My Dad passed away in early 2014. Today, and for all the years to come, we will live with the consequences of him being gone and while the pain is not the raw shock and denial it was one year ago, that feeling of loss will always be there. Yet I still consider myself lucky as I have the comfort of knowing my Dad was an organ donor and something of a hero to many, myself included.
The fear that you will never hear or see your loved one again can be overwhelming. My Dad spent his last night playing cricket on the beach, laughing with his daughters over homemade shortbread ice cream, and watching 'The Hobbit' with his son and wife. It was the perfect end to a brilliant life, almost as though he had designed his last night with us himself. But within hours we were faced with the question of whether or not we would donate his organs. Phrased like this it seems harsh, but for those who need that second chance at life it really does come down to yes or no.
I do not believe I have ever experienced such kindness as that from the doctors and nurses at the hospital. With us they cried as we said goodbye, held our hands as we sat in shock, and how they treated Dad with the greatest respect through the entire process. Today we live with the relief that we made this decision. It offers hope against the finality of death and out of our loss came the ability to prevent another family from suffering the heartache that we have.
Organ donation is a beautiful creation, and one that stems from great tragedy. Perhaps this is what makes it the most precious gift of all and reminds me why my Dad’s life was so valuable. For those who have received an organ and those who make it possible, I want to say how grateful I am. You hold a very special place in my heart for letting my Dad live on.