March 5, 2018
Last week I shared with you some preliminary ideas about organ donation, and this week I want to continue with that topic. Of course, organ donation is crucial for people who are waiting for life-saving transplants like major organs or life-improving transplants like vertebrae that can relieve pain or skin that can promote healing. For that reason alone, it is worth everyone’s consideration.
However, organ donation is also one of the many possibilities for positive ways that a loved one’s life can continue to make a difference in the world. If you know that in small to large ways your loved one is contributing to the quality of others’ lives, the knowledge can bring great comfort. For our family, it has helped to keep the grief at bay.
We have had the privilege of meeting the young man who received our son Josh’s heart, of listening to that heart through a stethoscope. My reaction to that sound was to realize that I first heard that heartbeat while our baby was in my womb, long before his birth. The fact that this heart now gives life to another man who has a daughter gives affirmation of the cycle of life which negates some of the sting of death.
Again, the process is not easy. However, transplant agencies like LifeCenter Northwest have advocates who work with donor families to help them through the process. People like us become part of a team which includes not only representatives from the agency but also hospital personnel, and they can help in so many ways.
To give you an example, while we were waiting for all this to happen, I wanted to write our son’s obituary. The hospital, in collaboration with the transplant team, provided me with a room, a computer, and even an flash drive to complete and save the document. At the time, that was a great convenience and comfort for me.
What a gift to realize that not only has someone’s life made a difference but also someone’s death has made a difference, too.