Weddings are incredibly meaningful days for everyone in attendance. However, for those that have lost loved ones, they feel that emptiness. One bride decided to fill that void and give her groom the wedding gift of a lifetime when he could hear his late brother’s heart beat again.
When he was only 13-years-old, Derick Smith’s brother Jake was hit by a car and killed. His family donated his organs, hoping that Jake would live on and do good things for others in need. Now an adult, Derick and his family have never had the opportunity to meet anyone that received Jake’s organs. Until now.
Derick’s future wife, Katy, wanted to give her husband-to-be a gift he would treasure forever: the opportunity to hear his brother’s heart beat again. She thus decided to find the woman who received Jake’s heart.
“I had asked Derick’s mom, I said, you know this is going to be a really personal question, and you can tell me no, but I’m really interested in trying to find the person that received Jake’s heart and would you be willing to do that?” Katy told Inside Edition. “She cried and she was really happy and she said, ‘Absolutely, I think this will be a great idea’.”
After a year of searching, Katy found Gracie Wilkinson.
“I found out her name and I found her on Facebook, and so I sent her a message… within two minutes she responded saying, ‘Absolutely, I would love to be there, just tell me when and where and I will be there,’” Katy said.
On their big day, Derick and Gracie had a heartfelt embrace and shared many tears. Derick was able to listen to his brothers heart again, and Gracie gifted him with a keychain with an image of his brother’s heartbeat from an EKG.
“What it was like to hear his heartbeat was a flood of different emotions,” Smith said of the moment. “There’s not a word to describe it. She gave me the gift of closure.”
And it meant just as much for Gracie, who was only 6-years-old when she received Jake’s heart,
”Getting to meet everyone and getting to be part of their day and a part of that moment for Derick and kind of bringing Derick some closure from losing his brother means the absolute world to me,” she added.
Image: Inside Edition