A Christmas Gift of Red

Last week Coco received what truly is the gift of life.

If you could see the difference in her before and after a transfusion you would be like me, urging people to give blood, give blood, give blood whenever they can. Before, she is fractious and intolerant, prickly and itchy. She might cry if she drops a pencil, or doesn’t like the colour of her cup, her skin a pallid yellow. After, she is full of energy and cheeky fun. Our house zings with the sound of her deep belly laughs, and she is literally, in the pink of health.

Yesterday I went and gave some of my blood, and as always, my heart warmed, to see the number of people who, at this crazybusy time of year are willing to slow down in the sanctuary of the blood bank for an hour or so, and offer up their veins to share that bright red fluid that makes us all tick. And keep on ticking.

At the blood bank we smile at each other, little nods as we unite in our goal of saving anonymous lives. We sit in the cool, calm confines of that haven of life, protected from the jostling activity that seems to get everyone jangling at this time of year, and take some time out to reflect on how lucky we are. Lucky that, this day, we aren’t the ones needing blood, and in fact, we are healthy enough to have a surplus to share around. The efficient blood angels will drain about half a litre from our bodies, and our clever marrows will slmply pump out some more, with barely a blip. We reflect on the magnificence of the body.

Once when Liam was small he asked me how rainbows are made, and I gave him a long and fanciful answer involving paint and fairies. He didn’t believe it for a moment, and when I told him what it really was, describing white light and the dispersion effect of the light being seperated into its different wavelengths, he listened in rapt silence. He then asked me why I would make up a ‘weird story’ when the reality was so much more magical. I think of that often. I think of the wonderous abilities of nature, and clevernesss that resides within every single one of us. The way that yesterday, without any conscious effort from me, I was able to accomodate and create another half litre of those beautiful little biconcave discs that carry around our breath.

As I looked around the busy room at he blood bank, I was humbled at the number of lovely people who will stand up (lie down?!) to give Coco a gift so special, without even knowing her. A gift better than any trinket or shiny bauble, and one that allows the walls of our home to swell with fun and vitality and joy.

The true gift of Christmas.

Blood bank chocolates

If you would like to give blood, call the blood bank on 13 14 95 to book a bed. You won’t regret it.


…From The Ashers