Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Donation -- The gift of sight ....

When we were at the hospital with Jesse's body they asked us if we wanted to have Jesse be a donor.  The question caught me off guard because I didn't realized that one could be a donor after they were already dead. The questions hit like a punch in the gut.  The shock of being with his lifeless body was enough without the thought of the invasive and seemingly irreverent procedures that donation would involve.  We asked for a little time to think about it. We had never thought about it,  let alone discussed it.  

We had to stop and ask ourselves the question "What would Jesse want us to do?  What would Jesse want done with his body?"  We felt that he would want to help another.  So ... as hard as it already was we decided that we'd let Jesse be a donor.  I guess there's a lot that can be donated even after someone has passed away.  They can't "harvest" the organs, but there's a lot that they can use.  The corneas,  the skin, and other tissues.  My dear friend Ranelle Wallace who had a near death experience and wrote the Book "The Burning Within" (amazing book by the way) told me that they can make a large graft from just one inch of skin.  They can also use the long bones and other tissues.  

One of the most difficult conversations I ever had was talking about what was to be taken or not, and harvested.  I don't know if there's a way to prepare for such a experience, maybe to be more informed before hand.  To understand how it works, and also how it blesses lives.  The people who worked with us were helpful and kind. 

I wasn't prepared for just how invasive the process would be on Jesse's body.  He had over 16 feet of incisions on his body.  They also did an autopsy, as his death was unattended by a medical Dr, so there were those incisions as well.  The incisions were leaking and so the put cotton bandaging over then and wrapped his body in plastic.  I hate the whole embalming process.  The body feels like plastic to me after it is embalmed. 

Here's a poem I wrote for Jesse and those who have donated or been the recipient of a donor, and for all the families who are touched by this process. 

Angel Eyes

Your beautiful eyes, 

Laughing ~ Shinning Bright

With Joy and life,

Suddenly --

Too quickly, too soon,

Your physical eyes -- forever closed. 


The question stings. 

We don't know .... 

What would you want?

You'd want to help another. 

Yes, ... as hard as it is ~

We honor you -- your life,

what we feel your wishes are. 

Your beautiful eyes ~ 

a short life of glorious sight,

Now .... 

can go on, blessing the lives of two, 

that were blind,

who now can see. 

Tears of grief and joy are shed

for the gift of sight

given from your bright and shining eyes.

Angel eyes,

now watching over us 

from heaven. 

(c) Elizabeth M Allen
Written in Honor of H Jesse Allen
by his mother

Thanks to the Utah  Lions Eye Bank, the John A Moran Eye Center and the University of Utah School of Medicine, for kind and loving support at a most difficult time.   

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

One Day Closer - Part 3

It was 8 months ago today (March 7, 2011) that Jesse passed away.  These mensaversaries can be harder than I think they will be. Here's the poem that came to me today as I was reflecting once again on that enemy - time.

One Day Closer 

Feeling like time
the enemy
was pulling your further away
from me,
my memories of you ...

the realization 
Each day - each moment,
brings me closer
one day - one moment at a time
to when I will see you,
feel you,
hear your voice,
hug you,

Until then
I pray
Let each day be blessed
with strength and Love,
fond memories
of you and our love. 
Lead me to serve
those in need.

May my life be blessed
that when I see you again,
I will hear you say ~
"Thanks Mom -
For living with Love 
for the way you honored me,
my memory,
the way you lived 
with passion and courage."

A breath, 
and I hear my heart,

That same prayer 
I humbly offer
to my Savior Jesus
Son of God.
My hope ~
That when I behold thy face
I might hear ~

"Well done,
Thou good and faithful daughter."

Each day a gift,
a chance to love and serve,
bringing us closer
to meeting once again,
those we love,
in realms above. 

(c) Elizabeth M Allen
March 7, 2011

One Day Closer - Part 2

This next poem - Life Goes On -  I wrote the first day of school.  Stefen's senior year and what was supposed to be Jesse's junior year.  I attended the assembly that morning as they were doing a little memorial for Jesse.  I got the message that I could have said something much later.  I was just too out of it I guess.  It meant a lot that they did what they did.  Mrs Anderson the principle at the time was wonderful with me - us.  Mr. Welton Jesse's debate teacher and coach spoke about Jesse and did a wonderful memorial for him.

Life Goes On 

Life goes on ~ 
or so it should 
I'm told. 

But how? 
When my world, 
turned upside down
since you left 
will never ~ can never
be quite the same,
for me,
your father,
and siblings,
those who loved you,
whose lives you touched. 

Today the first day,
back to school,
without you,
You not here.

Yeah, it was touching
and sweet,
a wonderful tribute,
a moment of silence
in memory of you.
A cheer for you,
for who you are 
and your life.

Then -- not missing a beat
as if nothing had happened
the fun and frolicking 
laughter and cheering continue --

Life goes on. 

(c) Elizabeth M Allen
August 24, 2010

Monday, March 7, 2011

One Day Closer

Three times is a charm?  I hope so!!  I've lost my post twice now.  

Today as I woke up and facing my full to do list, I found I just couldn't focus,  didn't want to do anything -- in fact here it is now 3 pm and I'm still in my nightgown ... it doesn't help that I've been working at posting my poem since this morning.  Haven't even eaten yet.  I realized that it was 8 months ago to today that Jesse passed away.  No wonder -- it's so strange how these days effect me.  Even if I don't "remember"  it seems there is always some part of me that does remember.   

As I was reflecting once again on time being the enemy a poem popped into my head.  Another gift -- that's what it feels like when a poem comes the way the poem today did ... first with the title and then as I write it just seems to flow, the words and ideas come.  The Poem I wrote today is One Day Closer --  It reminded me of,  and reread two poems I wrote back in August.  I'll share those first to keep the flow. 

First I'll share the poem "Time" that I wrote Aug 2, 2010


The healer
and the enemy.

How long have you been gone...
Away from us, 
those who mark time,
First in minuets, 
then hours and days ...
until finally 
months and years
have gone by. 
And you ~
here ~ in our minds,
age 16, July 2010
Illusions of time,
making events,
that leave their mark on us
Those, still here
more wrinkles and grey hair
more babies born
as once you were
I see you in them now,
I cherish the memories 
of caresses
holding my elbow ;) 
once annoying
leaving you
unaged ~ unchanged
timeless experiences
of you, the real you,
the timeless
unchangeable you.
Given to our timeless 
unchangeable love,
Love Eternal
Here we are
the timeless 
in mortality and time
Until we join
once again
in timlessness

(c) Elizabeth M Allen
August 2, 2010

Part One ... I'll post this in three parts ... just to be safe. :)