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Rated: 13+ · Prose · Emotional · #1318252
Dad left with autistic child after wife's death.(WC's 7th. B-day contest)
The day Audrey was born, I lost my wife Hannah to a terrible car accident. Audrey was delivered by C-section following the accident. Hannah  so loved life, therefore, she carried an organ donor card with her. The doctors needed to work fast, thus her viable organs were removed in the same room where Audrey was born. That was it. Within minutes, my whole life changed. Not only did I lose my wife; I was told by the doctors that my daughter may have suffered neurological damage because her brain was oxygen deprived for too long.

The day I was about to take my baby home, a doctor came up to me, shook my hand, and told me what a generous gift my wife had given. He said a young woman who had congenital heart disease received Hannah's heart and is recovering magnificently. My mind just went blank as the doctor rambled on about the wonderful gift of life. I think I just walked away while he was still talking. My wife just died, something was wrong with my baby, and I couldn't care less about a stranger's good fortune.

The first two years of Audrey's life were difficult and strange. I had no idea how to communicate with this little autistic girl who had nasty temper tantrums, and hated to be touched. I thought how unfair it was that her mother died, and she and I could not communicate in a loving father daughter way. I even considered placing Audrey in a  special home for autistic children, thinking it would be for her own good. Precisely when despair became a dominant factor in my life, I met a counselor who dealt with autistic children. She visited Audrey several times a week, making the little girl's dull face beam each time.

A few seasons passed before I realized I had fallen in love with this angel of mercy named Marie. She taught me how to communicate with Audrey, thereby becoming our family's special gift. Marie and I married before Christmas of that year. Subsequently, she adopted Audrey, and was honored to have her as her very own daughter. Due to health reasons, Marie  was told she should never consider getting pregnant.

Audrey's third birthday was the first one we celebrated as a family. That little girl even giggled  while opening her presents, and when finished, she blew kisses to her mom and me. I used to think about Hannah dying on Audrey's birthday, but this year was different. It did not hurt as much because I had Marie.

Suddenly, I got the biggest surprise of my life. Marie casually revealed it was also her birthday. I do not mean the birthday marking her chronological age, no, that's months away. However, it was a significant birthday. She told us the story about how she was dying from heart failure just a few years back, and suddenly her whole life changed.

It was at this point that the miracle happened. On the day of Audrey's birth, a heart became available to transplant into Marie. I felt the blood drain from my head as I realized she was the young woman that the doctor had mentioned the day we met in the hospital corridor.

Consequently, that gift of life given to Marie was the heart taken from my Hannah's body. Hannah gave me Audrey, and then she gave me Marie so Audrey would have a mother. I did not realize at the time that it was her last gift to me. Nevertheless, it was the  best gift.

Word count 595

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