Talking to her heart
Type of Spiritual Experience
This paper reports key observations from 10 representative cases of transplant recipients who were open to sharing experiences of personal changes following their operations ... To protect the privacy of the donors' families, recipients and their families, physicians and hospitals, donors and recipients are referred to by number, except when their first names were mentioned by family members or friends in the transcripts. All recipients and family members or friends of the donors were interviewed by Pearsall and audiotaped. The transcripts were examined by Schwartz and Russek and selected for inclusion in this report.
Each of the 10 cases includes a donor family member's report (or equivalent), a recipient's report (or equivalent) and a recipient family member's or friend's report. Donor family members, recipients and recipient family members or friends are quoted directly from the transcripts. Personal opinions (including controversial content) are reported verbatim. Each case includes two to five sample parallels between the donors and changes observed in the recipients post transplant surgery
A description of the experience
Organ Transplants and Cellular Memories - Extracted from Nexus Magazine, Volume 12, Number 3 (April - May 2005); Paul Pearsall, PhD ; Gary E. Schwartz, PhD ; Linda G. Russek, PhD
The donor was a 19-year-old woman who had suffered a broken neck in dance class. The recipient was a 19-year-old woman diagnosed with cardiomyopathy.
The donor's mother reported:
"We've met Angela [the recipient], and she is the image of our daughter [Stacy]. They could almost be twins. They're both bright girls; I mean, my daughter was bright, too. She wanted to be an actress, but we thought she had too much academic potential for that. Her father is a doctor and really wanted her to follow in his footsteps."
The donor's father reported:
"Stacy was extremely bright. It's so tragic. She would have made an outstanding physician, but she wanted to dance and sing. That's how she died. She fell in dance class. We always argued good-naturedly about how disappointed I would be if she went to Hollywood instead of Harvard. I hope she knew I just wanted her to be happy."
The recipient reported:
"I think of her as my sister. I think we must have been sisters in a former life. I only know my donor was a girl my age, but it's more that that. I talk to her at night or when I'm sad. I feel her answering me. I can feel it in my chest. I put my left hand there and press it with my right. It's like I can connect with her. Sometimes she seems sad. I think she wanted to be a nurse or something, but other times it's like she wanted to be on Broadway. I think she wanted to be on Broadway more. I want to be a nurse, but I could be a doctor too. I hope she will be happy, because she will always be my angel, my sister in my chest. I carry my angel with me everywhere."
The recipient's mother reported:
"We can sometimes hear her talking to her heart. It's like a 'Dear diary' thing. She puts her hand on her chest and talks to who she thinks her donor is. Once we found her holding a stethoscope to her chest to try to hear her new heart. I think she still does that sometimes. And the only other thing is that she really wants to go to medical school now. She never wanted to do that before, but that's because I don't think she thought she would live. She's already changed her college classes."