Bonnie Newman

I woke up this morning and I was thinking about Bonnie's life and how it was filled with love and joy and compassion. It's a tremendous honor for all of us to ... pay tribute to her and to acknowledge the gift she gave to others through her death. It's actually a perfect reflection of who she was and a perfect expression of the type of person she was, always wanting to care for others.

On behalf of Bonnie's family and friends, I want to say "thank you" to OneLegacy. I can't express the gratitude that we feel for your compassion and sensitivity to us in the hospital during this tragic event and how we had to come together and make decisions about things we don't want to think about... It was really hard to make that decision, but we knew that's what Bonnie wanted. The beauty of your communication and your care for us was to hold our hands through the process and tell us, "You're going to be with her every step of the way," and that you're going to make sure she's treated with the honor and dignity and respect that was reflected in her life.<

Bonnie's life has touched so many people and now she's able to give life to others. I found out this morning where her organs went to three other people. We also did tissue donation for corneas. She has such beautiful sparkling eyes, it's wonderful to think that she'll be giving sight to someone else that can look through the beauty of her eyes and how she saw life. It's good to know her spirit and energy and love for life gets to live on in other people and bring happiness to their families. I know that now she's left the natural life, she's dancing and laughing and singing in her heavenly body and is free from the pain of life.

I want to share an experience we had at the hospital. Bonnie was pronounced technically brain dead on October 15th, and the hospital staff kept her on life support so this donor program could work at its highest level. I was the one that had the privilege of holding Bonnie's hand as we rolled her hospital bed to the emergency room to say goodbye to her. I couldn't leave the hospital without standing in the parking lot waiting for the helicopter to take off and take Bonnie's gift of life to someone else.

We gathered in the parking lot, there must have been 15 or 20 of us, and Tracy from OneLegacy, who had been in the operating and keeping us posted on everything, came out and stood with us. As the helicopter blades started to revolve on top of the hospital building, we could see the red lights reflecting in the blades. It made sort of a red neon star, kind of an angelic thing. The blades started rotating faster and faster and finally lifted off the hospital roof and flew off to the west for UCLA to give life to somebody else. We stood there and shouted out and waved goodbye to Bonnie: "We love you! We miss you!" What a beautiful tribute to be able to say goodbye to her.

In life, Bonnie didn't give birth to her own child, but in her death she gave life to others. There's nothing greater that we can do, to allow our lives to live on in the hearts of others and in the bodies of others.

I know that this has changed my personal thoughts about being an organ donor. I have no fear of it now. I'm going to fill out my form and make sure my family knows so that they don't have to make these difficult decisions without knowing my wishes.Bonnie contributed so much to us in her life, and she's going to continue teaching us lessons in how we honor her spirit and her memory.

Lt. Bondell Golden
Bonnie's life partner