My anonymous letter to the kidney recipients, August 2003:
Dear Special Person,
Hello & congratulations on being the recipient of a very special kidney. It came from a beautiful woman whose name was Doris. My name is Rodney and I’d like to provide you with some details about the remarkable person that Doris was, while she was with us in this lifetime.
She was born in South America in 1954, of German and Croatian parents. She lived in France, the Canary Islands and Shreveport & Salt Lake City here in the United States, before settling in Australia. She was a nurse during her early career, before becoming a mother and also moving into the management of volunteers, which she pursued for the remainder of her career.
When we first met, I was taken by the sparkle in her eyes, while she first noticed the shape of my “cute arse”. We got together over dinner one night & had been inseparable for the last 15 years. We were married in 1990 and in 1991 we went to the Philippines as part of our “mid-life crisis”. Talk about putting yourself on the line to cement your relationship!
On our return to Australia, Doris continued to work with volunteers and developed her training skills as well. She even gave up a part time teaching job at the Tech College to follow me to Canberra, which is the National Capital of Australia. By far the best work she did in her life was the last 4 years as the director of a community welfare organisation. Everyone, and I mean everyone, who walked in through the door was to be treated with dignity and respect. She told the story of one day when a very dirty woman walked in, looking a bit like the “typical” kind of client you might expect in a welfare area. The woman then pulled out $150 to pay for her marriage course & drove away in her BMW. She was dirty because she’d been gardening. Doris even had little wooden “J” letters made up, the J being for Judgement, to continuously remind the volunteers to “put your judgement back in your pocket”. At her memorial service, after I had told Doris’s story, one of her favourite volunteers stood up and pulled her J out of her pocket and said, “I’ve got my “J” right here in my pocket, it goes everywhere with me.” The service attracted over 320 people and overflowed the church.
When the opportunity arose for me to take up a short-term assignment here in Seattle, it was another adventure in the story of our marriage. We arrived here at the end of March and since Doris was not able to work because of visa restrictions, she started taking care of herself, looking after her hair, nails and skin, improving our diet and doing lots of exercise. Unfortunately, her exercise did not combine well with an aneurism in her brain and she collapsed on the morning of 14 July and provided you with your kidney soon afterwards. Her ashes were scattered not just “at sea”, but UNDERWATER, on a very special scuba diving trip to an artificial reef, close to Fraser Island in Queensland.
As her son and I will be returning to Australia in mid-December, I am very keen to meet you, if you feel up to it, and share some more of the stories from the life of the remarkable woman that I called my wife.