Christmas 2018 will be a holiday my family will never forget, not because of the great day, not the big gift or even the Christmas night around the tree with our extended family telling tales and laughing. It will be remembered for the tragic loss of Patricia Bates. Pat is my wife’s mom, my children’s grandma (Granny, if you will) and my second mom.
After a terrible drive to Pittsburgh, following Pat’s arrival via Life Flight to UPMC, we found out she was not going to make it back to us. Pat was taken off a ventilator that was keeping her alive and passed, with her family at her side all listening to the Rosary being said by her sister.
After all the tears and the long ride back to Bellaire, we received a call at 1:30 a.m. from a wonderful woman, whose name I wish I could remember. This strange call was at first not welcomed, but soon realized she was warm and compassionate. She expressed her regret that Pat had passed at such a beautiful time of year. She asked about Pat, what she was like, what her passions were and most importantly to Pat and us, her faith in God.
Pat had not indicated to us or anyone her thoughts on being an organ donor. We found out that someone was in need of skin. Pat was a good donor for this person in need in the same hospital that Pat had passed in hours before. My wife began to weep and instantly knew how giving Pat was and her belief in God’s mercy, would make it impossible to say no.
Did I wish we had had this discussion with Pat? YES. Do I know Pat would give her right hand to someone in need? YES. I’m also sure Pat, who was so quiet in public and afraid of embarrassing herself in public, probably wanted to check the box as an organ donor, but was too embarrassed to ask the DMV employee, where the box was, or can you repeat that?
Please have this discussion with your loved one, no matter how difficult of time you have with this topic. As for the lady who called us that night, thank you. The thought that Pat’s final good deed was helping someone else through a terrible tragedy was something she would have done in a heartbeat. If someone passing can help your family, I think we would all be agreed organ donation is an import talk to have.
February 14 was National Donor Day, when we thank organ donors, donor families, and living donors for making the choice to save others, and we remember and honor those heroic gifts.
For more information about organ donation contact C.O.R.E.: https://www.core.org/understanding-donation/