That's what family, friends and fans of LDS musician Paul Cardall were struck by Thursday morning, with word that his long-awaited heart transplant was successfully performed at Primary Children's Medical Center.
It's a story a novelist might conjure up, but for 36-year-old Cardall and his family, it's another adventure in a life so surprising to medical personnel that the heart surgeon who thought Cardall would likely die as an infant made his way to the hospital for congratulations.
The donor heart was implanted by surgeons little more than three months after Cardall's brother, Brian Cardall, died June 9 next to a highway in southern Utah. Police had Tasered him when he was found running naked there during a bout with mental illness.
Though the Cardalls have long been grateful for the hope offered through organ donation, Brian Cardall's death put the entire family squarely into the shoes of donor families who make the decision to give organs and tissue from deceased loved ones to others. Today, they empathize in a visceral, palpable way.