My Flip video camera in hand, I filmed the beauty that only a father’s eyes can see… capturing 2 of my children as they embraced the white slopes with their skis. Just moments later, Taylor would slip and head off into the trees, sustaining injuries that would lead to a heart-wrenching question no father wants to face. A perfect vacation becomes a parent’s worst nightmare in a blink of an eye.
Only a few days earlier, we had packed our car and left from Dallas, TX to Beaver Creek, CO without a care in the world, and excited for the memories to be made. We enjoyed the long drive there but never considered the possibility that when we returned from Colorado, our family of five would now be four.
A Decision. A Blessing.
After hearing the question, I looked my wife of nearly 20 years in the eyes and we knew the answer without speaking. “Yes. Absolutely. It is what Taylor would want” is what I think I uttered. Our oldest daughter was brain dead. She was gone. But that’s not where her story ended. The decision we were making would forever change lives in beautiful ways, and not only ours, but many others, including those that would receive her organs. It could have been so simple, easier even, to say no or ignore the request,but that answer became a blessing to not only our lives, but the lives of five others.
Taylor would save and improve the lives of 5. Never did we realize the power of organ donation. We had never discussed it as a family. I don’t remember if I agreed to be an organ donor when I got my driver’s license.
I describe organ donation after losing a child as the ‘spider web of hope’ my family clung onto during our deepest grief. That spider web was sometimes the only thing I was able to hold onto to get me through the day, the hour, the minute.
When Taylor died, my DNA changed. I became something else. I was forever altered. The same, yet completely different. It became very apparent that we needed to help people understand that organ donation is a wonderful way to help others.
We started a foundation called Taylor’s Gift Foundation and began our work supporting all the official US organ donor registries. That work led to more understanding of the true needs of those touched by organ donation and brought us to our mission to “increase organ donation to Regift Life, Renew Health and Restore Families.”