DEAR PATRICIA: I am having a hard time with the issue of organ and tissue donation. Both my mother and father are registered organ donors and I can’t seem to come to terms with the thought of their organs being donated when they die. They are both currently healthy and able to care for themselves, but if anything happens, I will become the caregiver. Can you offer any help for someone like me? —Samantha
DEAR SAMANTHA: Your parents are to be commended. They have taken the proper steps to ensure their organs and tissue will be donated upon their deaths so that others might live. This is both thoughtful and kind. Last year, organ donors made more than 28,000 transplants possible. One organ donor can save up to 8 lives. Thousands of people die annually waiting for an organ. Your parents are now part of the solution to that problem. That said, it is understandable that you are upset. You are projecting your inevitable grief and loss, and possibly attaching the organ and tissue donation to those sad emotions. Educating yourself more about this gift of life might be helpful to you. To learn more about organ and tissue donation, how to register in your state and heartwarming statistics about this life-saving action, go to www.organdonor.gov. If this fear continues to affect your life, schedule a visit with a mental health professional. You want to enjoy the time you have left with your parents without negative thoughts and feelings affecting the quality of time you share.