On September 11, 2020, the unfathomable happened. Dave, my 43-year old husband of only six years, suffered a massive brain hemorrhage and within a few hours was declared brain dead, leaving both myself as well as our 20-year old son Ethan behind. At the hospital, the doctors and nurses visited the room to discuss options with us. Though we had had passing conversations in the past about organ donation, we did not have Dave’s driver’s license with us, so we could not confirm his official wishes. Ethan and I immediately decided on organ donation. It was such an easy decision to make – Dave was the most kind, giving, and caring human that you could ever hope to meet. It only made sense that we allow him to live on through others. We did run across his wallet a few days after his passing and found that he did indeed officially register to be an organ donor, confirming that we made the right decision after all.
We were allowed to stay at his bedside in the ICU while the KODA nurses worked tirelessly to locate recipients. I must have asked a million questions to them during this time, but never once did they make me feel sorry for doing so. They had so much compassion and love for our family. Once the time finally came to say goodbye, we were also introduced to Trish, who presented us with a medal in honor of Dave, and stood by our sides as Dave took his Honor Walk through the hospital to the OR. The Honor Walk was without a doubt the hardest moment of my life, but an amazing thing to experience. The love and warmth that we felt during those final moments were simply overwhelming.
We have since learned that he has already impacted three lives – two kidney recipients, and one cornea recipient. When we received the letter from the KODA Aftercare Team, all we could do was shed tears of happiness. What started as a great tragedy for our family, allowed others to live their best lives, and see another tomorrow. We have never once regretted our decision to donate Dave’s organs. It gives us solace through our personal loss, knowing that he has the potential to impact so many lives, and already has.