As a mother, the thought of having to bury your child is unfathomable. But for 33-year-old Kate Harris it was very nearly her reality.
Her 12-month-old son – affectionately known as ‘Mr Snuggles’ – was just seven weeks old when he suffered several acute cardiac arrests and was placed on life support.
“We were told his heart would never function properly on its own again. He needed a transplant,” she recalled in an open letter for TODAY.
“He is our first child, so while navigating the maze of hormones and sleeplessness that is new motherhood, I was then faced with the fact that I might lose this brand-new infant into which I had poured my very being. And no one knew why.”
When Kate was told doctors had found an organ donor for Mr. Snuggles, a ray of hope broke through her grief. But it was a bitter-sweet moment, as it quickly became clear that her son’s second shot at life came at the hands of another woman who had lost her baby.
In her letter, entitled “To The Mother Of My Son’s Organ Donor,” she explained:
“Just when I was about to lose myself, a life ring appeared. I got the phone call that they had found a donor for my Mr. Snuggles. That life ring was attached to a rope, and at the end of that rope was a nameless, faceless hand, pulling me out of the deepest crevice of the darkest caverns of the ninth circle of Hell.
“That hand was yours. While drowning in your own grief you reached out and saved me from mine.”
“When I got that call, I wept inconsolably,” she continued. “I knew the price with which my happiness must come. While the relief that Mr. Snuggles would be saved washed over me, it was overshadowed by the gut-wrenching knowledge that a perfectly sweet, innocent baby – just like my own – had been taken too soon.”
She went on to explain that the woman had unknowingly saved her from “soul-crushing sorrow” – a sorrow that she herself was now enduring.
“With every smile, every ‘first,’ every beat of his perfect new heart, I think of you. And every time I think of you, I am overcome with guilt,” she wrote.
“My happiness is your agony. My hoy is your heartbreak. I cry for you, I pray for you, and I love for you.”
Kate concluded the letter by adding that she hopes it finds the woman whose child was taken away – and that it brings her some solace.
“Mr. Snuggles’ firsts, our firsts, are your firsts,” she wrote. “Please know that whatever we do for and with him, we do in honour of your sweet angel.”