The lasting effect of a life, and death

Three years ago, my grandfather died. Some of you may remember that I wrote about this a short time ago.

Yesterday, there was a memorial service for Grandpere, and several other men and women who had participated in the University of Kentucky Body Bequeathal program. Students in the various UK medical programs use these bodies for their Anatomy classes, and for specific training in dental, surgical, and physical therapy techniques. In this way, even though our loved ones have passed away, they continue to do good. Through their final gift, they assist in the training of doctors who will heal the next generation. They are, as one of the speakers said, these doctors’ first patient.

The service was inter-faith, and was very well done. I was also very impressed with how many of the medical students were in attendance, and that they seemed to be genuinely listening, rather than giving the impression that they were there because it was a course requirement.

The class presidents of the various medical colleges read the litany of the names, and there were readings from the Psalms, from Jesus, and from The Buddha.

I’m sure that many of you have considered being an organ donor, and that’s a wonderful gift, in that it extends the life, of improves the quality of life, of someone still living. The gift of one’s entire body, upon death, is also a great gift, and has a life-long impact on a doctor who will extend many lives, and improve the quality of many lives.

It would have been more appropriate if the service had been today – All Saints’ Day – rather than yesterday. But it was very much like Grandpere that, even years after his passing, he would be helping someone out. And, as I said before, Grandpere, your memory is truly eternal, even more than I understood then.