A few months ago my sister and cousin died. They were stark contrasts of what can happen in life if you get hooked on drugs or what happens when you persevere and do everything that’s asked of you. I find it interesting that the discussion of the two is often very different as well – where my sister’s death is often regarded as a blessing (since she was as good as anyone had seen her for years) and my cousin’s a tragedy due to the potential he had. I’d grown accustomed to these discussions. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, is the description I was told regarding my cousin’s burial arrangements months after his funeral.
You see, he was an organ donor, and being a healthy male without any diseases (despite an apparently bad heart) he was a gold-mine. My uncle and aunt had opted to dress their son for his funeral, but were unprepared for what they found. Their description of the event, the nightmares it gave them, and the complete lack of “comfort” that my uncle had felt while getting his dad ready for burial was shocking to me.
His body was nothing more than pipes, plastic coverings, and a shell of his former self. His eyes were taken, his bones, his skin, his organs…everything had been removed leaving merely a morsel of his former self. My uncle said he wished that they’d cremated him instead because it was such a horrific experience.
Being an organ donor myself I find it hard to think about this and the toll it took on their grieving minds. Wife is very against my donating for fear that I wouldn’t be whole anymore. I’d often thought of this as silly, but have since reconsidered. Could I force my wife to bear that burden my uncle and aunt faced? Is it selfish to want something like that when it can damage your loved ones?
Whatever it is I have thought a lot about donating. I’ve not changed my card, but I continue to ponder what I should and shouldn’t donate. It’s a great choice, but far less simplistic than I’d ever considered.