It is a hug that only two mothers can fully comprehend.
"You have this family picture that is no longer real," Andree Blakemore said. "It's different. It's not what it was."
In May 2005, Dougie Blakemore, a spunky, athletic 4-year-old from Metairie, La., was hit and killed by a car. His liver was transplanted into a young Japanese boy, saving that boy's life. Recently, the Japanese family flew to Louisiana for a surreal meeting with the people who provided their son his second chance.
The Japanese family is very private and didn't want to be interviewed or have their faces shown. The Blakemores couldn't believe they would have the chance to see in person what their son had passed on.
"It's exhilarating," Andrea said. "I can't even express the words. We get to experience a miracle. It's the most amazing gift of life."
The young man brought a note for the Blakemores in hopes of expressing his gratitude and sorrow for what they lost.
"This is a family heirloom we'll pass down to our families," dad Doug Blakemore said. "So this stays with family."
And the Blakemores reassured the boy not to feel the guilt that naturally comes with a situation like this.
"We lost one and you gained one. And we're happy for that. Our whole family is very, very happy for you. We're happy that he's alive and looks like he's doing pretty good," Doug said.
And although they didn't share a language, they shared pictures and stories. The Blakemores showing their new friends who little Dougie was, content in their hearts that he lives on in another, half a world away.
The Japanese family was accompanied on their trip by a documentary crew. They hope to educate their country of the need for organ donation.
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