I was writing on the computer this afternoon when The M dropped a fat letter in front of me. It was hand-addressed from someone whose name I didn't recognize. Washington state? I only know two people that live in that whole state, and their last name is the same as mine. As I opened it, curious and skeptical of it's contents, I remembered another hand written letter I got from some conspiracy group from, where else, San Francisco. I still don't know how those nuts found me. The Internet, I suppose. And because I watch too many FBI shows, I also had the thought that it could be a letter bomb. Really, I had that thought. Don't judge me.
To my surprise and delight it was a letter from Lee, the man who received my blood marrow stem cell donation about two years ago. We had been kept anonymous by the National Marrow Donors Network that had matched our blood tissue types way back when. But after a period of isolation, they allow donors and recipients to get each others contact information. I remember filling out a form and mailing it to the Network, but I never heard anything else about it... until this afternoon.
Lee has three grown children, the oldest of which is a year older than me. One of his daughters and his wife also wrote letters and included them in the envelope, along with a bunch of pictures. They were all very grateful, which made me feel rather strange. While I'm sure their gratitude is genuine, I don't feel like I deserve it. Lee called me a hero. I don't feel like a hero. I'm just a guy that got a bunch of shots and made a few extra trips to Dallas. Heck, the Network bought my meals and put me in a hotel. I think I got a pretty good deal.
He called me his blood brother. That phrase struck me. It is true, literally, since the procedure. All his marrow was killed by a massive dose of chemo, and then they implanted my blood marrow stem cells in his bones. Pretty soon they took root (or whatever) and his body started making my blood in its bones. Far out, eh? Now his body has one set of DNA, but his blood has my DNA. Hope he doesn't commit any serious crimes.
Still, it did make me feel good that Lee called me a hero, even though I don't feel like it applies. At least he thinks I am. He and The M too. Maybe all we need is someone, or perhaps a handful of folks, to really think we are something special. They may be delusional, but at least they're happy in their delusion. I'm alright being the hero of someone else's delusion.
Don't think this post is meant to be false humility or a pitiful attempt at fishing for kudos from the blogosphere. It's not that. It's me just trying to capture my emotional response to an unusual letter in the mail. Er... that's it.