In the hospital room, he lay looking like his regular 19-year-old self, all but the tubes and machines, and the bandage around his head. His head is his only injury, but it is severe. So severe his Mom, my best friend Leah, had been told her son would not survive, his brain was dead.
It took me longer than it should to get to the hospital, I’d got lost in trying to find a way to say goodbye to Thomas.
A goodbye that just shouldn’t be.
Goodbye to the little boy who had befriended my son all those years ago at Lyerly Elementary School.
Goodbye to the middle school basketball superstar.
Goodbye to the gym loving, food cooking, handsome, perfect young man he had grown up to be.
But his goodbye came in the most fitting way, with Thomas giving many a Thanksgiving miracle, a testimony of his love.
A love that will never die.
This evening at Cartersville Medical Center, Thomas Manning’s family and friends along with the medical staff and the EMT workers who had worked his accident, celebrated Thomas with an Honor Walk as he was being rolled out to an awaiting transport to Atlanta where his organs will be harvested.
Once his Mom understood there was no chance of her son surviving, she followed through with Thomas’s wishes of helping others by the donation of his organs. His eyes, organs, tissue and skin will all be used to save others.
Thomas’s selfless generosity will save many lives and answer prayers for those who have been pleading for a miracle, hoping for a second chance at life, it is his Thanksgiving gift to people he did not ever meet.
Thomas will live on in others. The doctors said his organs were in excellent shape and the recipients will live long lives.
His love will live on in all of us who knew and loved him.
This goodbye isn’t a goodbye or a see you later, it’s a thank you to Leah and Thomas for showing what selfless love looks like.
Leah, dressed in one of Thomas’s flannel shirts held his head, playing with his hair, with her hand on his heart until it was time to let him go help others.
Thomas Manning passed away due to injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident. He was loved by all who knew him, and, in his death, he made countless new loved ones and friends.
Thomas attended Lyerly Elementary School, Red Bud Middle School and graduated from Sonoraville High School in 2021.
Beloved son, brother, uncle, and friend
NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN
To be an organ donor: https://www.organdonor.gov/sign-up