Friday, May 9, 2008

Life ... Pass it On

It starts with a phone call.

The one moment in life that every parent dreads. A nightmare every parent prays will never happen.

A mad rush to the hospital. An anxious eternity. You finally arrive and burst through the doors. A doctor comes out, maybe two. Their faces tell you what you don't want to know.

It's over. Your child has passed. Gone.

Grief forever sears the moment in your memory. Overwhelming sadness drags your heart into, and then below, a bottomless pit. A primordial scream forms.

But the medical people are speaking to you. Your son, your baby, your beloved gift from God, is gone; but these people continue talking. Can't they stop? They force you to listen.

They tell you your son was an organ donor. Timing is critical. Organ donor? You didn't know.

That's how Vickie Jackson, a Cincom employee, found out. Her son Brandon Jackson, recently returned from the Iraq war, in his quiet dignity, had registered to be an organ donor. The medical people asked for her permission to begin the organ donation process.

The primordial scream turns into a “No! No! No!” Not my baby.

Her mind went back in time.

Where had this precious life gone?

So fleeting.

Where had the little boy in the blue suit gone?

So unpredictable.

So quickly gone.

"There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief."
- Aeschylus

Brandon had grown into a loving, fun, strong, handsome young man.



He served his country in Iraq.

He often did good deeds, but never mentioned them to his mom.

Later, people would tell her stories about how Brandon many times had gone out of his way to help them.

"He would just do something kind, and it was between him, the other person and God," remembered his mom, Vickie.

"It is not length of life, but depth of life."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson





The medical people were still there. Still talking. Asking for her permission to start the organ donation process.

Time was critical.

Brandon kept secrets. Like all children. Like all children that grow into adults.

"If you want to confide in someone who will never tell your business, tell it to Brandon," his grandmother used to say.

This secret, revealed at this time, in this way, was almost too much for any person to take.

Yet it demanded immediate action on her part.

But it was her baby they were asking about.

And ... he had never told her he was an organ donor.

" In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life.
It goes on."
- Robert Frost


So fleeting.

So precious.

So quickly gone.

Little things, seemingly minor at the time, so meaningful now.

Handwritten special notes of love.

Even if they were on a paper plate.

The flowers.

The flowers—just to let you know he loved you.

The thanks.

"The first step in the acquisition of wisdom is silence, the second listening, the third memory, the fourth practice, the fifth teaching others. - Solomon Ibn Gabriol

The thought and the timing of the organ donation process were horrific.

In one of those brief interludes of silence, when lucidity temporarily overwhelms tragedy and pushes back personal grief, Vickie Jackson made the decision.

She listened to her memories. Brandon had wanted it; she would follow his wishes. She would honor his memory. She would respect his choice. And in doing so - she passed life on.

"In my heart and mind, Brandon is a noble testimony of giving—still living, breathing and enjoying life somewhere. Can you imagine being in four or five places at the same time enjoying life? That's how I imagine Brandon. I may not be able to touch him right now, or hear his voice, but I know he is all over the country within some blessed recipient." - Vickie Jackson, Mother of Brandon Jackson, organ donor.

Life. Pass it On. Brandon did.

Did You Know?

Did you know more that 98,000 people are in need of an organ transplant in the United States right now?

Did you know that each day about 77 people get the organ transplant that gives them a second chance, but 17 to 19 others die because they did not receive an organ transplant?

Did you know as a registered donor you can make a positive impact on the lives of many, and save the lives of 8 people?

Did you know that April is National Donate Life Month in the United States?

Vickie Jackson works for Cincom Systems in Cincinnati, Ohio. Because of her experience she is now a spokesperson and advocate for the Life Center Organ Donor Network. Vickie can be reached by email at

For more information

In Ohio:

In Kentucky:

In the United States:

Throughout the World: Contact your physician or your organ-donation advocate organization for more information on registration.

1 comment:

Shiraz Datta said...

This is great and I wish if everyone think and do a small deed for other. Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy and help others to enjoy every moment of life.

Steve, I really appreciate this deed of helping other.