by Lori Dwyer on May 14, 2011 · 26 comments

Tony was an organ donor.

We’d spoken about it, many times. “I don’t need ‘em.” That simple.

But- and I’ve blogged a bit about this before- when it came down to it, the decision to it nearly broke me, it was so very difficult. Him dieing, what happened- I had no decision in that. But here, I had a choice. And saying it was OK, to cut up his body,his tattoos for us…

The pain was almost too much. I was almost such a coward.

I’m eternally grateful that Tony’s mum and sister where there, to enforce it, to hold me up, to say yes when the word’s just failed me.

It’s till hard. I know it’s been such a comfort to Tony’s mum, but it aches at me, eats at me, makes me jealous of the people who are walking around, his heart beating blood through their veins. Seeing the world through his eyes.

The organ donation service are lovely. We haves pins, tiny gold roses, a real rose bush, coming soon in the mail (I wonder if their hearts are heavy, at that nursery, every time they receive a card with an order for another Remembrance Rose, of if they rejoice that more lives have been altered, been saved..?), support whenever we need it.

But it’s a flipside for me. while it’s comfort for his mother, his sister too, I think, just reminds me achingly of what I’ve lost.

My mother in law gave me a photocopy of a card she’d received, from a donor family, saying thank you. I couldn’t look at it.

But some nights, now, as the peace slowly begins to drizzle in and fill the cold, gaping cracks in my soul… some nights, when I’m lonely, I stand under the warmth of the shower, and try to hear my heartbeat. And I think that somewhere out there, there are people giving thanks whilst they acknowledge my pain. People who know that what they’ve got left me with this heartbreak.

And that makes me feel better. I worked at a hospital, years ago, and I’ve seen organ donations. I’ve seen a 16 year old girl, with a set of new lungs, who has colour in her cheeks and walks like a girl, not an old woman.

I’m proud of Tony, for that. I think he’d be proud too.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberly May 28, 2011 at 6:18 am

That is the best gift…to breathe life into someone else. He would be proud xoxox


MaidInAustralia May 18, 2011 at 10:19 am

What you're feeling is understandable. But good on you for carrying out Tony's wishes. I am sure he would be proud. xo


Melody May 15, 2011 at 11:57 pm

That, my (new) friend, is awesome. To give life after life, just brilliant.


River May 15, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I saw you in our Advertiser yesterday, Lori. You are looking happier these days.
I remember my mum donating my brother's organs. Everything except hs eyes. She often said she didn't want to be walking down the street one day and see Michael's eyes looking at her from a strangers face.
Tony would be so proud.
I'm donating too, but my whole body, to the medical hospital for study and research. New doctors need to learn somehow.


allison tait May 15, 2011 at 2:52 pm

I've read a few of your posts today Lori. I'm only commenting on this one. What an incredibly difficult thing to have to do. I can understand why you baulked at the final moment for taking that breath and saying yes. Yes, Tony would be proud. And he would understand.


Karina May 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Yep – he would be more than proud, you had the strength in you to follow through with his wishes. Opened our local paper today (The Advertiser) only to see yours (and your gorgeous kiddies) faces… broke my heart once again but you looked amazing and i commend you (again) for having the strength that many would not have to talk so openly and honestly about the horrific tragedy you have all endured. Always thinking of you xx


Le Bec May 14, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Edan beat me to it. He'd be so proud of you Lori.


edenland May 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Oh Lori he'd be proud.

Mostly, I think he's proud of you XOX


Melanie May 14, 2011 at 11:15 am

Wow! I've never had to go through anything like that and I can only imagine your pain. You so eloquently described it and I am in awe at your strength. Keep marching on, because someday, you will see Tony again and hold him close once more. My prayers are with you tonight.


Watercolor May 13, 2011 at 5:11 am

hugs and prayers.


Crystal May 13, 2011 at 2:02 am

Take your time. You don't have to be happy for them right now. Just know that the decision ultimately saved so many lives–not just the recipients but their families and friends as well.

After my daughter, Melia, received her liver transplant (at 8 months old), my friend wrote a message to the donor's family. It said, "You not only saved Melia's life, but my best friend's life too." There are no truer words.

But it's okay that it isn't something you can rejoice in right now. The beautiful thing about organ donation is that it keeps spreading love, compassion, and selflessness. Through our gift we have vowed to always honor our daughter's donor and their family, and to teach her to pass on their goodness into the world. And we have a huge circle of people who have been affected and who've made changes as well. There is also an enormous group of people who holds the donor and his family in their hearts all the time–and the same is true for you. While I'm not a religous person, I do think it is a powerful and important thing.

All the best to you.


