the gift of sight

Friday, August 21, 2009

it was merely hours after cooper died, when i received the phone call from the rochester eye and tissue bank. as soon as the woman identified where she was from my heart sank and i knew why she was calling. she wanted to know if we would consider donating coopers eyes. i told her that i had to consult with my husband and could she give us a few hours. she agreed.

when i hung up the phone i was flooded with emotion. the emotional side of me, the grieving mother side wanted to scream at her that i had just lost my 3 week old son and how dare she call and ask for a part of him. i felt like the vultures were circling, just waiting to pick my precious cooper apart and it was my job to protect him. then there was the logical side, the side that grew up in a medical family and understood the time sensitive nature of harvesting organs. on some level i recognized that she was simply doing her job, a very difficult job. and finally, by agreeing to donate coopers eyes, his death became permanent and final. now, i knew this, but i was still trying to process the events of the morning. i wasn't ready to let cooper go, and giving his eyes to another child seemed at the time like i was letting him go too easily.

it took me several minutes to reign in my emotions enough to articulate the nature of the phone call. once i told my precious husband who was on the other end of the phone, what i thought would be a difficult choice was easy. we both knew that giving the gift of sight to potentially two other children was the right thing to do, there was no other choice. we had the ability to drastically change the lives of two other small children, and even though we were heartbroken over coopers death, we knew we had to help those who needed it. and cooper is able to live on and see the world which brings me some peace.

we found out that coopers corneas were given to a child in guatemala and a child in syria. most likely these children would not have been able to see if it weren't for cooper's death. newborn corneas are difficult to come by, so i believe with all my heart that these two children will have a much richer life because of cooper.

i have wondered about these two small lives and how they are doing, but for the most part coopers gift of sight has been filed away in my brain until today. i received a letter, or rather an invitation from the rochester eye and tissue bank in the mail inviting us to a program honoring all donors and their families. and suddenly i was reliving december 18th all over again.

i don't think that we will attend the dinner, it would just be too difficult and emotional. but there was information about donor family quilts, created to honor loved ones that travel around the country. maybe i will make a square for cooper, yet one more way for him to see the world and for his mama to honor her sweet boy.


  1. sometimes we learn something so we can make a difference in other lives...your square would no doubt be beautiful, as you are so creative...It would add beauty and love to the quilt...XOXO Mom

  2. That was so generous of you to do in the thick of your grief. I am sure you will make a beautiful square.