On Monday, I got a phone call from my Dad.  He said my brother Daryl was in an accident – found unconscious and not breathing on some train tracks.  He was pronounced brain dead on Monday night around 7pm.

My brother and I were never close – he was quite a bit older than I was and he lived a life I didn’t agree with.  I always knew, on some level, that I would eventually get a phone call about him overdosing or getting killed while in prison.

But when the call came I was completely unprepared.

My family and I all dropped everything and went straight there. Thank God I have a great job with amazing supervisors who told me not to worry about work and see to my family.

Hospital staff had said they would keep him on life support long enough to tell him goodbye – the transplant company had to see if any of his organs were viable anyways, so we had until Wednesday night.

We got to CA on Wednesday morning.  We found out after getting off the plane that they had unhooked him at 6:00 am in the morning, when they determined his organs weren’t a match with anyone on the transplant list.  The transplant liaison didn’t bother checking the chart when she got the returns from the tests… so she told the nurse to unhook him – and the nurse did.  Just like that, no double checking, not even a glance at the chart.

I don’t want to dwell on his death too much here – we mourned together, as a family.  He will never be replaced and there is a hole forever in my heart.

But I do want to talk about something my dad said while we were in California, something he said in the meeting with hospital administrators and the transplant company (whose name I am withholding for the time being).  He said that everything that happened – Daryl’s death, the mistakes made by the transplant company, the mistakes made by the nurse… all of it happened because of bad choices.

First there were Daryl’s bad choices – choices to do drugs instead of stay clean, choices to go back to his old lifestyle after getting out of jail, choices to accept his reality and not fight against it.

And then there were the choices of the transplant company – and the people working there.  I can’t imagine what was going through the head of the worker that gave the OK to disconnect his life support.  Maybe she didn’t get enough sleep the day before.  Maybe she was tired of seeing drug addicts dying.  Maybe her heart had grown calloused, and maybe she just wasn’t feeling well and forgot.  I’ll never know.

But the choices that you make have repercussions.  In everything, not just life and death matters.   It matters if I go to church, and it matters if I do the very best I can when I’m at work.  In the case of the transplant company worker and the nurse, they weren’t doing their very best at work.  They were slacking, and people were hurt because of it.

As if it wasn’t already on my mind, my pastor spoke about it today at church.  See, we all have these tiny parts to play but God sees the grand scheme of things. He sees how all the  parts we play work together to create this crazy place we call the world.  He knew how Daryl’s decisions would affect the rest of the family, and he knows how each decision I make has an affect on my life and the lives of those around me.  Sometimes our decisions are big – like checking yourself into rehab – and some are small, like giving a few bucks to the guy on the corner or helping someone change a tire.

We never know where those small choices will lead us.

But it seems to me that those small choices are not so very small parts of our life.  Make sure you are making good choice – even when it comes to the small things in life.

DARYL EUGENE THREET AUG 17, 1974 ~ FEB 9, 2009
Services private. Survivors include his parents: Rick Threet & Sandra Blomberg, Daughter: Faith Threet, 8 Brothers & Sisters, & step-Mother: Suzette Threet.  Eaton Family FS Modesto Directors
Published in the Modesto Bee on 2/15/2009