Our daughter passed away while waiting for a liver transplant at UCLA. A few days after Ruby passed away, a little friend we met in the hospital received her gift of life, a new heart. I have been blessed by getting to know our friend's donor's grandmother. While his story is horrible and tragic, it also has taught me so much, but especially, love and service.
An Ultimate Act of Service, By Rachel Rodriguez
In August 2011 I received a phone call that would ultimately change my life. My grandson Malaikye Payne who was a mere 16 months old was taken to the hospital and was now in a coma from a reported fall. Days would pass and we fervently stayed in prayer begging God for a Miracle. Sadly, that miracle was not to belong to our family, but to strangers. My son Daniel, who is Malaikye’s father, was told by doctors that his baby boy was brain dead and that there was no hope of ever regaining life. Immediately, Malaikye’s death was listed as a homicide. In the rawness of my son’s mixed emotions of rage and grief, he made a decision that would pave the way for our healing. Although, we didn’t realize it at the time because our grief was fresh & overwhelming, God was faithful to reveal to us His ultimate plan. You see, Daniel chose to donate Malaikye’s organs so that others may have a chance at the life his baby was never to live. This is an ultimate form of service. Service is defined as “an act of helpful activity”, a “favor, kindness and a helping hand”. When my son came to me and told me about donating Malaikye’s organs I was so proud of my son. His heart was so shattered as he fell to the floor weeping, yet he was thinking of others. Malaikye went on to save the lives of four precious people. They can now live with a renewed sense of life and a future many were uncertain about. The Bible tells us in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Although we did not know the recipients identity, we knew their ages and sex. Malaikye went on to give life to a 9 month old, 2 year old, 21 year old and a 65 year old. Our family took the ultimate sacrifice but we also gained an abundance of blessings for this act of service.
Today, the judicial part of the journey is over and the murderer; Malaikye’s mothers boyfriend sits in prison serving 25 years to Life. Justice has been served. For many, this would leave someone numb and filled with rage over this loss. I chose to persevere and find some positivity. I have chosen to honor my grandson’s memory through acts of service. In his memory I became a Donate Life Ambassador. I am grateful to embrace the platform this gives me to not only share Malaikye’s story but to bring awareness to the beauty of organ donation. Yes, my grandson is the face of child abuse; an epidemic plaguing our country, but also on a positive note, he is the face of Hope through organ donation. Today, we live life knowing Justice was served for Malaikye. Our court journey may be over, however, I continue to come alongside other families as they await their turn for justice to let them know they are not alone. I serve as secretary for my support group Survivor’s of Murdered Children based out of SGV with leaders Tina and Joe Yamashiro. My leaders served me through my journey as they sat in the courtroom everyday with me.
In honor of my grandson, I have taken a hobby of mine and am using it to bring joy to others. I make memorial pieces such as bracelets, key chains and necklaces for those who have lost loved ones. Being of service and learning how one of these handmade pieces brings a smile to a loved one’s family is a form of healing through my own loss. Spreading the Love of Christ as it was so freely given to me at my time of tragedy, now it’s my turn at paying it forward to help another family just beginning to walk their painful journey. In all things I do, I do to honor Christ first and foremost. I pray my actions always reflect what I so believe in. I know I will see my grandson one sweet day…for Eternity.
To register as an organ donor please visit: donatelife.net