In the hospital room, he lay looking like his normal 19-year-old self, everything except for the tubes and machines and the bandage around his head. His head is his only injury, but it’s tough. His mother, my best friend Leah, had been told so sternly that her son would not survive, his brain was dead.
It took me longer than necessary to get to the hospital, I got lost trying to find a way to say goodbye to Thomas.
A farewell that just wasn’t meant to be.
Goodbye to the little boy who had befriended my son in Lyerly all those years ago.
Goodbye to the middle school basketball superstar.
Goodbye to the gym loving, food cooking, handsome, perfect young man he had grown into.
But his farewell came in the most fitting way, as Thomas gave many a Thanksgiving miracle, a testament to his love.
A love that will never die.
Tonight at Cartersville Medical Center, the family and friends of Thomas Manning, along with the medical staff and emergency responders who worked on his accident, celebrated Thomas with a walk of honor as he was wheeled to awaiting transport to Atlanta, where his organs will be harvested.
When his mother understood that her son had no chance of surviving, she fulfilled Thomas’ wish to help others by donating his organs. Its eyes, organs, tissues, and skin are all used to save others.
Thomas’ selfless generosity will save many lives and answer prayers for those who have been begging for a miracle and hoping for a second chance at life. It’s his Thanksgiving gift for people he’s never met.
Thomas will live on in others. Doctors said his organs were in excellent condition and the recipients would live long lives.
His love will live on in all of us who knew and loved him.
This goodbye isn’t goodbye or see you later, but 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, played with his hair, her hand on his heart until it was time to let him go to help others.
Thomas Manning died as a result of a motorcycle accident. He was loved by all who knew him, and in his death he gained 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 FORGET
Become an organ donor: https://www.organdonor.gov/sign-up