Mum was born in and grew up in Victoria. She lived in Western Australia and Queensland before settling in South Australia in about 1978. She was a family orientated person, who in her retirement was very community minded as well, becoming involved with her local RSL club. She had eight children, 19 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She also had step children and grandchildren as well, who she thought of no differently to any of her biological family.
One of her favourite things was taking her grand kids to the movies – partly because she loved spending time with them but also because secretly she wanted to see all the kids’ movies! Her favourite was Shrek.
On the night of mum’s accident, she was out having dinner. She’d had a lovely time with good food and wine. While mum had said that if she could pick the way she was going to die it would be while she was asleep, I think this would’ve been close to that. When she fell, she was unconscious instantly, and the doctors said she was in a very deep coma even by the time she got to hospital. I know that the ambulance officers and the staff at the hospital did all they could to help mum, however there was nothing anyone could have done.
When the time came for the discussion about organ donation, there wasn’t much talking that needed to be done. Awareness about organ and tissue donation is a lot higher than it used to be, so I had discussed this option with mum many times.
While it was disappointing that we weren’t able to donate any other of mum’s organs, I was incredibly happy to be told that we could still donate mum’s corneas for transplant and eyes for research. Mum’s biggest fear was to go blind, so to give other people the ability to see was a wonderful gift to be able to give on her behalf.
Meeting and speaking to staff from the Eye Bank and confirming that our wish to do something positive in a traumatic time was possible, was a relief. While it was hard to make sense of what had happened, I took comfort in being a part of something life changing, in a good way, for others. To find out that two people had been given back their sight was a remarkable feeling and an emotional moment for me.