I recently posted this article that I wrote on my Facebook page, and asked my friend if they had signed their donor card? Organ donation always stirs up conversation, and a friend posted the link to an article about a man who was killed trying to save a woman from a mob during Mardi Gras. It spoke of how his one body had touched several lives and families because of his choice to donate his organs.
Friends shared that they were proud organ donors, but one expressed that she didn’t know if her husband would honor her wishes. This topic draws back to the importance of living wills, organ donation, and discussing your end of life decisions. But maybe you haven’t thought much of these things? It’s too scary; by planning for it, it means it will happen.
As I have shared before, Kevin was unable to discuss his end of life wishes with me until the last two weeks he was alive. We signed his living will when he was barely conscious and on life support. We discussed his funeral just hours before he took his last breath. Friends – this is too late. I would have loved to donate Kevin’s organs, in fact, I requested that he be considered, but his type of cancer was far too aggressive for even his eyes to be eligible for donation. (Did I ever share that my mother in law’s flight to see Kevin when he was very ill, was held up in Minneapolis due to waiting for the arrival a donated pair of eyes that were being taken to Johns Hopkins, where she also was headed? Cool huh!?)
There are literally thousands of people on life support, living hour by hour hoping that they can get the opportunity for an organ transplant. One of the most vivid accounts of organ donation I have ever “witnessed” was that of Tricia Lawrenson who received a pair of lungs just months after she gave birth to a premature baby girl, and remained in life support due to her Cystic Fibrosis.
For me, it’s a simple decision. I have precious organs, and if I die, and these organs are of worth, I want them to live in someone else. It is often said that the greatest gift one can give is life, and this gift does not just have to be through birth. It can be through organ donation, and giving of yourself when you have died.
As partners to our husbands and wives, as siblings and parents to precious family, it is our duty to fulfill these wishes on behalf of the the loved ones that die. It is not our duty to fight and argue over these decisions. If it is written, signed by the person it is regarding, and properly reviewed and authorized by an official of the law, then it is valid and proper. No arguments. It is as it is written.
If you have a living will written, an organ donation card signed, or any other end and post life wishes documented, it is your obligation to discuss these with the people who will initiate these decisions on your behalf. If you want things a certain way, you must be sure to appropriate the proper person to oversee that they be carried out.
If you do not have them written, have not discussed them, then it is time. Set a date to talk with your loved ones about these difficult subjects. Place your wishes in writing, and be sure to designate a person whom you fully trust to make sure that your wishes are fulfilled in detail.
Set a date, talk it through, do the tough stuff now, so that when it is your time, your family can focus on what is most important: caring for you in your time of need, and loving one another.