Dolly Koghar talks about how we can give of ourselves, in more ways than one.
2 Hearts (2020) on Netflix is a must watch movie, but I’ll forewarn you to keep handy a Kleenex box or a big hanky; although I myself flatly refused hubby dear’s dog-eared ‘kerchief – the saline running down my face and drenching my nightshirt just felt right.
The movie is a true-life parallel story of families far removed by geography or relationship, but whose lives became interlinked by an inconceivable twist of karmas. It’s based on All My Tomorrows: A Story of Tragedy, Transplant and Hope, written by Eric Gregory, chronicling the loss of his 19-year-old son, Chris, in 2008 to an aneurysm. But despite their heart wrenching tragedy, the family honoured his organ donor registration of years earlier and thus, Chris became the bearer of the gift of life to five total strangers, whom he’d never know or ever meet; but through whom he would continue to live.
His eyes went on to see many more glorious sunsets; his heart in someone’s chest fluttered and skipped a beat when love called; his kidneys and liver gave another somebody extra time with their family. For Jorge Bacardi, of the Bacardi rum dynasty, who’d suffered from childhood with the lung affliction called primary ciliary dyskinesia, the double-lung gift from Chris allowed him to do something you and I do without much thought. Finally at 64, Jorge took his first-ever full breath of air, which he gratefully continued to do, till his last in 2020.
Typically, donors and recipients remain anonymous, but Jorge and his wife, Leslie, managed to trace down Chris’ family and wrote them an anonymous letter of gratitude addressed to ‘Gabriel’, Jorge’s saving archangel; a name which had a powerful impact on Chris’ family. Eventually, the families met up in Baltimore in 2009, after which the Bacardis set up a nonprofit facility; a place of solace and healing for those waiting for, or going through, organ transplants in Jacksonville, Florida. To honor Chris’ magnanimous gifts, they named it the Gabriel House of Care.
Today, science is promising us an almost eternal life with lab-grown organ transplants, but honestly, is there a purpose in any of us living on and on endlessly, depleting the already-scarce resources meant for the next gens? What exactly do we intend to accomplish with this endless, ongoing mundane existence, even if we were Einsteins; isn’t there just so much one can take of the daily grind that we’re already dragging our feet through? Which brings to mind the poignant scene in Death Becomes Her (1992), when even gorgeous creatures like Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep wished they had spurned the elixir of eternity and like Bruce Willis, died when death called.
Shri Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita:
“Why and for what are you crying?
What did you create, for it to be wasted or destroyed?
Whatever you took, you took from here?
Whatever you gave, you gave from here?
Whatever is yours today, it will belong to yet another and on another day, it will belong to yet another.”
So, in effect, nothing is mine, everything I have is from here; my body is gifted to me by Mother Earth to house my soul and to serve a purpose which I have yet to comprehend. Meanwhile, I am eternally indebted to this clay vehicle, imbued with the five senses to have allowed me the experiences that have made me, Me. But now, that my journey is drawing closer to a culmination, I’d like to gift forward those things that will not accompany me, but just might give a new lease of life to a suffering fellowman.
This Xmas, I’ll pledge my organs and eyes, but to bring closure in my relationship with my children and grandchildren, I’d rather my body go through the usual funeral rites which will pronounce the eventual reality – from dust to dust; everything returns. Then maybe, just maybe, they too can bring it in their hearts to leave behind a legacy of generosity to this planet which has moulded and nurtured each of us, into the unique species that we are.