By Reg Green —
Natasha Richardson’s heart-wrenching death from a skiing accident should explode at least one myth: that donating the organs of a loved one is in some way disrespectful.
It’s clear that her family made their decision out of love and that, by helping others, her stature has been enhanced not diminished. And that is true of all those other decisions to donate made by anonymous families in lonely hospital rooms around the world.
They allow the doctors to take the body parts of someone they love, not because they don’t care any more but because they feel — and they know their loved one would feel — that helping others in desperate need is the way to pass that love on to the world. Donor families have no idea where those organs will go. Almost certainly they have never met the recipients. It is a gift to humanity without strings.
Organ donation does not take the pain away. Natasha’s husband, Liam Neeson, and their two boys will suffer all the emptiness that a loss like this brings. But they will also be able to feel that, because of her, life for other families has been transformed.
With that much at stake, I often wonder what possible debate there can be about what is the right thing to do. Evidently Natasha’s family felt that too.
Reg Green is the father of Nicholas Green, a seven-year-old California boy who was shot in Italy in a botched robbery in 1994. The decision by Reg and his wife, Maggie, to donate his organs and corneas led to a worldwide increase in awareness of the shortage of donors. Reg, who was born in Britain in 1929, was a feature writer and reporter for the London Daily Telegraph, the London Times and the Guardian. He has written two books on organ and tissue donation, The Nicholas Effect and The Gift that Heals. The Greens have three surviving children. They live in La Canada, Calif. Reg can be reached through his family?s website, http://www.nicholasgreen.org/.Tags: belongings, funerals, money, grief, hope