Monday, December 01, 2008

Your Beating Heart

A friend of mine recently had a large riff within her family regarding the handling of her father's body after his death. The family, without her knowledge, decided to donate his entire body to science. She, finding this out when she arrived at his memorial service and didn't see a body, blew a gasket.

Because the family decided to donate the body, the cremation was to be free. And because the donation was free, the body went into the system without any way to immediately identify it. Her dad was lost. She called all over town, every hospital, local funeral homes and a cremation facility as far as 120 miles away. She was frantic.

She finally located the body, pissing off her family in the process and had her father moved to a facility where he would remain until his body was cremated as he wanted. She didn't really have a problem with the organ donation part, but being the closest one in the family to her father, she knew what he wanted and it wasn't to be donated to science.

When my father died and I found out that he wanted to be cremated, I had no problem with it, even though I had no idea prior to his death that it's what he wanted. Only when I saw his scribbling of "cremate me and then sauté me with a little garlic and olive oil" written in his hand on the envelope that contained his will, did I know it was his own wish. Perhaps an odd way to joke about one's remains, but nonetheless, his wishes.

I already know I want to donate my body to science and I've indicated this wish in the appropriate place on my driver's license. I believe I've mentioned it to my family several times also but if that's not enough, I guess they can read it here. I want to be able to give someone life, sight, extra time in this world, whatever. If they want to examine the caramel latte in my belly or pull my fingernails out one by one to help come up with a cure for something, I'm all for it.

I have an aunt who only wants to be an organ donors if she can have a say as to where her organs go; not wanting to give a second life to a petty criminal or worse, a pedophile. I don't really think that's our choice to make. I think it's selfish to not donate at all based on the fact that you won't be able to give your organs to who you want. You're dead. Don't you think it's time to stop being a control freak?

What do you think?


chez bez said...

I totally agree with you. If there's ever a time to let go, I believe death is it.

Dreamybee said...

My brother-in-law received a second lease on life several years ago thanks to an organ donor, so I am absolutely in support of organ donation.

Yes, it would be nice to have a say in who you are going to save, but if you don't want to save anybody because you MIGHT save somebody unsavory, how is that fair to all the other people who won't be helped as a result?

Gil said...

I totally agree with you as I am old enough to know better to argue with a woman especially an Italian one with roots close to Arthur Ave! On the other hand I've heard that due to the poor economy there has been an increase in the number of bodies donated to science and to medical schools.

Don Olney said...

100% for all forms of body donation... recycling at it's best! Just remember that organ donation is different from donation to scientific research or medical schools.

Now that I have cancer, I'm sure my leftovers are somewhat diminished in value, but I'd still like to help where I can!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree. Besides, maybe a second shot at life would change that "unsavory" person into a better person. You never know!