Friday, August 16, 2013

The Beat Goes On - The Ultimate Gift Of Life...

IMAGE :THE MOTHER LOAD | The Best Goes On - The Ultimate Gift Of Life

Today, I'm giving a bit of thought to the notion of organ donation. I know I've discussed it briefly in the past here The Lingering Lessons From Great Ormond Street but the subject has re-presented itself this week with the sudden passing of a family member who followed through with his pledge to be an organ donor.

I sit here today, thinking not just of my beloved Uncle but also of a number of the people who are lying in hospital beds around Australia perhaps recovering from a long anticipated life-saving surgery and who now harbour a precious part of my family member. I think of their families, who have been enduring a great amount of anguish as their loved ones deteriorate, not knowing whether time will be the cruel decider of their fate. I imagine (and hope) this morning, they are celebrating the end of a traumatic chapter and the beginning of a second chance. I also imagine with fondness and a great deal of pride that the recipient (or their family) has given some quiet thought to the person who chose to save them. Had they have been lucky enough to meet him, they would know that they are truly blessed to be carrying not only a physical part of my Uncle, but also a spiritual part of a wise and honourable man who lived a brilliant life, raised a wonderful family and was always there with great interest and enthusiasm when I was lucky enough to catch up with him.

So again, I go back to the agonising decision about whether I could follow suit and make that same sacrifice. I wonder what it is that makes us hesitate? What do we think happens after we go and why do we think it's necessary to pack our organs for the journey just in case? I suppose at the ripe age of forty I still adopt the 'it'll never happen to me' attitude which prevents me from making the hard choices but this is pretty irresponsible if I'm honest with myself. Is it the process the family must go through once the inevitable has happened that prevents us from committing? Or do we think at that crucial moment of life or death someone will sway towards death in order to save countless others? That's a pretty ridiculous theory but I'm sure a level head is difficult to maintain in this argument, particularly in the moment a decision is required by a loved one.  Regardless of the above hesitations, at the end of the day it boils down to whether or not we are really a giving person because it doesn't get much more generous than this does it? In our consideration, we should perhaps be mindful of how much we would appreciate the ultimate gift should we, our children or other family members be in a position to require it.  A death purely thanks to a lack of generosity would be much harder to bear than any of us could imagine unless we've been unlucky enough to have witnessed it.

Whatever decision I arrive at for myself (and I'm not there yet), I feel very proud today that my Uncle was emphatic in his choice, and without condition prepared to save the lives of others with the ultimate gift of life.


  1. It's strange isn't it? Where we draw the line, what we are comfortable with and what makes us feel awkward.

    I have told those closest to me that I am happy to donate my organs, if it ever comes to that.

    But I won't put it on my license.

    Don't ask me why, is it something to do with not wanting my family to be pressured by outside forces? Or a fear that authorities might be otherwise too eager? Not sure.

    But it's a pretty personal decision and that's where I'm at with it.

    A beautiful and thought provoking post. Sorry for your loss. xx

    1. OSL - you and I currently share the same intent when it comes to the big decision. I've said a tentative yes to loved ones, but taking the official step outside of the family seems too scary currently. I need to give that some more thought.

      Thanks for your lovely comment. x

  2. D'oh - I didn't realise you had to do anything more official than to advise your loved ones. It used to be you could be on a register - has that changed?

    I know too many who have benefited - if they want anything of mine, they can have it.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jeanie. It's true - the most important discussion is the one you have with your loved ones as they ultimately make the decision regardless of whether or not you're on the register (which is still the process). provides good information.