I am forever connected and bound to a woman I know nothing about. Did she like pizza or sushi? Folk music or jazz? Where did she go to school? Did she like school? Did this young woman keep mostly to herself or was she an outgoing kind of gal? What were her favorite colors? Favorite actors or movies?

I wonder if she had brothers or sisters. Maybe she was an only child. There is so much I want to know about her but circumstances, for the moment, make that impossible.

She changed the world for seven people Perhaps she had talent in the arts—writing or painting. Did she love animals? She was certainly a generous soul—why else would she donate her organs after her death—a selfless act of kindness that changed the world for at least seven people.

I'm one of them.

I wrote a story, or rather a thank-you letter, to her parents for being strong enough to follow her wishes. This act gives me the ability to live and breathe and know what it's like to develop more love for G‑d and for every moment I am granted. It gives me a chance at fulfilling a whole host of immeasurable desires and needs. And yet I still crave knowledge about her: A name, a face, a character.

Paradoxically, I have learned the Jewish concept that when someone makes a donation, one of the noblest things to do is not to attach your name to it. I think it is a great idea. An act of generosity that requires no pat on the back or notoriety.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my anonymous donor lately because I fortunately just celebrated the two-year anniversary of my double-lung transplant. I find that I am now even more grateful to her, and curious about her, than the first year after the operation. I guess it has finally started to sink in; the gravity and beauty; the generosity and, and, and.....

Of course I am grateful to so many. I owe unbelievable thanks to the surgeons, the nurses, the hospital; family, friends, the donor's family and last but not least, G‑d. Yet I am able to share my gratitude in one way or another with all of them. It is my donor, the one who gave me the gift of life, that I cannot ever thank. And all I know about her, is that she was a young woman of approximately twenty-two years old.

What were her childhood dreams? Did she like to dance? Did she know she was dying or was she in some fatal accident? Was this girl passionate about life? What did she want to be when she grew up? What were her childhood dreams? Was she ever in love? One could feel rather sorry about a life not lived to its fullest potential. And yet, her passing saved seven other people. Is that not a life worth having?

These are questions I will always have. And the curiosity will always remain. Curiosity. It is ingrained in us; the need to know and understand beautiful mysteries. Like Chanukah when the oil burned longer than anyone could ever have expected. We all know the eternal flame burns until this very day. It is G‑d’s way of lighting our way. And yet, it illuminates but still casts shadows from another point of view. This woman who saved my life, came from this light and now has returned.

I look for her shadow and I find only an inner light and a deeper gratitude at so many levels. I imagine every candle I light on the menorah is another life she saved. No, the math does not work as I understand it. However, I think that in our case, me and this woman, one and one does not equal two. It is closer to three. Another chance at life counts for something. Not to mention Tikkun Olam, rectifying the world. Save a life and you save the world. And that number is almost unfathomable. The Chanukah candles emanate a light that almost is blinding to my eyes. And does my donor’s family know that I bask in the warmth of her light now, too?

I was given life twiceHer lungs are in my chest. That's a fact. Apparently I am supposed to call them "my lungs." Semantics, I suppose, for those who need to feel more complete. I'm not sure. I do know they are a good fit, thank G‑d. For two years now I ride and dance and walk and do not gasp for air. For me, this is a miracle. As a child, every winter was spent in an oxygen tent at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. My asthma inhaler fit into my pencil case for school.

And I wonder. What did she think about? Did she question her purpose in this world and why things happen the way they do? I know I do. And when I do my thoughts and answers always wind up with my belief in G‑d. And I realize that if I can believe in Him, even though I can’t see Him, I can believe that she knows the blessing she gave me. For not only was I given life once, I was given it twice. And with every breath I take, I take it for us both.