how to save a life...

posted on: 7.26.2012

photo by From Me To You and also found here

I so hesitated with this post, partially because it is so very personal and important and worthy of being done well and also,  because I don't like lectures.

So this is no lecture.
Just a few thoughts in the wake of the tragedy in the Colorado movie theater.  And a confession.

  A sharing of the real reason I waited a whole week to sit down to write this.

You see guys, I donated blood for the first time last month and I have to say that while it felt so incredibly good to finally walk through the doors of the Hawaii Blood Bank I also felt ashamed.

Ashamed that I had not been there before.
Ashamed that the Hawaii blood bank reserves are critically low and that I have been somewhat aware of this and still did nothing.  Somewhere in the peripheral regions of my consciousness I knew there was a need and accepted as good enough, that one day soon I'd make it a point to donate.
But I didn't.
Not anytime soon that is.
Not until just last month.

And the thing is it really was very easy.  And the need is so great in Hawaii that the hours during which you can donate are pretty wide in range and so you are likely, without even trying very hard at all, to find a time that works for you.  And as I sat in the office filling out their short forms and waiting my turn to potentially save three lives, three lives you guys in less than an hour one early Saturday morning, well, I sat and for a minute let my thoughts turn towards what it means to give blood.

I thought about the night I've so conveniently tucked away and so rarely visit in my memory, of an emergency surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy that had ruptured.  And of my dear sweet doctor, who had come to my rescue after another had mistakenly sent me home where I very quickly began bleeding internally.  And how, though it turned out I didn't require it, there was blood donated by some someone who, without having to know who I was or whether or not I was worthy of their gift, donated blood maybe during their lunch hour, or in between errands... just in case somebody, this body, one day needed to be saved.  

I'd like to think that they were sleeping soundly in their beds that night as I cried and struggled my way through that moment.  I let myself believe that they had tucked in their own little ones and said their prayers and closed their eyes and made sure, by their having given blood that one hour... one day... long ago... that I was not alone.

That somehow we stood together and faced those fear filled hours side by side.

And isn't that the mysterious miracle of donating blood?

That you don't have to have super hero abilities to make a difference and to be helpful in the midst of a tragedy, in those moments when a hero is needed most.

That no training or fancy degrees are required. 
That you don't have to be a perfectly flawless human being, oh thank goodness for that.

That you can, in fact, show up ten years later than you intended and be ridiculously ashamed and still somehow save a life.

This little family of ours is praying for all who have been hurt by the shootings in Colorado and are hoping that they know they are not alone, that we stand with them and will hope for them in the days ahead.

live sweet,


If you would like to join me I will be giving blood on August eleventh at the Hawaii Blood Bank.


  1. awesome post... i am so ashamed that i have never given blood either... and my daughter has received it. twice. I always come up with excuses--pregnant, nursing, might get pregnant soon, too busy with kiddos... i think next time the blood bank comes to town i will make a better effort. thank you.

    1. Oh no Maria, there's no judging here, trust me, just know that the reasons you have for not giving blood are so very real and valid and so too is the need for blood donations. When you're ready, when the time is right, let me know and we'll do it together, you at your communities blood bank and me at mine, or at the very least I will lift you up in thought and send good energy your way as you save a life.


  2. I started giving blood (thru work blood drives) and it feels great every time. Knowing that it helps, and I get a cookie at the end - icing on the cake. Good for you! Hope you become a repeat donor!


    1. Okay about those cookies, and all the "thank you's" you get for coming in and let's face it the chance to sit for a minute and read a magazine without a toddler on your lap and having perfect strangers say things like: "would you like another cookie"-- well geesh, who knew giving blood was like the ultimate mommy's night out.

  3. Very honest and valid points you make here! I haven't donated in forever it seems though I try to do it regularly since both my mother and father needed blood during surgery for different reasons in different points of their lives. The shooting in Colorado is such a needless tragedy. Words fail me. I was going to write about it but it seems like no words can express the loss and senselessness of it all. All any of us can do is pray for the families of those whose lives were cut short by a mad man. How awesome that you're taking the time to encourage others to donate blood. It's only an hour out of your day, but so worth it!!

    1. Oh Jean, I hope finding just the right words wasn't a requirement to posting about the tragedy, I've already edited this after posting it at least three times as it meant so much to get it right and not offend or lecture or take away from the families who are hurting right now and to somehow, maybe empower those of us who feel there is nothing to be done when someone else is hurting on such a huge scale-- and, well, I still am not sure I've got this post right but, well, there it is.

  4. What a touching and encouraging post. I'm off to find the nearest donation site in my city.

    Ashley, your newest follower.

    1. Oh Ashley, I am so very glad you felt perhaps even the tiniest bit empowered by this little rambling here. If you want we can make our donation together on the eleventh, and if you will, keep me posted on your progress and I will turn my thoughts towards you and send good energy your way as you walk through those doors and become someone's hero.


  5. Oh heart beats in fluttery little bursts at what it must be to have written this and revisit that time in your life against the backdrop of the tradegy in Colorado. What a powerful and effective way to help. Thanks for sharing and opening me up to a positive way to help. Thank you.


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