving blood. It was something I COULD do. If not directly for her, at least I could give back to the sharing community that was giving so much to my daughter. “Look what I did,” I said to her proudly afterwards, showing off the “I GAVE BLOOD TODAY” sticker. She didn’t roll her eyes at me even though I was wearing my sticker in the middle of my chest like a five-year-old. She smiled. She’d given blood several times herself in high school, before she got sick. Now I give blood to honor the memory of my beautiful feisty daughter who died from leukemia at age twenty. It’s part of my new life without her. Sharing blood. It cheers me to know I am helping someone. It’s something I CAN do.