This I believe about donation. While I wish that everyone could live a long and wonderful life, I also believe that death is a vital, if not a ubiquitous part of the cycle of life. I recently experienced this first hand when my sweet father in-law passed away quietly in his dreams. He would have been 84 this August. He left behind several of his siblings, six children and their families as well as six grandchildren spanning 3 decades. He wasn’t a donor nor was he a recipient but he exemplified the rewards of donation, the reason for donation – the need for donation.
I have always understood that donation does not prevent death. Oh it might deter it for a bit, but like taxes, it is still inevitable. In the plus column, however, donation does more than prolong life. Donation is an enabler, but in the most positives of ways. It enables recipients to live long, happy, and productive lives much like my sweet father in-law did up to the very the end. Little boys can spend a summer day fishing off the jetty in Brielle with their Grandpas. Brothers and sisters can look forward to a weekly visit from their octogenarian brother. Nieces and nephews can enjoy a game of horseshoes at their Grandfather’s 80th birthday party. Grown sons can receive nightly fishing reports from their Dads even when the fish weren’t biting that day.
I work at the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation and I start my day knowing that what I do that day and everyday plays a part in the donation process. It is a distinct honor and truly grounds my very soul on a daily basis. You see, I know the source of the gift; I know that someone needed to let go of this life in order to pass on the gift of life to others. But the blessing of this act is that it is returned in multiples; so many can be helped by the generosity of one. Each one of the recipients shares the fruits of their donation with their family as well. The donor family, while deep in the caverns of grief, can share in the knowledge that their loved one’s wishes of donation enabled so many more to live a fuller life. So, as a pebble in the lake, the ripples from a single donation spread wider and wider.
The gift of donation is more than a gift of life; it is a gift of living; it is a gift of potential. I believe in living every day to its fullest; enjoying family and friends and hopefully, making a difference. A single gift of donation can make this possible for so many others. I have strong beliefs in many things, but this I believe about donation.
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