SightLife will contact you a couple of weeks after the donation with some important information about the donation. This includes the outcome of the donation and bereavement materials many of our families find helpful on their personal grief journey. We also welcome you at our special donor family events that are held throughout the year.
— Jeanne, mother of cornea donor Sarah
Though your loved one’s formal funeral, memorial service or celebration of life may have already occurred, you may find it helpful to continue rituals that connect you to your loved one. This resource contains some suggestions that you may want to incorporate into your grief journey.
People have found that sharing stories of their lost loved ones helps their spirit live on, protects memories and frequently brings comfort during the process. This time can be an opportunity to share such stories with one another.
Click here to read to a guide that can help facilitate the story sharing process. Sometimes, one finds their friends and families are hesitant to talk about a person who they have lost. These stories actually bring them comfort. SightLife treasures such stories and provides opportunities for you to share and celebrate your loved one’s life and the gracious decision to help others through eye donation. Your experience will help spread the word about donation and help other families who have lost a loved one.
The decision to write to your loved one’s transplant recipient is a personal one and entirely up to you. For many, this helps provide some healing while going through the grieving process. You may choose to share information about yourself and your loved one—anything that might help the memory of your loved one live on. Transplant recipients consistently express appreciation for the letters they receive and welcome learning about the person who is responsible for the incredible gift of sight. Click here to read a sample letter written to cornea recipient. If you decide to write, here are some helpful suggestions:
You may or may not receive a response to your card or letter. Some transplant recipients like to wait for their surgery to heal somewhat before writing. Others feel overwhelmed with emotion and have difficulty expressing their gratitude through written communication. It could take several months or even years before they feel comfortable writing.
All letters are reviewed to ensure confidentiality. Your correspondence will be delivered to SightLife, where the Family Services Manager will review and then forward it to the recipient family. This process may take a few weeks, so please allow extra time in the event your correspondence is time sensitive.
Recipients are also given the opportunity to write to the donor family. If you do receive a letter from your donor family, we recommend the following:
Once a year in each of the regions we serve, SightLife, along with our partners, invite donor families, recipients and donation community members to come together in remembrance of their loved ones who gave the gift of a lifetime through organ, tissue and cornea donation. This is a great opportunity to share your unique experience with others, learn more about how a cornea transplant transforms one’s life, meet the SightLife staff, honor your loved one and celebrate donation.
SightLife invites donor families to participate in the making of our Donor Family Quilt. Dedicated to the memory of your loved one who has given the gift of sight, each quilt square is a symbol of love and life. If you’re interested in creating a quilt square, you may download instructions here.
Our donor families are extremely important to us, and we take your feedback very seriously as it helps us to better serve our families in the future. Please take the time to fill out our Donor Family Questionnaire here.
We'd love to hear from you. Please contact our Family Services department at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read stories of hope and join our community, visit facebook.com/groups/sightlifedonors/.
Phone: 800.847.5786, ext. 138
Address: 1200 6th Ave, Ste 300, Seattle, WA 98101