The Importance of Talking to Your Spouse About Your OrgansKrishann Briscoe
This weekend I read a story via Mirror News that moved me. It moved me to think and also to tears. It was a story about a man named Steve who was left to raise four children. Not by choice but because life simply isn’t fair. It is a lesson that continues to be reiterated with each heartbreaking story we see on the news or read about in a newspaper or online article. It is reiterated when we turn the pages of photo albums reflecting on the life of a loved one who is no longer with us. Steve’s wife died from a “massive brain hemorrhage just minutes after giving birth” to her baby girl. It was her first little girl too as she had previously given birth to three sons. Sadly she never got to hear the words, “It’s a girl.” What helped her husband through was his ability to focus on the fact that her death resulted in continued life for others. Upon her passing he made the decision to have her organs donated.
“I agreed to Denise’s organs being donated and although I was utterly devastated at losing my wife it is one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made,” he said.
As I pondered on his words I thought of the little red dot on my driver’s license, the one that identifies me as an organ donor. I also thought of a recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy where a young man had made the decision to stop being kept alive by a machine. He was going to donate his organs. I cried like a baby as I watched Dr. April Kepner share with him and his family about the future recipients of his organs, his mother asking her to keep reading somehow found comfort in their stories. It was one of the television moments where I knew it wasn’t real but it sure felt real. For me, the decision was easy, if I was in an accident and could not be saved why wouldn’t I want to donate my organs so that perhaps another life could be saved?
But I hadn’t really thought about the role my husband played in this. Sure we’ve talked about our wishes if one were to die, our most recent discussion being before I gave birth. Having had complications following the birth of my first child I was terrified of the possibility of something going wrong. But we never really discussed organs. You see, when I had fallen for him I had given him my heart, something that was further solidified when we said our wedding vows. My heart was no longer just mine. It was also his. He had shown me that he would cherish it and handle it with care.
Whether I am alive or not, in a way he still has my heart. As I thought about Steve, I imagined what it must have been like to “give away” the organs of the person you love more than anything. God forbid, if something were to happen to me, I would want my husband to do the same. I would want him to give someone else a chance and my prayer is that somehow he could find solace in the fact that something beautiful still came out of my death.
I don’t write this in an effort to be dark, or sad but as a reminder of the importance of having those hard talks, the talks that discuss the things that happen when life decides to be unfair. I say this as a 29 year old who still has so much to learn about life despite motherhood forcing me to grow up perhaps sooner than I was ready. I say this as a wife who would want her husband to know that the decision he made was the right one. From the moment we got married he has tried to make the best decisions possible when it has come to my heart. What to do with it in the event that I can no longer be with him would be no different.
Weeks after his wife’s funeral Steve received a letter in the mail. His wife’s organs had been donated to five people. A year later he received a letter letting him know that the people her organs were donated to were doing well. According to him it helped to know “these people were now living good lives with their loved ones.”
Through his story he is helping others to know the importance of talking to loved ones about being an organ donor. It is a conversation that I know my husband and I need to have too. While my prayer is that we will never be forced to make such a decision given the fact that we gave each other our heart, it is important that we know what to do with it — and the rest of our organs should the unthinkable happen. For more on this story visit Mirror news.
Would you want your spouse to make this sort of decision on their own or do you think organ donation is an important subject to discuss?
Photo Source: iStockphoto