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.   

1 comment:

  1. Dearest Elizabeth, this is a heartwrenching reflection about organ donation and a most sensitive, beautiful poem in honor of your beloved Angel son Jesse.
    It must have been an overwhelming emotion and yet I am sure, dear Jesse did agree with your decision. On soul level his sight is perfect forever.
    Thank you for sharing this extremely poignant write.
    Love and hugs.