Message of Hope
from the National Donor Family Council Executive
My name is Claude Sampson. I serve
on the Executive Committee of the National Donor Family Council (NDFC) and I have been asked to contribute a Message of Hope.
When I was asked to contribute, I was not sure what the
message should look like. Hope means different things to different people.
I was asked to serve on the NDFC because
I have a son who became a tissue donor. My son Jeff, 19, was killed in an automobile collision in 2005 by a young man driving
100 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone. In the blink of an eye, Jeff's life was taken from him and the lives of his surviving
family were changed forever. Like the stories of most donor families, the story of my family is similar in that Jeff was young
and died suddenly. And, as is also the case with many young donors, Jeff died violently at the hands of another. In addition
to losing Jeff to an automobile collision, sitting through a criminal trial, participating in a civil trial and attempting
to navigate through each day, our family has also lost a daughter to cancer.
Susan was 37 in 2005 when she was diagnosed with liver cancer. She struggled valiantly for a year, losing her fight
in 2006 leaving behind a husband and young son.
So where is the hope in losing two
children in the span of 13 months? There is a familiar saying that goes God does not give us any more than we can handle.‚€Ě
Pretty straightforward in its‚€™ meaning; however my wife, Paula, shared with me her interpretation of that expression.
My wifes view is that God does not give us more than we can handle at any one point
in time. If God placed on us at once all that has happened to us, and I am referring to all of us who have lost loved
ones or children, we would probably be overwhelmed beyond our ability to cope.
To borrow an expression from The Shack, the recent best selling book, this is the period of The Great Sadness. We who have lost loved ones
have entered the new normal where life continues but will never be the same as it once was. The message of hope is that we
will be reunited one day. Unfortunately, being reunited in the future is not much comfort in the present for many of us. The
message of hope for the present is that we attempt to attach meaning to the life of our loved one and make sense out of what
has happened. We have done that through the organ and/or tissue donation. Our hope comes from the fact that our loved ones
death helped someone.
Even though we have the satisfaction that
our loved one lives on through someone else, we continue to search for answers. But most times, there are no answers; only
more questions. We volunteer, we attend support groups where we can talk about our loved one in a safe environment, we try
to help others through our own experiences and that is the real message of hope.
How the message of hope plays out is different
for each of us. Continue to seek answers. Never give up hope;
never stop seeking; for as you seek and question, you heal. The message of hope goes on and we will eventually come full circle
even though we will always be of the new normal.
NDFC Executive Committee member