this month's collab for If...:
If someone close to you was in failing health and only by offering one of your vital organs could they be possibly saved, would you do it? Would you risk your life on the chance that another might survive?
An Eye for an Eye
whoofdy. hrm. well, let me start with this: when i renewed my driver's license, i made sure i signed an organ donor form. if there's enough of me left after an accident to be of use to others, then do it. it's not as if my family has the whole open casket thing going, and even if they did, it wouldn't matter. i would like to think that my death would be a chance to give a gift to someone else.
but. but that's not really the question, is it? the question is more about conscious choice and sacrifice. and being an organ donor, at least thru signing a form, isn't so much about sacrifice. at that point, it's up to others.
okay. so. if i were in a situation where someone close to me was in failing health (which i read as dying), what would i do?
ooohhhhhh. oh boy. in a perfect world, i'd like to say i'd do whatever i could on behalf of those that i love. and in a perfect world, we'd all have shiny white teeth and no stress. but this isn't a perfect world, is it? and we all have different motivations for what we do. sometimes it's love and affection and selflessness. and other times (more often than not, i'd say, at least in my case), it's fear, or inertia, or selfishness. on the one hand, looking out for yourself first isn't bad. after all, you are your own primary caretaker of emotional and physical health, at least for as long as you can coherently make those choices. but when does that shift from being practical to being selfish?
from a purely emotional perspective: i have lost people i love, and there are those i love living with chronic, debilitating conditions which, while it may not ultimately end things, will permanently restrict what they can do. if i could change any of that for them, i would, in a heartbeat. if i could do something that would bring my friends or relatives back, i would. i want, every day, to ease the pain that some of the people in my life live with. if strength of love alone were enough to alter the course of life, the ones i love would be whole, healthy and happy every day.
when it comes right down to making a sacrifice, though, i hesitate. hrm. well, not in every case. i would donate bone marrow, blood, a kidney without thinking. yes, it would be painful and put some limitations on me, but honestly, those are spare parts to some extent. of course, given the extent to which i've abused my body, i might not be the ideal donor. but set that aside for now. say i was a match. say i did pass the screening. yes. yes, yes, yes. certainly. yes.
after that, we get into the more theoretical. if someone i cared about was, say, going blind, would i give them an eye? what if they needed a hand or a lung? could i do that? that's a little dicier. and the step beyond that - would i give whatever it took for someone else to live? what if they needed a heart? i honestly can't say.
i think what it comes down to is the actual situation. it's all fine and well to debate this in an abstract way. it's different when you're looking at the face of the person who is dying.
you know what? i take it back. i take it all back. yes. yes, i would do anything and everything i could, even down to trading places.
one of the hardest things i ever did was go visit my grandfather in the hospital, as he was dying. and my grandmother has missed him each and every day since then. we all miss him. if i could have laid down in that bed, taken on his pain, let him get up and walk out of there, i would have. if i could give him another season of gardening, walking around checking on the rose bushes, i would. if he could have been there to see my sibs graduate and get married, it would be worth every second. and i do believe in an afterlife, so i know that he's seen all of this. but it's not the same as being here. i would gladly, happily, without hesitation have seen all of that happen from a remove to give him the chance to be here. and it would be worth it, not just for him, but for the rest of my family. yes. yes, i would. and if it comes to that for anyone i love, yes. a thousand times yes.