Our son Mitchell was a beautiful person inside and out. He was tall dark and handsome, sensitive, generous and kind, with a great sense of humour and a special gift for making the lives of those around him just a little bit brighter. Sadly our lovely son also suffered with bouts of deep depression and it was one such episode that ultimately ended his life.
The circumstances could not have been more heart wrenching when we (his family) were called upon to make a decision about organ and tissue donation. Thankfully we had discussed organ donation as a family. As reluctant as Mitchell was to share his emotional pain, he was surprisingly candid in his support for the organ donation and transplantation process. In this way, he had made our tough decision long before we were called upon to sign the papers necessary to honour his wishes - for that we are forever grateful.
I don't think anyone can be prepared for the conflicting emotions surrounding organ and tissue donation. At first I found it confronting and upsetting to think that parts of our lovely son were still living and supporting the lives of others. Over time, especially when we received a heartfelt 'Thank you' from a young recipient, it has become a little easier. Instead of our 'family' becoming smaller with Mitchells' passing, it has actually grown to include a number of people we shall never know. Like us they will never forget our son and what his kind, generous nature has meant for them in a very personal way.
Every day we miss the wonderful young man Mitchell grew into, but somehow his loss is made just a little easier to live with knowing that the enduring legacy of his life is not that he chose to end it, but that he has made the lives of several chronically ill people that much brighter by his gift.