Stories of Hope: Paul Rodman

Paul Rodman - squareStory written by Sallie Rodman, Paul’s wife

I made my appointment at the DMV and was encouraged to find I didn’t have to take a test and could actually see the big “E” on the eye chart. Getting older had some advantages after all; my near-sightedness was now becoming far-sightedness.

I got my license in the mail a few weeks later and hated the picture. I wanted a ‘do over!’ I also noticed my pink “donor” dot was embedded into the license now. There was no chance of it falling off.

This tiny mark was a permanent reminder that when I die my organs will be donated to someone in desperate need; someone hoping to get another chance at life. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time.

Fast forward two years and I was now arranging to have my husband’s body sent to the funeral home. He had died of a sudden heart attack at sixty-nine years old and crumpled into the couch while I stood watching in shock. After a wild ambulance ride, here I was waiting around the ER for our kids to arrive.

As I sat outside in the hall a person approached me and asked if Paul had expressed any last wishes; would he have wanted to donate his tissues and bones?

It was then I remembered that pink dot on his driver license.

“His organs cannot be of any use but tissue and bones can be life-saving,” I was told.

“Yes, he would like that very much,” I told the nurse not really caring. Paul was gone; the love of my life would never be with me again. What did I care? Giving his tissue didn’t seem like a big deal at the time; after all it wasn’t like an organ donation. I signed the papers for them to take what they could.

Fast-forward two years. The phone is ringing and I answer it expecting a solicitor or girlfriend’s voice. I am surprised to find it is OneLegacy calling. OneLegacy was the nonprofit organization that had recovered Paul’s bones and tissues. I had asked for an update on Paul’s donation; the one that was no big deal. I really didn’t expect much. After all, it wasn’t like he donated a heart, kidney or a lung. I was touched by what I heard.

“Mrs. Rodman, your husband Paul donated bones and tissue which helped 17 people ages 16 to 83. These were for shoulder bone/tissue, knee/bone and spine/bone surgeries. I wish I could tell you more but that is all the information we have on these types of donations. These people are so grateful for his gifts.”

“Thank you for getting back to me,” I said with tears streaming down my face.

I realized that Paul performed the ultimate act of kindness when he put that pink dot on his license. It designated him as willing to give of himself as his last act on this earth.

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