Being Familiar With The Angels

February 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

This journey through life is a winding path. We can’t see how many turns it will make before it ends. Until two years ago I felt thoroughly grounded on my path. I was living a life that was beyond my dreams. In 2003 I began a career in higher education. My husband retired after years of constant travel. While I was at work, he played golf. We helped each other balance. We were all things to each other. Our life together was more than I had ever imagined was possible.

Then the “T” word entered our vocabulary. Transplant. Someone needed to die for him to live. My husband needed a new heart.

The United Network for Organ Sharing, UNOS, offers transplant statistics in real time. There are currently 105,743 people waiting, 3,071 of them are waiting for a new heart. In 2008, 177 people became too sick to survive the surgery, 378 people died before a donor was found. One of those was my husband.

There are numerous resources of support honoring organ and tissue donors and their recipients. What about the loved ones of those who died, waiting for the gift of life?

I’ve often thought back to when my husband and I began our journey, living in a new condo that had a small fenced in area. I watched him transform that space into a peaceful retreat. Planting a miniature Japanese maple in the corner, he designed a brick patio with flowerbeds of small hybrid rose bushes outlining the fence.

Yesterday a friend said, “I put something in your office, but just know, it’s really not from me.” She told me about about seeing this plant and feeling like she was supposed to get it for me. But what if getting flowers this close to Valentine’s Day upset me? Not being able to put the thought out of her mind, she went back for the plant the next morning. I was touched. How sweet of her to think of me.

The plant from my friend yet as she prefaced, not really from her — a small hybrid rose bush.

Reflecting on the words of St. Francis de Sales…

Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them frequently in spirit; for without being seen, they are present with you.


Organ Donation, A Seriours Matter

August 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

I know organs and politics is a bit outside the scope of The Love Project but please indulge me today.

I just read about an article published in a Swedish newspaper saying that Israeli soldiers were removing organs from dead Palestinians.  I find this article outrageous.  It is based on the account of families whose loved ones died in battle with Israelis and I’m sorry for all the useless deaths.

But it seems that the Israeli army has a policy of conducting autopsies on Palestinians killed in battle.  I don’t really know the reason but it might be that the authorities want to make sure the killings are not executions.  But truthfully I don’t know.  But one thing I do know; autopsies result in scars. 

So this free lance journalist, Donald Bostrom, says in his piece ( that the Palestinians families told him their loved ones bodies came back with stitches (yeah?) and that proves organs are being removed.

I think Donald’s piece is meant to create a scandal to simply promote him.  All of a sudden this journalist that no one has ever heard of is making his name known. 

Anyway, moving past that, I’m going to broach a sensitive subject, that of organ transplant.  My husband got an additional 2 ½ years of life because we were able to get him a liver transplant.  But for that we had to move to Jacksonville Florida and wait till almost death was embracing him.  Many in his situation were not as lucky.

Today, August 19, 2009 there are 103,133 people waiting for an organ donation in the United States alone and unfortunately a high percentage of them will die without the chance for a second chance. 

But how many people die every day?  Do they need their organs?  Couldn’t the deaths offset the need for organs?

Let me tell you what my husband and I did in the 2 ½ years he got from his donor: we got married, we built a wine cellar (we were both passionate about wine), we re-did our garden, he got to see me produce a film I had fought so hard to make and we loved each other fully and completely. 

I wish people would donate the organs of their loved ones when they no longer need them. 

I wished we as a people would be more loving towards others in need.  I am signed up with the California organ donation and I also have it in my will, that every part of me that is still usable when I die should go to someone that could make good use of it.

I don’t think the Israeli army is contrabanding organs, but isn’t it time that we start thinking a little bit more about the people that are in need instead of the ones that are gone?  Let me know what you think.