TAKE MY HEART...PLEASE
2 October 2008
I get my daily catharsis watching reruns of "Touched by an Angel." Blatant shlock and I freely admit that it's hokey, manipulative, and all that goes along with that soap opera stuff. Yet there's just something about it. Even the later episodes after Roma Downey shot so much botox into her lips she looked unreal.
The episodes almost always at least bring a lump to my throat about the time Monica gets the halo glow and confesses that "I am an angel" and then goes on to deliver the propaganda about God and religion to the unsuspecting subject of the day's story.
(I've always wondered how it is that so many people hire Monica for jobs without ever requiring a last name, let alone a background check. But I guess that's part of the miracle. She's like The Shadow, clouding men's minds so they don't realize that she just appeaared out of nowhere and has no resume in her back pocket.)
But there are some episodes that hit closer to home. I very nearly forgot to watch it today. I was in the middle of clearing out some of the things on my DVR and was watching an Eddie Izzard special when I realized that "Touched by an Angel" was half over, so I turned off Eddie and turned on my daily fix.
I missed the whole set up of the story--but, really, do you ever need it? Hero has crisis, rejects God, angels show up, show them the error of their ways, turn on the heavenly halo and everybody lives happily ever after, with God in their hearts.
In this episode a teenager had apparently been killed and I joined the story when a young boy, who may or may not have been her younger brother, is confessing his Deep Dark Secret, which is that he was the one who told the murderer where to find Kimmie, the victim. He has apparently been living with this guilt ever since her death (I don't know how long ago she died).
Mom freaks out and disappears into another time and place, going to the playground looking for her littie girl who has run off. Enter the Angel to remind her that her daughter is not a little girl who has disappeared, but a young woman who was murdered. Mom yells at God, asks how angel could have allowed this to happen. Angel comforts by saying he was with Kimmie when she was killed and that he was the one to take her to God and that she is now with God forever.
But...and this is the point of this entry...he then takes her to a restaurant where there is a gathering of people. He gives Dad a speech which Kimmie was to have delivered at her graduation, things about how she wanted to make a difference in the world.
Then (I can't even write this without crying), a woman stands up and talks about how she has been on dialysis for years and that she thought she was going to have to be on dialysis for the rest of her life, how she never realized there could be a kidney for her. She talks about how she now has Kimmie's kidneys and what a difference it has made in her life.
One by one, others stand up to tell their stories -- the mother who was blind, but has been able to see her newborn baby because she was given Kimmie's cornea.
Finally the young boy whose life expectancy was very short until he received Kimmie's heart and now his prognosis is for "a long life." He apologizes for having the daughter's heart. Mom tells him not to apologize and tells him it was a good heart, a strong heart.
I sobbed like a baby, thinking of David's organs and wondering if the people who received them are still alive. We were promised updates on the recipients, but we never got them. We received a note from one of them, but nothing else. Not that it matters, but it would be nice to know if David's heart is still beating somewhere.
It was a good heart, a strong heart.
The thing I regret so much about Paul's death is that because of the circumstances, it became a coroner's case and we could not donate his organs. They said they could use bone fragments, but that was about it.
I remember when my sister died. Those were the days before organ transplants became common and I believe the only organs that could be salvaged in 1972 were corneas. They asked my parents if they wanted to donate her organs and my father hit the roof. Nobody was going to "cut up his daughter."
It was something my mother and I always felt bad about it.
It has been great comfort to us, over the past 12 years, knowing that there is a part of David which still lives, that his death, however tragic it was, made a difference in the lives of so many other people.
Messages I have received from friends and strangers since David's death have opened my eyes to the kind of difference he made in the lives of people while was alive...and I know that donating his organs would have been very much in keeping with the way he lived his life.
For anyone who is ever in the tragic position of having to say goodbye to a loved one and make that decision about whether to donate organs or not, don't ever think twice. Do it. It will bring you so much comfort as you continue to deal with the grief surrounding the death of someone you loved so much.
Start 'em right -- the young 49er fan
MILES TO NOWHERE: 75 miles