The whole discussion of donating kids' organs is hard for parents to have for one very obvious reason: it means facing our kids' mortality. But for the parents of a 15-year-old who died in a hit-and-run car crash in Maryland recently, the choice was obvious. Skylar Marion's parents donated their son's organs ... and his heart ended up in the chest of someone they know, saving the life of one of Skylar's own friends.
A child died, but a child's life was saved. It's a bittersweet miracle. But the way Skylar's parents are handling it is perhaps the most miraculous bit in all of this.
Kyle Wilkerson was in heart failure and lying in the University of Maryland Medical Center in need of a transplant when the kid he used to ride bikes with was rushed into the same hospital. The Marions' decision to donate their son's organs sent bits of him to various hospitals, but the heart stayed right there and went to Kyle.
Said Skylar's dad, Michael:
The devil took my boy away ... God wanted to spread him around to keep him alive.
Beautiful way of looking at organ donation, isn't it? It's a way of keeping the people we love alive.
And yet, can you imagine what it must be like for the Marions? They don't just know that their son's heart is beating in another's boy's chest. They can see that other boy, living and breathing?
My knee-jerk reaction, as a mom, is that it would be too much. It would wrench open those wounds again and again. I know that for the mother of a high school friend who died tragically when we were young adults, just seeing me -- so clearly linked in her mind to her son -- is enough to make her cry. And I don't carry a piece of her child inside me, at least not in a physical sense (emotionally his suicide is something I will never get over, I carry him in my heart and in my head everywhere I go).
Kyle Wilkerson's life could be a reminder to the Marions of exactly what they lost.
Instead, they look at this boy as a reminder of what they had. Their boy's life was cut short by a hit and run driver, but he is still giving to the world.
Watch Michael Marion and tell us ... what would you have done in the Marions' position?