Don’t just wish: write it down

This past week our family experienced first-hand what I consider to be a miracle of modern science, or medical research. In a short three-hour period my darling had his cornea replaced. In a few months his sight will be fabulous once again.

  • Feb. 19, 2011 2:00 p.m.

This past week our family experienced first-hand what I consider to be a miracle of modern science, or medical research. In a short three-hour period my darling had his cornea replaced. In a few months his sight will be fabulous once again.

This is a tremendous gift from a donor and their family, to allow the organs of a dead person to be used to help another person enjoy sight, extend their life, perhaps a new heart and on and on.

This modern medical procedure, the cornea transplant has come full circle for us.

When Gord died in 1993 we were able to donate his eyes for a transplant. Several months after his death we received a letter from the eye bank telling us that two people now had improved sight because of Gord’s gift. This was very comforting to us. Gordie had beautiful blue eyes and it warmed my heart to know that someone else was going to enjoy those great eyes. It was another way that he lived on, as well of course through those great lads of ours. There are so many ways that you can see someone in their children, facial or body features, mannerisms, habits, amazing and strange all at the same time.

We had both completed our organ donor cards but had failed to complete a will. We certainly had discussed insurance, the business partnership insurance, who would take care of the boys if we both died but we didn’t write it down and having no will created all kinds of problems. Who would have thought he would die at 39? Many of us in our 50s or 60s are not prepared. Gord would never have anticipated the problems we encountered and I know he would have been shocked and disappointed with the outcome of the behavior of certain people. We experienced, as many other families, ugly greed. You never know when money and assets are involved what will happen. People you expect to continue to be your support may be the worst, people you expect to be the worst may be the best.

Write your wishes and directions down, see a notary or a lawyer and have it as a record so your family can grieve as they need to and not spend countless hours fighting, or in discussions with lawyers when they should be just breathing, and learning to live as a family in a new way, which is extremely tough. They need time to heal and love, not fight.

Science was never my calling or my strength in school and yet I am very impressed with how others can study, research and produce such important work. The boys loved science experiments at home and we tried some great activities courtesy of some fun booklets and visits to our local Okanagan Science Centre (OSC).

If you buy a membership to the OSC, it allows you admission to several other science centres like Vancouver’s Science World and others. They give you a list when you sign up.

The OSC is a great local resource for kids of all ages to enjoy. They are bringing in some very impressive displays, speakers and programs to help us to see that science is everywhere.

Life is precious. Consider your family, think of your legacy, sign up for donor donation and make a will. As to whether you want a service or not, or a funeral, that is very personal. To me, the service is for the survivors to help them celebrate the life of their loved one, to understand and know them more, as people share stories, and most important to aid them in their journey of grief.

I’d like a service when I die, and for the last song of the day to be Parachute’s Club, Rise up, Rise up. So people leave with a smile and a song in their heart.