I renewed my driver's license on my 40th birthday. I remember walking out with the license in my hand and looking down at my photo. It wasn't the best photo of me - (are any license photos great?) - but I loved it. I knew that I would forever look at that photo and know that I was expecting my first daughter. In that picture, I am pregnant with Darcy. An outsider looking at the photo wouldn't know that - it was like a little secret.
Less than a month later - I would be holding her still body in a hospital room.
Each time I looked at my license after that fateful day in May, the photo told a different story. It didn't tell the story of anticipation and excitement. It didn't create the same feeling of joy and gratefulness. I would look at that photo and think, "This is one of the last photos I have of me while Darcy was alive." That little square picture (and it's tiny copy in the bottom corner) made me mad. I had been robbed... and every time I pulled out that card it taunted me with the cruel reminder.
Four years have passed. So much has happened since.
April 14th rolled around and it was time to, once again, renew my driver's license.
This morning, after dropping Brian off at his "former" preschool's "Camp Fun"...
...Hope and I drove to the DMV. More than a month late, but better than never, right?
I purposely wore my "Super G" shirt - this one in the picture:
I figured if anyone asked me what "Super G" meant during the (inevitable) long wait in the DMV, I could use that opportunity to briefly talk about our organ donation experience and why it means so much to us. You never know... that person might have been inspired to say "yes" to organ donation that day.
Finally, they called our number.
Did you know that you are not "once an organ donor, always an organ donor?" Each time you renew your license, you need to renew your pledge to be an organ donor.
And did you know that if you're not an organ donor - want to be - and it's a few years until you renew your license - you're not out of luck? Look online for how to register to become a donor in your state - or country. Tell your family and loved ones your wishes. Inform your doctor and pastor and friends. You can even designate it in your living will, advance directives or will.
Did you know that you're never too young... or too old... to be a donor? Do you have a medical condition and think you'd be ruled out? You may not be! The doctors will be the ones to decide.
I pressed "yes" to agree to be an organ donor today. I will always press "yes."
As I sat in the plastic chair in front of the screen, ready for my close up, I couldn't help but smile. My last driver's license photo represented sadness to me because of the loss of my daughter. The "little secret" was tarnished by her death.
This driver's license photo holds a bigger secret that can't be seen by an outsider. Darcy's little sister, Hope, is sitting on my knee.
Everything means so much more this time around. Choosing to become an organ donor means more because of Gavin's journey. Wearing the Super G shirt proudly made me so happy because we are proud of our hero and the lives that he saved. Holding Hope made the experience a full circle moment.
I felt... renewed.
It's never so bad - or too late - or too difficult - or too embarrassing to renew anything.
You can renew your faith in God.
You can renew your faith in people.
You can renew your marriage.
You can renew your sobriety.
You can renew your hope.
You can renew your choice to be an organ donor.
And... you can renew your driver's license.
I never dreamed a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles could be so enlightening.