It was a cause my late father espoused with all his heart and soul. Having retired from full time employment, it was not very clear to me when it was that he joined the bandwagon. I remember of the time he had called for a gathering of the society residents to share details- along with some experts who had been invited for the purpose. Caught up as I was in my own world, it saddened me to see the response for a cause so important. Our last minute attempts at having people join in did muster a few reluctant participants and I along with friends added all my energy and enthusiasm to the event.
Having lost him 5 years ago, my sister and I decided to pay a tribute to him by espousing the same cause. Perhaps it was the poignancy of 2 daughters clutching to the memory of a loving father lost, people – well most of them- were nice enough to accept our solicitations. Perhaps it was the fact that there was a little child- my daughter- who also joined us at the age of six years to do her bit for a dear friend- her grandfather’s- memory. We made breast pins for people to adorn, indicating their support for the cause. There was no other expectation.
Of course, I created flyers that would provide details for whoever was interested in knowing more. But the truth was that most people would either gloss over the topic or were not keen to even pay heed to understand why it was so essential. Perhaps it was the morbidity of the thought associated with it which had them react the way they did- avoiding it altogether in many cases.
I continued my quest, sharing with my professional and personal circles about the importance of it or rather the necessity of it- engaging in forums, working with NGOs, driving through my own personal influence. Data for supporting the cause is available aplenty as is the facility to participate if you ever wanted to. While most educated people understand the need for it, very few would still be willing to support
In fact, even before two years since the time I dawned upon the bandwagon for the cause, I landed at the cross roads, desperate for someone to support. While I had selflessly espoused it so far, here I was hoping my karma would enable some solutions coming my way.
I was desperate to find an organ donor for my sister who suffered from an emergency liver failure. She was 45. One thing after another, and what started as a jaundice ended up with a 48-hour notice from the doctors on how far they thought she could go before spiralling out of control of known medical sciences. My karma did come handy- my sister found a donor.
We learnt the bitter truth- there were folks on waitlists for years together. There weren’t enough donations happening, worse still- several wouldn’t survive the wait. Unless one faced a situation with a close friend or relative, the topic was and continues to be anathema for all.
Yes, organ donation isn’t an easy discussion.
Perhaps, more so in our society. Maybe because of our belief in the after-life. Or the importance of the soul to be at rest with it’s complete form- much as we know from all the known science- it’s not related. It’s what we perceive to be important in the aftermath of death. The data shows differently for several other countries. It’s enabled by legislation in some cases and beliefs in other.
Several people find the conversation difficult. It’s like when a lady in her early-sixties reacted rudely to my attempts at convincing her to register. I was taken aback by her reaction. She said she lived alone and would not want to think of her end of life. It was a scary thought for her.
Scared we all are of the end of what we have known and the beginning of the unknown. Because none of us have been there and returned to what we have known. But why should that deter us from thinking of the inevitable. In fact, I have found that the more you have accepted that, the more you appreciate what you have- each day, each sunrise, each laughter of a loved one. Gratitude becomes immense once we know there is a finite availability of what’s known to us- our lives. So why not live it.
And why not, in living them, make them available when we are no longer available.
We donated my father’s eyes when he passed away- it was what we considered the ultimate tribute for someone who believed so strongly in giving. We know they would live in someone who needed them, someone who forever would express gratitude to a soul who espoused the cause so selflessly.
The satisfaction of giving away what we consider ours is experienced by many. Material possessions, our time, energy, we have experienced it all. But a part of us considered essential to our whole being has never been something we imagine, except when we don’t need it any more. But perhaps when we don’t need it, is the best time to give up on it. To make it known to all who matter, that I am keen to let it be given away is key. Once we are no longer around, it’s those who are left who need to know of our conviction to the cause so as to pay that last tribute.
Emotions apart, it takes a practical mind to have the conversation with one who has lost a loved one. How would one feel if I talked about donating while they are grieving. Well, it takes as much courage to broach the subject as it does to agree to make it happen. The human spirit in indomitable- we have to have the conviction for it and it will make it happen.
For those who have understood the infinite possibilities, death is not an end but the beginning of the journey into the unknown- an adventure that has brought the human species to where it is today- else there wouldn’t have been much that would have changed from the times that anthropology has understood.
Let’s free the spirit of fears and attachments- because giving is among the most satisfying of all human engagements- let’s give the ultimate gift to someone who needs it… especially because you will no longer feel its loss!