A change of Heart

Thirteen years ago, we celebrated Tienie, Vic’s father’s, birthday at his memorial service.  Since the 29th of October Vic has relived every second of her father’s final journey.  It has been indelibly burnt into her memory, her being, and her life.

Thirteen years ago Vic stood up in front of hundreds of Tienie’s friends, family, colleagues, lovers, ex-lovers, ex-wives and delivered a beautiful and moving eulogy!  She honored her father by talking about what he represented in everyone’s lives.  How giving he was…

Tienie gave his family and friends love, laughter, friendship and joy, and we knew he would want to give someone else the opportunity to have a better life.  Vic made the brave decision to honor her father’s unwritten wishes.  She gave permission for Tienie’s organs to be harvested and donated.

As we said our goodbyes we were able to celebrate his generosity.  He had given men and women a heart, lungs, kidneys, retina, bone, pancreas, and skin…  For one or other reason his liver was not used.  Up to today we joke and say that he used up his own liver…

Vic received letters from grateful families thanking her for the gift of life that they had received from her daddy.

I often wonder about the fortunate person who received Tienie’s heart.   I wonder whether elements of a person’s character – or even their soul – are transplanted along with a heart.   CLAIRE SYLVIA, a divorced mother of one, was 47 and dying from a disease called primary pulmonary hypertension when, in 1988, she had a pioneering heart-lung transplant in America.  She was given the organs of an 18-year-old boy who had been killed in a motorcycle accident near his home in Maine.

Claire, a former professional dancer, then made an astonishing discovery: she seemed to be acquiring the characteristics, and cravings (beer and KFC), of the donor.  Claire catalogued her journey by writing a book called A Change Of Heart.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-558256/I-given-young-mans-heart—started-craving-beer-Kentucky-Fried-Chicken-My-daughter-said-I-walked-like-man.html#ixzz2BrWBPp7G 

The recipient of Tienie’s heart could take on a couple of beautiful characteristics; develop a love for beer, whiskey and women…  He/she would also prefer vegetables to meat, be honest to the core of his/her soul…. He/she would not cry… Party hard and work even harder.  He/she would have a wonderful, mischievous sense of humor  be very tidy and lose their ability to dance…

Today I miss my first love.  I miss the father of my child.  I am grateful that he does not have to go through the hell of Vic’s disease.  I thank God for the child he fathered.  I am grateful that he and Danie got on well.

By writing this post I do not want to detract from the wonderful marriage that I have.  I am so grateful for the second chance I had at love and happiness.  I thank God for the wonderful husband He gave me, the Dad that Vic was given.  I thank God for Danie.  He is an amazing Dad to Vic.  Tienie will always be her father but Danie is her Dad.  Danie is the greatest gift I received from God and I love my life with him.  I love Danie with every fiber of my body.  I will ALWAYS love Danie.

But today I miss my first love, my friend, the father of my child.

Happy birthday Tienie.





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I am a sixty plenty wife, mother, sister, grandmother and friend. I started blogging as a coping mechanism during my beautiful daughter's final journey. Vic was desperately ill for 10 years after a botched back operation. Vic's Journey ended on 18 January 2013 at 10:35. She was the most courageous person in the world and has inspired thousands of people all over the world. Vic's two boys are monuments of her existence. She was an amazing mother, daughter, sister and friend. I will miss you today, tomorrow and forever my Angle Child. https://tersiaburger.wordpress.com

12 thoughts on “A change of Heart”

  1. Tienie is missed by many folf, but Len always gets heart sore at this time of the year. They were two in one. Mischevious, laughed and walked the harsd road together. At the same time got one another into trouble with their spouces as they egged each other on. I think Thomas Court, Blanding and Germiston Sports club together with Delville Bowling club harbor many stories we will never know. But Tinie the legend will live in our hearts forever. Till we meet again.


    1. My friend don’t forget the Green Mamba….I will never forget that night at the Parklane when you and Len came to say goodbye. I will never forget the look in Len’s eyes. I agree those two got up to so much… It is better we don’t know. Love you my dearest friends!


  2. A very moving post; I personally am not surprised about the experiences with affinity of the woman who received the youth’s heart; there is a lot of joy that should be celebrated in life, and it sounds as if your first husband fully understood that; I don’t see any contradiction in loving both his memory and your present relationship with Vic’s stepfather. I read a wonderful phrase in a book recently about love beginning’ ‘Our hearts are not so small as some people would have them…’


  3. Hello my friend,
    I saw this yesterday but really wanted to think about what it is I wanted to say to you and Vic.
    This is the most beautiful love story and I have been greatly affected by it. I

    I have been a registered donor all my adult life, since turning 18. It is something that because of my spiritual faith I believe in strongly. It is because of people like and Vic who take on the difficult task of talking and sharing after that I find this story of yours so important. Not that what Vic did is not. It was the catalyst. It is one of the most loving actions I have been privy to know about. Thank you!

    Talking about this, and especially the after math is key to getting people who do not understand to realize what , a loving thing it is to do. In all ways.
    I admire the two of you for your courage, but more so for the unconditional always with in you Love.
    Many blessings today for you Tersia and gentle hugs to both you beaituiful ladies.~ BB


    1. You are just one of the nicest people I have met in cyberspace. Thank you for your kind words (as always). Being a donor puts you into that special League of Loving, Compassionate Human Beings. Blessings and hugs to you too BB!


      1. What a very mind thing to say tersia. Thank you.
        I just would like you to know that your post has stayed with me even today. Its an important issue and one we should talk more openly about. people get all hung up with semantics. I have been considering writing about this on another level of course. When and if I do may I come to you and bounce ideas with you? Would it be something you would feel comfortable with? .
        Please feel free to tell me this is not a good time I would need not one explanation. We could revisit it another time.

        My gentle hugs to you both and much love. ~


  4. God bless you for your honesty and your ability to share a personal part of your life. I wish you and your daughter happiness in your life with your husband and Dad.


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