It is surely a gift of life, to give someone else, a complete stranger 99% of the time, the healthy organs, bone marrow, bones, joints, eyes and even skin tissue of people who’ve been cut down too early in life. Accidents happen, that’s sort of why their called accidents. When someone who is healthy, lives well, doesn’t smoke or over-indulge in alcohol or drugs, then they can save 3 or 4 lives, give accident or crime victims the gift of eyesight, a scar-less face (or any part of their body) or a new leg bone, hip or elbow, shoulder, well, you get the idea; if doctors can use it, they will harvest it. To donate organs, bone and tissue upon your demise is not only giving the gift of life, it is one of the more selfless acts that there are.
Getting To Know You…
There are organizations that you can hire which will find out who your loved one’s organs or other donated body parts were donated to, where they live and what they do for a living. Anything, everything. Many people even strike up friendships with the people whose lives their dearly departed either saved or improved the quality of. In Canada, if both the donor’s family and the recipient (or their executor) sign the proper paperwork, they can then get to know each other. Scary, sort of like that movie “7 Pounds” with Will Smith, but he was dying of a disease and wanted to get to know his recipients before donating to them. He picked who would get which parts of himself, and worked the system so that they would.
But true life rarely mimics Hollywood (or, is that supposed to be the other way around?). Even if both parties agree to getting to know one another, there is still a creep factor involved. No matter how sensitive you may appear to be about it, when talking to a young woman who now loves with your departed wife’s heart, the young man who dreams through your dead son’s eyes or the elderly guy who no longer needs to pee in a bag all day long thanks to your loves one’s donations, you will, in some part of your mind, heart or psyche, be thinking if your loved one is still in there, somewhere. When the recipient realizes this, just how creepy would that be? It would be extremely uncomfortable, and yet they might even feel a responsibility to allow you to continue being friendly with them.
When Right Becomes Wrong.
Organ donation is supposed to be about giving. Stop making it about keeping people who’ve died alive. It’s just wrong and goes against the meaning of the word charity. It is good to receive a letter letting you know that your dearly departed’s donations had saved a 17-year old soccer playing girl, a 21-year old waitress and a 32-year old poet, but it really should end there. This isn’t about keeping the dead alive, it’s about keeping the living alive and improving people’s qualities of life.