On Thursday, 12/21, we welcomed another family to Apartment #2. Dad had a liver transplant the previous Saturday. Mom has been sleeping in the hospital waiting room since then. And Mary met mom at the apartment to hand over the keys. They are from North Georgia and were in desperate need for a place to live. This patient came from Piedmont Hospital, which is a first. As was the case with our first two families, mom burst into tears when she got her first glimpse of her “home away from home.” We are so incredibly grateful that we are able to provide the apartments to these families. It’s our privilege to serve them in any way possible.
On Thursday, December 14, Mary attended the funeral for Tiffany Rymer, our double lung transplant patient, whose family lived in our Apartment #2. I had only seen pictures of Tiffany during her time of suffering in the hospital after her transplant, which involved so many complications. When I saw her before her burial, I was absolutely amazed. She was a beautiful, sweet-looking young woman. Having experienced Jeff’s death, I truly believe that something amazing happens to the body between life and death. It is so evident that the suffering is OVER. From everything that was said about Tiffany, what I just said about her described her inside and out. She loved the Lord, her Savior. People talked about how she never worried or was in fear, even as she depended on the Lord for every breathe she took. She had a huge, loving family that surrounded her and I met every one of them.
Tiffany’s mom, Missy, and stepdad, Harry, along with her sweet grandma, Lola, were so incredibly appreciative of being able to live in the apartment. Every family member I met thanked me over and over and over again. And I realized that so many of them had visited Missy and Harry in the apartment, which only confirmed that what we are doing is the right thing. We LOVE that this family used the apartment in every way possible, even celebrating Thanksgiving there with each other.
Tiffany is in the presence of her Heavenly Father, no longer pulling along an oxygen tank and breathing heavenly air like never before. As her pastor said, “she’s kickin’ up gold dust!” Missy and Harry and the rest of the family are left to grieve. They will be in the Evans’ family prayers. We experienced what they are going through over 11 years ago, and we KNOW the thoughts and feelings that they are experiencing right now. It’s not easy, but like us, they have a strong faith and that faith is what will make all the difference.
So goodbye Tiffany. Your life was way too short, but you have left an incredible legacy of love for your God and love for your family and friends.
This has been a very interesting week for our foundation. It began in a very good way when we got notice from our Emory Social Worker that our first apartment patient was going to be released by his medical team on November 30th. We were so happy for Will that he was finally able to go back home. It’s been a long, five month journey for him and his wife, Melody. When Will left the apartment for the last time, he just left the keys on the dining room table, knowing that Bob and Mary would be at the apartment later that evening to begin cleaning it to get ready for our next guest.
Thursday evening…Bob and Mary arrived at the apartment and were absolutely blown away by how clean and tidy the place was. The Kirkland’s had done a thorough cleaning themselves, washing the sheets and towels, cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen, dusting and vacuuming! It was spotless. All we had to do was make up one of the beds. So we immediately contacted the social workers at all three hospitals and the Georgia Transplant Foundation to let them know the apartment was ready for someone else as early as Friday.
Thursday night, driving back home…Mary got a text from Melody, that the doctor did one more test before releasing Will, and it showed a problem. Will has to return to the hospital on Monday for further care. What would happen next? All Bob and Mary cared about was getting Will back into the apartment, but that is not up to us. So we left it in God’s hands.
Friday morning….Mary got a call from the social worker at Emory that she was doing the paper work involved with Georgia Transplant Foundation to allow Will to move back into the apartment.
Friday at noon…Mary got a call from Will and emails from GTF and Emory that everything was approved for Will to move back in. Praise God!
Friday afternoon….Mary drove back down to the apartment to return the keys to Will. She arrived before he did, and she brought a little decorated Christmas tree and a couple of other Christmas cheer-type things for the apartment. Anything to make Will happy!
Will arrive with his mom. Will looked a little down hearted (who wouldn’t), but he was so happy and relieved to be “back home.”
Our foundation literally exists to help avoid these kinds of circumstances. In other words, to make this process as worry free as possible for our patients and care givers. But this was out of our hands. Fortunately, it was in bigger hands and HE came through. We have no idea how long Will be there, but he knows that he has a place to live until he is finally released to go back to his new normal.