"It Can't Take Away What You've Lost ....


Jim and me .... at the huge surprise party he managed to truly pull off, for my 40th.

... but it is something."

The above title and sentence was a line from last night's episode of "E.R.".*

It stopped me ...... I literally stopped and stared at the screen.  And no, it wasn't because it was George Clooney who said it.

He was playing his doctor-self, Dr. Ross.  

He was sitting in a private waiting room ...... you know, one of THOSE rooms ...... a room which you really know you don't want to walk into.  Like the one into which I was half-carried, half dragged.

He was sitting with a grandmother, whose teenage grandson was on life-support.  He was brain-dead.  Very, not-ever-coming-back, brain-dead.  And she didn't want to let go.  She didn't want to give up hope, even though hope had walked out the door a long time ago.  She didn't want to talk about donating his organs.

They talked for a bit and then he asked, "What was Billy like?" And she talked a little about him. You could see the light growing in her eyes as she continued to describe her precious grandchild.  He's smart, funny, handsome, loves to play music, has a lot of friends, has a wonderful heart, etc. 

Dr. Ross said, "He sounds like a great kid." and she replied..... "Yes".

Then, he very quietly asked ........ "Generous?"

And she struggled with the pain of that answer.  She couldn't look up for a minute, couldn't say what she knew was the truth.  Then she looked up and the pain was over flowing ....... and she finally whispered, "Yes" ....... and then asked what organs could be used.

They continued talking for a bit and then he said, "It can't take away what you've lost, but it is something .....".

And I heard myself repeating that sentence .... aloud.  Son #1 looked up at me ..... probably thinking I'd had one too many glasses of wine. 

I looked at him and said, "It IS something.....".

And then the memory of my moment in dealing with that came back to me.....

It was the day he died ..... had to be, of course.  The same day I had to go to the funeral home to make "arrangements" ...... the day he died.
 So completely inhumane ..... (our practice of "making arrangements").

I don't know what time of day it was, I just remember someone walking into my bedroom, where I was lying on the bed, and hearing that someone from the hospital needed to talk to me on the phone.  
I don't remember who told me ..... there were many people in my home that first week ..... many.  I can't remember all of the faces, but I remember that they were there.

And so I walked into the kitchen, sat down on a chair and picked up the phone.  
I laid my head down on the desk and I kept my eyes closed.

And began a conversation with a woman whose job I would hate to have.

Of course since Jim died while in surgery there weren't any major organs that could now be donated.  But you would be surprised at how very much of the body can.

And so she painfully went down the very long list .... one item at a time, while I, too, whispered .... "Yes", to every item she brought up.

Because ........ although it couldn't take away what I had lost ......  it WAS something.


Originally posted this on my blog in March of 2009. After watching today's "Oprah" I was reminded of it .... again.

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