A woman listened to her late son’s heartbeat – inside the body of another man.
"I hear it!" Sue Ellen Monaghan said, sobbing.
She is overwhelmed because the man, Jon Claflin, is not her son -- he's the grateful recipient of a donor heart that once beat in the chest of her beloved boy.
"It feels like I'm hugging my son!" she said, wrapping her arms around the man.
This bittersweet story began last October when Monahan’s son, Tim Conley, who was just 25, suffered a head injury while working at a warehouse. He went to bed that night and never woke up.
After five days on life support with no hope for recovery, his mom made the tough decision to donate Conley’s organs.
"It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life, but I knew it's what he wanted,” she said.
Four people were saved by Conley’s organs, including Claflin, who received his heart. "There's no question, he saved my life,” he said.
The gift of life came just in the nick of time as Claflin was suffering from congestive heart failure. A sonogram showed the donor heart beating strongly in his chest.
"I saw my son's heart beating. That means everything to me,” said Monaghan.
She was eager to meet Claflin, who put a microphone to his chest so she could hear the heart beating through headphones.
The sound of her son’s heart brought back a flood of memories. "Whenever he didn't feel good he'd say, ‘Listen to my heart. Can you listen to my heart? It's beating so fast!’ And it's the same thing I'm hearing," she said.
Claflin isn’t sure how he can repay the good deed. "How do you thank somebody for your life? I don't know,” he said.
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