The two men both used the same heart and then, with that heart, fell in love with the same woman.
It was originally Terry Cottle's heart. He was, after all, born with it. He fell in love and married Cheryl. Terry died 12 years ago, at age 33, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound outside their Summerville home. A sad tale perhaps until Sonny Graham was granted the gift of life with Terry's heart.
Grateful, Sonny Graham began writing letter's to the donor's family. He and Cheryl would finally meet in Charleston in 1997. Last week, Graham would also end his life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound outside their Vidalia, Georgia home.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. - Terry Cottle and Sonny Graham never met, but the two men shared two very important things - a heart and a wife.
They also died the same way: Cottle, 12 years ago from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the Summerville home he shared with his wife, Cheryl; Graham, 69, died the same way last week outside his Vidalia, Ga., home that he shared with his wife, Cheryl.
When Cottle died at age 33, his organs were donated. Graham got Cottle's heart and nine years later, he married Cottle's widow.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agent Greg Harvey told The (Hilton Head) Island Packet that Graham was found Tuesday in a utility building in his back yard with a single gunshot wound to the throat. The former golf tournament director had used a shotgun and no foul play was suspected in his death, Harvey said.
Graham, who was director of the Heritage golf tournament at Sea Pines from 1979 to 1983, was on the verge of congestive heart failure in 1995 when he got a call that a heart was available in Charleston.
That heart was from Terry Cottle, who had been put on life support after shooting himself so his organs could be donated, Berkeley County Coroner Glenn Rhoad said.
Grateful for his new heart, Graham began writing letters to the donor's family to thank them. In January 1997, Graham and Cheryl Cottle, then 28, met in Charleston.
"I felt like I had known her for years," Graham told The Island Packet for a story in 2006. "I couldn't keep my eyes off her. I just stared."
What are your thoughts on this story? Did the heart carry the same love as well as [perhaps] pain that would have it desiring suicide? Is this a case of cellular memory being of such strong influence that to avoid its outcome would seem fruitless? And I wonder who will be the first to mention that Cheryl - the wife- "drove" them both to it? >:\
Not to discourage you if you really do feel that way, but I am interested in all of your thoughts on this matter. Situations like this intrigue me and have we not all seen movies of a paranormal or metaphysical or even Sci-Fi flavor, intimating that organ transfers can really mean sometimes more than just the donation of the "organ" itself? Heck, I've seen several talk shows on the matter!
So open up. Share honestly. And if you feel shy or nervous of sharing any metaphysical or supernatural or paranormal positions you may have, out in the open, please join my Mental, Emotional, Spiritual Private Group and start a *private group discussion* where your words are not out in the Newsvine open. :)