When I first learned that my three-year-old son, Mikhail, was officially brain dead, I remember the nurse that had been attending us for the last fifteen hours approaching me regarding possible organ donations. She then left me, wanting to give me some time to think about such an endeavor.
I remember all of my son's generosity during his short life. I remember him going through his toys with me to find some to give away. He donated his outgrown bed to a little girl who had never had a bed to sleep in. Just days before his death, he had stood in the park with our church members on Thanksgiving, helping to serve the homeless.
I recalled all these things as I stood in that quiet room where Mikhail lay, with no sound but the quiet swoosh of his respirator. I mulled over their request for his organs. I fancied that I could hear him whispering, "Yes Mom, take my heart take all those things that they need. For I don't need them anymore. These thoughts are what inspired my poem, which was later to be published "Take My Heart0;.
It is difficult to just simply put words down out of context, without giving you a little of the story. What takes some people a lifetime to learn, my son had learned in three short years. The gift of giving is eternal and transcends all barriers of life or death.
It did not take me long to say the words out loud to this sweet nurse who stood quietly by. Yes! We would be willing to give what ever was needed. This is what my son would have wanted.
In that wintry December, while others were out shopping for material gifts for their loved ones, Mikhail was giving the gift of gifts. He gave his liver to a young baby and his kidneys to a teenager; so that they might be given a second chance at life.
People often ask me how I feel about my son's organs being in someone else. My answer has always been the same. Knowing that at least two lives were saved because of my son's generosity gave his life and death full meaning. The devastation of losing my son at such a tender age was softened by the knowledge that someone else's child would be given a new life.
While we know medically that the DNA of the organ donor and recipient will never be one, it is my feeling that spiritually speaking, the generosity of the donor and the special ness of the recipient will meld and become one. This special bond will pass from one generation to another and so much good will come from this meld.
People are concerned with the environment, and respond by recycling this and that. In my opinion, organ donation is recycling of the highest order.
Dr. Stephanie K McCurdy/Pearson, D.C.