The Human Body

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Human Body As I looked at the discetion of the foot, I suddenly felt a whirl of emotions, energy. I had to take a step away for a moment. I looked again, the whirling came again, i saw the toe nails, I felt the smooth texture of the skin, old skin, an old lady perhaps. I felt fatigue of life, tired, letting go. I shook my head away from the vision to focus on the disection before my eyes in real time. I left the vision, the emotions, the feelings and gave my full attention to the bright young woman before me who passionately and intellectually expained the various muscles, tendons, attachments and associated movements of these parts. It was about five months ago, or was it last spring? My daughter called to tell me that she would be starting her Advanced Anatomy class at University. She was hesitant and worried about seeing a real dead body and having to dissect it. Not really being attached to the situation, I offered the suggestion to pray in advance, to send appreciation and respect to the room and to the people. I mentioned that these people were no longer in their body, that their souls have simply moved on, and that these bodies were left to learn from. "Take a few deep breaths. Be respectful" That is really all I could say. Months later, she is excelling, studying very hard, obtaining excellent grades, and now, she stands before us and teaches. Being a spiritual being, this process threw me for a bit of a loop. I was torn between the worlds, so to speak. I felt anxious, and nervous, the aroma of preservatives in the air. Parents, siblings, family members and friends are so proudly gathered with their University children to experience an Open House for the Program. With pride and support for my daughter, I suddenly felt similar to when she called in despair. Slowly we walk in, I see parts. Yes, parts on tables. Delicately and respectfully placed on table covers. Neatly arranged. Neatly tagged. Certain parts are so carefully covered so as not to expose them. I am grateful for this. My initial response is one of awe, slight terror, slight sadness, then gratitude, respect, deep love. I switch the emotional button off, I have too, for self preservation, and also to not absorb any residual emotions that may be deep in the tissues so delicately laying on the tables. So, I am in education mode now, and my daughter dives into the demonstration, she casually picks up a pair of lungs and begins to give a professional education lecture on the anatomy and physiology of the organs. Having taken countless classes myself way back in the day, I stand in awe, I am learning new things, I am seeing the organs in real life. I am seeing the real thing! All fo the text book information is suddenly there, and looking straight at me in real time. My mom (a retired nurse) is fascinated, you can see sparkles in her eyes, she gentley handles the organs with her blue-gloved hands. My daughter encourages us to touch, to feel the textures, to appreciate the beauty and percision of the dissection. She is so very respectful, as she pulls open the lobes with the hands of a skilled scientist, and we look. The Advanced Anatomy program at Guelph allows forth year undergrads to have hands on experience, to learn, to teach and to share their knowledge. It is a fascinating program, one that offers students such an amazing opportunity to expand their horizons, and to establish a bsse of for their educational needs and careers. Many of the students will continue on to pursue medicine, sports therapy, sugery, neuroscience, biomedicine. It is an incredible experience that is usually reserved only for medical students. It is a life changing program for the undergrads. The department holds a Celebration of Life event yearly, which is for the family members of the doners, in appreciation and respect. What a marvellous event. The program encorporates learning, respect, and teaching with humility, compassion and dedication. We had our lunch with several students and families. We were all in awe of the process. We were all so impressed by the knowledge, the expertise and the care that our children (now adults) shared wtih us. It was a privilege to be a part of such a wonderful learning environment and process. I am so grateful to my daughter, her mentors, the University and to the donors. The closing remarks were of gratitude and pride from the Dean. He was humble, sincere and caring. Qualities in a school, that make learning a part of life, a part of the heart as well as the intellect. He closed with an invite to share our experiences with the school and to be grateful to the donors that so lovingly dedicated the human body of themselves in passing. My daughter shared many stories of the donors. Many people attend the Celebration of Life to educate themselves on the process. After seeing the care, respect and learning, many finalize arrangements to donate their body when their spirit leaves. Many parents of the students with terminal illnesses have made the same decision. Crying, I listen. How selfless. How remarkable that we as humans consciously choose to give such a gift for the benifit of others. This process really makes one think of what is really important in life. And after life.

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