My Beloved's Priceless Gift to the World After He Died
Consider the "Gift of Life"
Shaun's loving and generous spirit continues to touch lives...
It was his desire that when he passed on, if he could help improve or even save someone else's life by tissue donation, we would honour and respect his wishes.
~ His eyes so that someone could see
~ His heart valves so another person's heart could beat stronger
~ His skin so a burn victim could heal faster
~ His bone so a frail person could regain their mobility
We, as a family, are comforted in our loss knowing that countless others have been given a second chance thanks to his precious gift.
Shaun used to joke about how his feet would never last another 20 years because he was on them all day. His back hurt too, and sometimes he needed a magnifying glass to read fine print. But even his eyes will help someone else to see because it's the cornea they transplant. Being near-sighted or far-sighted has no effect on how well a healthy cornea will enable another person to see.
Technology is a wonderful thing. Because of the advancement of science, amazing things are being done to help heal the human body. Those not meant to die yet are given a second chance (or maybe even a first chance) to have a healthier body and better quality of life simply by the generosity of those whose time has come.
It was comforting when I received the call that all of the tissue he donated was healthy. According to the Trillium Gift of Life Network, "One tissue donor can improve the lives of as many as 75 individuals. Donated tissue is used for reconstructing bones and joints, for brain, heart and eye operations and for treating burns."
Shaun knew it would help people, but I'm sure he didn't realize that as many as 75 could benefit from his selflessness. He merely did what he always did while alive – give, give, give.
Fortunately, we had discussed tissue donation in great detail long before he passed away. When you are still in the hospital and they are asking you whether you want to donate or not, they need an answer pretty quickly. If your loved one has not completed a consent form beforehand or even told you of their wishes prior to death, you may be overwhelmed with this decision at one of the worst moments of your life.
Another thing to note, according to Gift of Life, "If tissues are suitable, those to be donated – bones, tendons, veins, heart valves, skin, corneas and/or eye tissue – are surgically removed with great care and respect to ensure the donation does not interfere with an open casket viewing for the donor. Also, since these procedures are carried out as soon as possible after death, they do not cause a significant delay in funeral arrangements."
I know this is a very difficult thing to talk about with loved ones. It's just about as much fun as talking about wills and estates. It's something no one wants to really think about, but think about it we must because these types of decisions will have to be made sooner or later.
Personally, I do take great comfort in knowing that Shaun's wishes were carried out and that he continues to affect people in a positive way just like he always did. He wouldn't have it any other way.