He Touched So Many
Our family of 5 is so typical of so many families. My husband and I worked full time, and our 3 teenage children were busy with school, activities, family, and friends.
“More than his beautiful memory lives on”
On a hot August night, our 16-year-old son (and middle child) Michael, left to go to a swim party at a friend’s house, with his best friend. As he left our home, he walked out the front door, looked back with his beautiful blue eyes, smiled, and said “Love you too”. Those were the last words he spoke to me.
Michael was a young teen who loved life. I look back now and realize that his mission in life may have been to have the most fun in each day. He was happy-go-lucky, had many friends, and used to tell me “Mom…chicks dig me!” Sometimes, his school work reflected his priorities, to have fun before studies. So, we worked with a tutor to keep his school work in line. The goal for him that summer was to abide by our curfew. Then, if he also earned good grades the first semester of school, he could get his driver’s permit.
That hot August night was his last and a nightmare for our family.
Being late for curfew, was the first sign of alarm, as he had been so good at being timely all summer. That night after his curfew time passed, we recieved a call that every parent fears. Our 16-year-old son, Michael, was in a car crash 5 minutes from our home. A total of 6 students in 2 cars were involved…No drugs, no alcohol, no cell phones. It was the result of a careless traffic violation. The driver of the other car ran a stop sign at an intersection in a residential area. As a front seat passenger, our son took the brunt of the crash, was critically injured, and was life flighted to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Upon our arrival at the hospital, we were escorted to a private consultation room with a trauma team. We were advised of the most devastating words. It was explained that our son had sustained a head injury so severe, that there was no brain activity. Our son was on life support.
Throughout the unimaginable hours of the night and the repeated testing, it was clear that he would not survive.
That night, in our most desperate hours, we recalled 2 occasions, years before, discussing organ donation with our children. As a family, around our dinner table, all 5 of us were in agreement. In the event that inevitably any one our lives could not be saved and on life support, that it would be a miraculous gift to someone else praying for their miracle.
On the morning of August 9th, 1996, we honored the wish of our son, Michael James Eddy. He became an angel and also became a hero to many. He became an organ, tissue, and cornea donor.
The lives of many were saved and healed through Michael’s gift of donation. Later we would personally meet two of his organ recipients. There are no words for the gratitude of these recipients. Our in-person meeting with the recipients I can describe as spiritual.
Now, my husband and I are retired. This journey has led me to be a volunteer with CORE for over 24 years. In this role, I share the story of our family, and the impact organ and tissue donation has on so many. In sharing our story and message over the years, we have been able to reach and educate parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, students, church groups, and so many more about organ and tissue donation.
Almost 25 years later, Michael is still a hero. And in honoring his gifts and generosity, we recognize and embrace words I often repeat in sharing this message. I will never make sense of the loss of our son. However, through his generosity, it does offer some comfort and sense of peace in knowing that “More than his beautiful memory lives on.”