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Last year I blogged about my neck surgeryspecifically that I chose to use cadaver bones in my neck rather than have the surgeon chisel away on my hip bone. When I tell people this I frequently get the reactionSo you have some dead people’s parts in your body?” to which I replay “Yup.” Truth be told when the surgeon told me the hip chunk surgery was more painful than the neck was going to be – no brainer, right?

noble-suicide-organ-donation-death-1While I was in the hospital the nurse brought over a form from a company called Pathways.This is the middle man between donor and recipient. They invited me to write an anonymous letter to the family of the deceased. Wasn’t sure if I wanted to do that but Mark talked me into and I am so glad he did.

A couple of weeks ago Pathways contacted me to let me know that the donor family responded to my letter, and asked if I wanted to see it. You betcha. 

Last night I received the letter in the mail. I had Mark read it first in case it was disturbing in any way. He handed me the letter and a kleenex. Here goes:


I received your letter and I would like to convey to you how important it was to receive. You see my husband had not been ill, so his death was extremely unexpected, and quite traumatic for all of us.

My husband was a retired OBGYN doctor, and I am a registered nurse. My husband had the first test tube baby in our state in the ’80’s and loved the challenges of infertility. He spent his life helping others; even in his retirement he was a teacher and mentor to many. He lived to help folks. So even though his death was tough I knew in my heart we needed to help others, and as a nurse I know how difficult it is to donate. I know now we made the right decision, you see we have 2 teenage boys, one graduated the week before my husband’s death and our youngest graduated this past week on the anniversary of his death. You letter was a godsend. I shared it wiht my youngest, who is the spitting image of his Dad and has his heart. It was so comforting to him, he said to me, “Mom, it’s awesome, Dad is still helping people.” Needless to say I cried. 

My middle child was not happy I chose donation buy your letter sold him. It was the right thing to do. My daughter has been saying “I wish someone would write!” Her prayer has been answered. 

I am so happy you received relief from pain, and can enjoy life. It is shorter than we know, but great rewards do come to many of us.

Bless you and your family, and thank you so much for letting my family know our decision was a good one. I wish you the best in your future.

Denise M. (her name is DENISE!)

And so I leave you with this quote – which I have stuck to my fridge but often don’t live by it. But because of this letter I will try, for my donor and his family, to live it each and every day.

“The most radical act one can commit is to be happy.” – Patch Adams

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September 2013