My son Derek, age 23, was in a bad car wreck. Within 48 hours we had been told Derek was almost brain dead. I honestly never even thought about organ donation for him. My husband and I have always been registered donors – I guess it was just the stress of it all. But the wonderful nurse that assisted Derek asked me how I felt about organ/tissue donation. The light came on and my husband and I both said YES! You see, Derek had signed up to be a donor as well, but I said YES! because of the following:
Derek was in the Army. He had been to Iraq three times. Each time he lost more friends and came home with a better understanding about how lucky we are here in America. He had repeatedly told my husband and I that he joined the Army because he always wanted to be a hero. I had given him my mom speech ( “you’re always my hero”) but that wasn’t enough for Derek. He would come home talking about Iraq. One day, he told me that for him, the War was never about oil. He said, “when you see the children and how little they have… and the hope that lights in their eyes when you help them or give their family food…that’s what Iraq’s about.”
Derek is a real HERO. He has helped so many people have better lives. It has helped me deal with my grief far more then words can express. I know my son did not just die without reason. I know he wasn’t just taken from me. Derek lives on in every person he has helped. And in that person’s family, I know there is another mother on the other side of Derek’s story who is very happy their loved one received a new chance at life.
Derek loved to help everyone in his search to be a hero. I know he is very happy that I helped him become the hero he had always been to me.