By Beatrice Gibson
Mark Gibson was the second of four brothers. He was the family clown, the lover, the giver. In his short 27 years with us, Mark left memories that go beyond the people who knew him- they now reach out to his organ recipients.Mark had a daughter, named Dana. She was his life. Every thought revolved around her. Inside the “Court Jester,” was a heart that reached out to children, and the old. Mark could be seen on any day fixing the broken bike of a child, or sitting with an old friend whose time was about up.
Mark knew of a child who did not live for the lack of an organ. When his daughter Dana was born, donation became Mark’s “thing.”He spent a lot of time convincing me that donation was a gift of love for someone who could enjoy life even if he could not. I think his greatest fear was that I would not give consent to giving up a part of my child . One day while I rocked his daughter, he said, “You love Dana so much. Right now another grandmother is rocking her grandchild, and that child will die for lack of an organ.” He ended with, “Can you imagine knowing Dana will die because someone won’t give up a part of their child who can no longer live?” This was to become the most imporatant conversation Mark and I ever had and Marks’ words would come to me again at a later time.
On Sept. 17, 1997, I was making dinner when I got a call to go to the hospital. I soon was to live through a mother’s worse dream. Mark had been murdered by a family friend while trying to recover a TV cable box for his sister- in-law. He never knew what hit him. The murderer hit him once in the back of the head causing injuries from which he would not survive. He died 17 hours later on Sept. 18.
I did what mothers do best. I searched for something I could do for my injured child. My thoughts drifted back to the day I sat rocking his daughter. In my darkest hours, Mark had left something for me to do, a gift to give that would continue to give me the strength to endure not having him with me. Two months later as I sat alone facing the Christmas holidays, I wrote my first letters to the recipients. From that moment on, the healing began through their generous sharing of the life and the future they now have.
All the recipients send letters of hope and love, but the young man who received the lungs was as eager to meet me as I was to meet him. We seemed to hit so many closed doors at first. Everyone trying to protect us from something. The recipient, Scott, and I were strong in our demands that we could deal with meeting. On April 7th, 1999, we celebrated Mark’s birthday by sharing dinner together.
Scott is my prince in Cinderella’s story. He was adopted, suffered from cystic fibrosis, was preparing for death, and had fallen in love with his full-care nurse. After his surgery, he was surprised to wake up and be alive. Scott told me he wanted to thank me then, but he was told that most likely we would never meet face to face. Our meeting was not filled with tears. It was a celebration of life, Scott’s life. We shared stories, his and Mark’s. He brought along his “nurse”, the love of his life. I sat looking at this wonderful couple and the future they have together, knowing that Mark’s love for life had joined us all together.
Beatrice Gibson (TinkerT53@aol.com) July 1999
You may liketo visit the personal website of Mark’s Family at http://members.aol/markgibsn/mark.html
You may also write to Beatrice Gibson through the Organ and Tissue Donor Feature Coordinator Kathryn Flynn.
Send an email to Kathryn