I gave blood yesterday and thought about my Dad.
We lost him last August.
You can read all about him here.
Well, actually, not quite all about him. Because one very important thing I can’t believe I forgot to mention in that piece is that my Dad gave blood.
He gave like clockwork. I’m pretty sure he had it down to the minute when he was eligible to give again, and was at the blood center right smack at that time, rolling up the sleeves on his red flannel shirt. I just wonder how many gallons he gave during his very long life. It would be an astonishing number, I’m quite certain.
If he and I ever talked about giving blood, it was probably just in passing after I’d starting donating too. He certainly never encouraged me to do it, at least that I recall. And yet, when the opportunity first arose when I got to Christian Brothers University and their regular blood drives to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital came around, I gave. I know my older brother who was at the same college ahead of me gave then, too. But today, I don’t know that any of my siblings donate blood. I’m pretty sure they don’t.
Yet I’ve kept it up pretty darned regularly. I’m not quite as diligent as he was about getting right back to it as soon as I’m eligible. (I really should do better at that, given that my blood type is O negative. I’m the universal donor, so there’s always an even more desperate need for my type than any other. And I’m always really popular with the staffers.)
I’ve given quite a few gallons myself by now.
And even though I’ve donated several times since my Dad passed away, for some reason yesterday was the first time I thought about him, and how having that live-saving needle in my arm still ties me to him, and the amazing example he set for me that has me still going back, even though I hate needles.
And now from now on, it will be what I think about when I’m in the donor’s chair. The nurse will probably ask if I’m feeling okay, because my eyes may fill a bit, just like they’re doing right now.