Joanne Bennett

Joanne Bennett

 
November 18 2013

The Hardest Goodbye

Joanne Bennett

I was married to the love of my life, my soulmate, for eleven months. I was 33 years old.

It was just an ordinary day in November 2003; we had been to work, come home, ate dinner, laughed as we always did. David had complained of a headache but took some pain killers and thought no more of it. Little did I know that in the following hours my life was about to change dramatically and forever. It was around 8pm and he had gone upstairs to use the bathroom, when I heard a huge thud. He had collapsed. Panic stricken, I called for an ambulance and we went off to hospital. At this time David was conscious, but making little sense. Then it happened: he started to shake uncontrollably and vomit. A team of doctors and nurses seem to come from nowhere and one of them gently guided me away from his bedside to a chair, where I watched as they began to work on him, and then quickly wheeled him away. I spent the joannebennettfollowing hours in the relatives’ room at the hospital feeling confused, distraught and terrified till eventually I received the news nobody ever wants to hear.

David had had a brain hemorrhage and there was nothing that could be done to save him, as the damage was irreparable. He was taken to the intensive care unit and placed on life support. At first I thought this was hopeful – why would he be put on life support if there was no hope? I was soon to find out the answer.

The transplant coordinator came to see me very shortly after a quick visit from David’s doctor. I had to make the most difficult decision of my life. It was not something David and I had ever discussed, organ donation, and yet here I was about to give his organs away. I agreed that he would be a donor, and I spent the next ten hours lying next to him on the bed in the intensive care unit till recipients could be found. It all seemed unreal to me – he looked like he was sleeping. The time came when I had to say goodbye, and he was wheeled away to theatre. All the nurses on the intensive care ward cried with me at this sad time.

His heart saved a young woman’s life who had a previous transplant that had failed. His kidneys went to two different people, and his liver saved the life of a man. I lost the love of my life that night, but in doing so, four other people got their lives back. I am proud of my decision and while I still miss him every single day, I know that some good came from my terrible loss.

 

Joanne Bennett