YOUR FINAL GIFT – A TEACHER TO THE END | Timothy Joseph, Author | Writing The Best Books & Essays



Leaving behind a noble legacy is the only reason for living. Many of us struggle to be the best we can be and do all we can to make a positive difference by what we “teach.” We teach our kids, families, friends, and total strangers, by words, actions, and example. And we can make a substantial difference in many lives, and in many ways. 

There is a superb way to teach that most people don’t think about, or if they do, they quickly disregard it for naïve or idealistic reasons, and I’m betting you are one of them—but that’s okay—you are perfectly normal. This essay is to get you to “rethink” your naiveté, and appreciate what you perhaps never realized or thought about. My hope is that you will change your mind, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because YOU want to continue your legacy, continue to have meaning, and continue to be appreciated and thanked upon your death as you have been in your living—by continuing to teach. 

Your death can and will make a huge difference, and be of great value to others, if you simply fill out two forms. Most of us have filled out the “Organ Donor” section of our driver’s license, and included such in our living will—what a great gift that is. But that’s not the subject of this essay. I’m referring to the “Anatomic Gift by Living Donor” form, as it is called by the University of Tennessee, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology. Universities and medical schools have various names for the form, but they are easy to find online in your area. Here’s the UT form: 

Please don’t stop reading. We all agree that our corneas, heart, liver, kidney, lung tissue and the like save lives and can bring sight, breath, and health to otherwise dying and unhealthy children and adults. When part of us becomes part of another person, we live on in them, and that person forever remembers, and forever thanks us for their health. Won’t you go the next step? Won’t you continue to create a legacy of meaning, value, and significance, won’t you continue to “TEACH?”  

When you donate your body, you are giving the most benevolent and valued gift you could ever bequeath. What’s more, you continue to teach, continue to share, continue your legacy, and what you may not know, is that you are continually “thanked” and appreciated—beyond measure. A very long time ago I was pre-med. I quickly realized I was not up to the rigors of med school and internship, so I went another route. Let me tell you, medical students have the greatest respect in the world for the individuals they study—total respect. And at the end of the day, as many leave, there is a pat on the donor’s shoulder and a verbal, “Thank You” by medical students everywhere.  

These students KNOW how critical your gift is to them. YOU make them the doctors they become, YOU give them the expertise required to operate on a living person. No rubber or synthetic organ or tissue can come close to a real liver, heart, lung, and no pretend surgery can duplicate experience working on a body. Without anatomical gifts, doctors simply cannot be properly trained. Your gift is responsible for their skill, and they are indeed YOUR students—yes, YOU are their teacher. 

When you donate your body, your family will then receive your cremated remains, your entire body, just as if you went directly to cremation. The BIG difference is you continued your legacy of giving and value. You kept right on making a difference, building your legacy, being of immense value, right to the end.  Your donation gave knowledge and skill; you were not merely injected with chemicals and put in the ground, or cremated as a useless corpse. And the skill and knowledge you provided, lives on in those doctors—along with their appreciation.

Please, do as I did. Fill out a donor form and get your card in the mail, and continue to teach, even upon your death. Carry on your legacy, make a difference, and be greatly valued in death as you were in life. Leave this world as a gift of knowledge, a teacher — won’t you? tj





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