We've been shattered for the past week as a very close friend of my wife and I died suddenly from a stroke.
Our special friend for the last 33 years was wonderful, generous and kind to everyone in life and was the same even as she faced her own death. She was an organ donor and as she was conscious for awhile after the stroke in hospital she made sure her husband and family would carry out her wishes. When she became brain dead her body was kept alive on a ventilator for a further day so the best outcome for her organ usage would ensue. This also had the indirect benefit of allowing time for family and close friends to sit with her and say a final goodbye. We can now tell you from experience that although a very sad event, it is nice to sit and hold the warm hand of a loved one, whose heart still beats, whose chest still rises and falls as her lungs breathe air, whose normal face just looks like someone taking a nap.
Our friend also has a wonderful family. They allowed the transplant medics to ensure a good outcome and it's quite a quick process - a day or less. But there are now two people who have use of our friend's kidneys and another who carries her liver. So three people have been given life from our friends organs which were no use to her in death. This in turn releases vital hospital machines to help further people. It seems there are only a total of about 300 organ transplants per year in Ireland and our friend is responsible for three of these. She could even have given her lungs and heart also except there were no suitable recipients of the right size (she was a small lady). So you can see how one person simply carrying an organ donor card can make a big difference.
There is a lot of grief going around us all as our special friend was far too young to die (51, and indeed biologically and visibly was much younger). My thoughts are constantly with her husband who is my best pal and their four terrific children. But her generosity to others in death is truly of help in dealing with the pain and is a lasting legacy. To give multiple people life from your own death just by agreeing to be an organ donor has to make sense to everyone. But remember, it's equally important to have your family's co-operation, it's useless being an organ donor if your next of kin will not also give their consent when the vital time comes.
Please be an organ donor and encourage others to do it also. I've seen the benefits, it's truly remarkable. And lastly, make sure you enjoy life and all your loved ones, the unexpected can happen all to easily.
Written with kind permission of my best pal