Sunday, June 23, 2013


I've been sleeping with my ex-husband for a few weeks now, just not in the traditional sense.  Brian passed away almost a year ago and he was an organ donor.  In addition, his son Ethan, (who also happens to be my son), father, and brother made the unselfish decision to donate his body to the University of Minnesota to be analyzed by medical students.  Upon completion of the studies, the remains were returned to Ethan.  As Ethan actually resides in Raleigh and I don't want him to see his father in my small living room the minute he walks in the house, I keep them in my room.  Ethan is fully aware that they are here, but he has shown no interest in seeing them.  He is quite the pragmatist and I fully respect his decision to remember his father in the way he sees fit.  He is just not the type of guy who is going to lug his father from pillar to post and mantle to mantle for the rest of his days.  Eventually I expect Brian to be buried beside his mother in the family plot in Missouri, but for now he resides on my headboard.  He was on a small table in my room for awhile and I almost knocked him over one day.  It seemed disrespectful, so I moved him to the headboard.  He seems content there and I am certain he appreciates being in the room where I do the least amount of talking, if any. 

But seriously...this post is about the importance of organ donation.  If you are not currently a donor, I hope that you read it with an open mind and reconsider your stance.  I am going to quote directly from the letter Ethan received dated July 17, 2012:

A seventy-year old man received the gift of Brian's right kidney during a transplant surgery in South Dakota.  This recipient suffered from kidney disease and had been on the transplant waiting list for three years.  He and his family are very grateful for this chance for a longer and healthier life.

A fifty-four year old man received the gift of your father's liver during a transplant surgery in Minnesota.  This recipient was diagnosed with cancer of the liver and had been on the transplant waiting list for a year and a half.  His doctors report that the surgery was successful and that this gentleman has been discharged to continue his recovery at home with his family.  They are so thankful to your family for this generous gift.

Your father's heart was sent to researchers at the University of Minnesota for use in studying the function, anatomy, and vasculature of the heart.  This investigative research will help physicians learn more about the human heart and how to help those who suffer from complex cardiac conditions.  Future generations will benefit from Brian's gift to research and your generosity.

On behalf of these recipients, their families and LifeSource, thank you again for helping us to enable your father to give the precious Gift of Lift through donation.  Brian is truly a hero to those he has helped.  You and your family reached beyond your pain in a moment of tragedy to consider the needs of others.  We cannot think of a more loving tribute to your father.

A letter dated April 26, 2013 was written by the recipient of Brian's liver:

A thank you seems so small compared to the gift given to me by your loved one.  I want you to know that this gift has provided me the chance to raise my boys, love my wife longer, and with this renewed opportunity of life, I am so grateful for my gift.

Thank you for:

*The gift of a 2nd chance of life
*The ability to be a father to my twin sons
*To be around to love my spouse and support our family
*Your unselfish gift in your time of sorrow

The letter was simply signed "Dale".

If that doesn't inspire you to put a little red heart on your driver's license, I don't know what will.