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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

the question

We interrupt our regularly scheduled cynicism and child exulting to post something a little more serious.

My children asked me on Sunday why they didn't see our friend Barbie at church. I explained to them that Barbie is a social worker at Primary Children's Hospital and that she works with extremely traumatic experiences, sometimes late into the night and early next morning. More specifically, Barbie works with children who need transplants and parents who decide to donate their recently-deceased child's organs.

We talked about organ donation and sick children, the reason we need livers, and all of the body's vital organs we don't think about that work all of the time... so we don't have to think about them.

I asked Johnny and Maggie that--heaven forbid--if they died from an accident, would they want to donate their organs to sick children.

It didn't take a second for both of them to say yes.

I don't tell you my children's answers to pat myself publicly on the back. I think that all children, if given the same question, wouldn't skip a beat. Children know instinctively things that are right. 

As a parent, I never want to have to answer that question; it scares the bananas out of me to think of any of my children dying. But, you know what else scares me? Thinking about my child needing a donated organ and never getting one. Slow, painful death of one of my littles. I think that scares me more.

Here's what it really is all about: If you don't answer the question now (WILL YOU DONATE YOUR CHILD'S ORGANS?), if tragedy and accident ever happens, you won't be able to answer the question. I imagine my heart will be exploding in tiny pieces and attempting to process such a big question will be futile. Barbie tells me that many parents can't consider organ donation during tragedy--the emotions are too heavy and intense to then think about someone cutting open and removing their child's organs.

But if your child could be saved by a donated organ, would you want someone else to have said yes?

Some questions you need to answer once and be done with them. Put them in your heart and let your love and life make them get stronger. When and if you ever need to access those answers, you won't skip a beat. 

Will you donate your child's organs?


8 wise comments:

katyasmommy said...

Yes, but I hope I never have to make that decision!

Anne said...

One of my primary boys passed away last year, he was seven. It was a soul searching time for everyone. I have been grateful for his parents faith and examples. They donated his organs and someone else in our ward was blessed through that donation. It was pretty incredible. I'm grateful for modern medicine even though we all hope we won't need it!

PS I love your regularly scheduled cynicism!

Sue said...

My children are grown and are all donor organs by choice, but I wholeheartedly agree with their decisions. If I ever have to endure such a tragedy, it would help me to know that there was some good coming from it for someone.


lj said...

I don't think it would be that easy for me, since organ donors still have to have working organs. I feel like in that sort of situation, brain dead would seem a lot different to me than dead. Even if my child was only alive because of life support, I would have a hard time letting them pull the plug.

Anna M said...

@ jen: of course. I don't ever want to make it, either. Nobody does.

@ Anne: incredible story. sometimes the cycle of life hits so close to home. thanks for supporting my cynicism, too! ;)

@ Sue: definitely. I think your kids always sound pretty amazing.

@ lj: no doubt it would be extremely difficult, but if your child were sick needing only one organ, you'd want that, too. It's not a pretty nor happy question to answer. All I am suggesting is that it is better to answer it either way before you are forced to. I don't think anyone wants to see their child die. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to keep some children alive is when others die and their parents have donated their organs.

martha corinna said...

Of course.

jen said...

I saw so much of this in the NICU when Heidi was born and watching parents make that decision and watching parents benefit from that decision.

No brainer? Absolutely. Easy? Not in the slightest.

Stef said...

I would like to believe that I would. In this non-emotional moment, I say yes.