A dad’s tribute to his brave wife is quickly going viral, as people confirm the importance of organ donation and tearily empathise with this grieving couple at a heartbreaking time.
Content warning: Distressing content – This post discusses baby loss
Far from home
Royce Young was in a hotel room, a thousand miles from home, attending the “NBA All Star Weekend”, when distance provided some real clarity on how he felt about his life.
The US dad was dearly missing his pregnant wife and had just experienced a life-affirming interaction with a little boy who was in need of a liver transplant.
“I realized tonight sitting a thousand miles away in a hotel room, especially after meeting this awesome kid named Jarrius that’s been everywhere at All-Star Weekend who needs a liver transplant, that instead of just keeping this one for me like I normally do, I should tell everyone else just how incredible Keri Young is,” Royce wrote in his post, saying he missed wife Keri “five seconds after I leave the house”.
Royce is a writer, and he’d captured some of his thoughts about his wife previously, tapping them into his phone as Kerri slept.
Absence did indeed make the heart grow fonder. Royce decided the time was ripe to expand on the couple’s story and share his tribute to his wife with the world – via the Love What Matters Facebook page.
The couple are going through an incredibly difficult time at the moment, but Keri particularly has a heavy load on her shoulders.
Royce and Kerri are expecting a baby girl, but doctors say their daughter Eva’s brain has failed to form in-utero.
The family are obviously devastated, but Royce explains that Keri instantly and urgently determined that their baby’s life would do as much good as possible.
Tiny Eva’s legacy will be a life-saving one.
“Literally 30 seconds after our doctor told us our baby doesn’t have a brain, somehow through full body ugly crying, Keri looked up and asked, ‘If I carry her full term, can we donate her organs?’ I remember our doctor putting her hand on Keri’s shoulder and saying, ‘Oh honey, that’s so brave of you to say.’ Like, how nice of you, but come on. Keri meant it. There I was, crestfallen and heartbroken, but I momentarily got lifted out of the moment and just stood in awe of her. I was a spectator to my own life, watching a superhero find her superpowers. In literally the worst moment of her life, finding out her baby was going to die, it took her less than a minute to think of someone else and how her selflessness could help. It’s one of the most powerful things I’ve ever experienced,” Royce wrote.
From light to dark
Keri’s going through the acutely distressing experience of carrying a baby that she will have to say goodbye to.
Royce is painfully aware that his own grief is a completely different experience to his wife’s bittersweet ordeal.
“This whole process has been rough, but I say that as someone watching from the bleachers like the rest of you. Keri has been in the trenches the entire time, feeling every little kick, every hiccup and every roll. She’s reminded every moment of every day that she’s carrying a baby that will die. Her back hurts. Her feet are sore. She’s got all the super fun pregnant stuff going on. But the light at the end of her nine-month tunnel will turn into a darkness she’s never felt before a couple hours or days after Eva is born. She’s the one that is going to deal with all that comes with having a baby– her milk coming in, the recovery process, etc, but with no snuggly, soft, beautiful newborn to look at to remind you that it was all worth it.”
The gift of life
Explaining their unfathomable decision, Royce said they will cherish every moment they have with their little girl when she’s born, but must also cherish the gifts she can bring to other struggling families.
“We made our choice to carry Eva to full term for a lot of reasons, but the first and foremost was to donate her organs. We don’t say that to try and sound like great people or anything. It was just a practical endgame that in our minds, before we came to the realization Eva is alive and our daughter deserves to meet her mama and daddy, gave us a purpose to continue on. Donating was on Keri’s mind from darn near the second we found out and while the experience of holding and kissing our daughter will be something we cherish forever, the gift(s) she’s got inside that little body of hers is what really matters. Keri saw that almost instantly,” Royce said.
A tribute to Keri and Eva
Royce took to the Love What Matters Facebook page to share their family’s story as a tribute to the strength and selflessness of his wife, and to raise awareness of the experience of baby loss and the importance of organ donation.
“I’m looking at Keri right now and I don’t even have to ask. She’s TOUGH. She’s BRAVE. She’s incredible. She’s remarkable. She’s cut from a different cloth, combining wit, beauty, courage, silliness, character and integrity into one spectacular woman. And somehow, she’s my wife. Not that I needed some awful situation like this to actually see all of that, but what it did was make me want to tell everyone else about it,” Royce wrote.
You can find out more about organ and tissue donation at Donate Life.