Editor's Note: Hundreds of Ann Landers' loyal readers have requested that newspapers continue to publish her columns. These letters originally appeared in 1999.
Dear Ann Landers: I am writing about Bruce Conway, a strong, effective leader who steered the Living Bank through its third decade as the nation's only free organ donor registry.
Last October, Bruce died unexpectedly after complications from kidney disease. Bruce was a big fan of the essay "To Remember Me," which appeared several times in your column. Please print that piece again in memory of Bruce and remind your readers to become organ donors and give the gift of life by registering with The Living Bank, P.O. Box 6725, Houston, Texas 77265. Thank you for your continued support, Ann. — Jon Eiche, executive director, The Living Bank
Dear Jon: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to honor the memory of Bruce Conway, who graciously handled all our questions on organ donation for many years. His input was invaluable. Here is the essay you requested:
To Remember Me
by Robert N. Test
The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four corners of a mattress located in a hospital busily occupied with the living and the dying. At a certain moment, a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.
When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine. And don't call this my deathbed. Let it be called the Bed of Life, and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.
Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby's face or love in the eyes of a woman.
Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain.
Give my blood to the teenager who was pulled from the wreckage of his car, so that he might live to see his grandchildren play.
Give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week.
Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body, and find a way to make a crippled child walk.
Explore every corner of my brain. Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that, some day, a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her window.
Burn what is left of me, and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.
If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses and all prejudice against my fellow man.
Give my sins to the devil. Give my soul to God.
If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs it. If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.
An alcohol problem? How can you help yourself or someone you love? "Alcoholism: How To Recognize It, How To Deal With It, How To Conquer It" will give you the answers. Send a self-addressed, long, business-sized envelope and a check or money order for $3.75 (this includes postage and handling) to: Alcohol, c/o Ann Landers, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
ANN LANDERS (R)