I got the bad news on Father's Day, my dad had suffered a stroke. Three months earlier he'd had a triple bypass operation, so we knew it was serious.
My dad lived on Elcho Island and had to be transferred to Darwin. Time went slow that day. My mum was with my dad the whole time, while my brother and sisters made frantic arrangements to travel from interstate. The next day we got the tragic news that we would have to say our goodbyes.
The feelings and experience that followed are very personal and emotional. It was during this time our family was approached about organ donation. We agreed that's what our dad wanted and were comfortable with the decision. The only obstacle was time, as we wanted to ensure we all said our goodbyes in person.
I remembered a conversation with my dad, he'd said 'they can have whatever organs they want, they might not be much good but they won't be any use to me'. It was mentioned light-heartedly, yet I knew this was his wish. My parents had also discussed organ donation.
As fate had it my dad became an organ donor, donating his kidneys, lung and heart valves. It makes me proud that my dad's an organ donor and this has helped my family with the grieving process.
I have attended numerous organ donation ceremonies since, which is a special time for me to reflect and a chance to bond with other donor and recipient families.
My dad has always been my hero. Now he is some other people's hero too. I encourage anyone to become an organ donor, it is such a special gift to give. I miss my dad everyday, yet find comfort in knowing that he lives on in more ways than one.