Karen May 12, 2011 at 11:06 pm

This may sound odd, but please don't be shocked or offended.
You know they say that organs or cells have 'memory' (not scientifically proven I don't think)…I think where I'm going with this is that all the recipients would become automatic friends in a way (to me if I were in your shoes) and I'd want to meet them and spend some time with them…I'm sorry if that sounds "sick" in any way…but it's how I feel I might react to having lost someone whom I loved so deeply and still wanted to be close to in some way in the physical realm.

This post really touched me and affected me deeply today. I totally get what you mean and am in awe you found the strength to make the choices that were right for you and Tony. xo


Fox in the City May 12, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Something beautiful, loving and hopefuly out of such a horrible tragedy. I cannot imagine how painful it was to consent but I can imagine the immense joy it brought so many other families.


Sophie May 12, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Beautiful post, beautifully said, I can't even begin to imagine. Hold your head high.


Crystal Cheverie May 13, 2011 at 3:38 am

I'm very proud of you for going through with the donation. I can well imagine it's not an easy thing to do even when the choice has been made well beforehand.

Sending you big, squishy hugs and lots of love.


phonakins May 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm

I like to think that I would go through with it if Rish went in a motorbike accident. I talked him into signing up when he got his bike, as reassurance. :


Melissa May 12, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I think it was one last chance for Tony to do something truly wonderful and lasting. And you were brave enough to let him.

And while it is cold comfort now, I do think that one day, knowing how many lives you've changed will be momentous to you and Chop and Bump.


alliecat May 12, 2011 at 4:32 pm

You should be proud, of you and of him. Because even though you had it a tiny bit easier than some in that situation do – in so far as you'd actually had a discussion about it with him and knew his wishes, it was still a damned difficult and heartbreaking thing to do. Right at that moment in that circumstance. I wouldn't have glanced sideways had you said no. But you said yes, and through all that pain others were saved, and that is something to be proud of. Maybe in time it will bring you more comfort, but I can only imagine right now that you wish those organs were back in his living breathing, body, that's only natural.

Also I think it is wonderful that posts like these bring awareness to the organ donation issue too.


head-heart-health.com May 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm

I hadn't thought about organ donation until I read this post. When I found my husband he had been dead probably three days so his organs wouldn't have been any use to anyone.

Why does this make me feel like this was another selfish act? Surely he knew that it would take a few days for me to check up on him when I couldn't get hold of him. Or did organ donation even cross his mind?

This minefield of suicide is littered with whys and what was he thinking …

On a lighter note, now that I've had lasik eye surgery I can't donate my eyeballs. Weird, huh?


starnes family May 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I'm an avid organ donor supporter and truly believe it's the right thing to do, but absolutely agree that everyone has his own choice in the matter.

That being said, my sister and dearest friend, will likely need a new set of lungs and/or a kidney in order to live soon enough. She's 32 and has had a terrible autoimmune disease for the last 10 years and it's hurt us all very much to watch her suffer.

She nearly went on "the list" for a kidney. And, even she – who will one day not be able to live without a donation – was torn with the process. I remember her struggling with the idea that she'd carry around a beeper until she got 'the call'.

My point is that it's tough on both sides. Tony's selfless act (and your final support or acceptance of it) did, indeed, do a world of good for many. I hope that brings your comfort.


Eccentricess May 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm

We lost a family member last week and one of the few things that has me occasionally smiling through the tears is that right till the end, she was always trying to "do good turns", just like when we were teens. To donate her organs was her last good turn. I am glad you can be proud of him in that way.


Miss Pink May 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm

What you did, it was so remarkable.
I don't think people realise how hard it is, how hard it would be to say yes to this, when you're not ready to let someone go. When a death happens so young and unexpectedly.
I have told Mr Black and my family that if i am their next of kin i will donate their organs. ALL of them. A decision i have thought through before hand, accepted now that i would rather give up what they don't need anymore, and be able to give life to someone else and their loved ones.
It's not a nice thing to think of, but just know that parts of Tony, they may have saved a child's life, or a baby, or a person just like him who had a family needing him to pull through and get better. It doesn't bring Tony back, no, but if it were your situation you would be so grateful for someone like you who said yes to donation, who gave your family another chance.
It's just so awful that you didn't get that chance.


Photographer Mum May 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm

That can be a very hard decision for some to make. My neighbour had a lung transplant only 2 days ago. She is only 23 years old, and her first was about 16. This is her 3rd set of lungs, and while there is much rejoicing that it all went well, I am also thinking of the grieving family who consented to the donation too. I pray it brings comfort to them, even in their darkest hours.


Lulu May 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I think the fact it was a tough decision for you to make just shows how much you loved him but the fact you went through with it shows how much you respected his wishes as well.

His organs probably helped many. It probably isn`t much of a comfort now but in the future it might be.


This Mid 30s Life May 12, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Lori, saying yes to that was an amazing thing to do and I hope that with time it gives you some comfort. I say this as someone who will be needing a transplant in later years.

Love to you. x


Good Golly Miss Holly! May 12, 2011 at 9:29 pm


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