Body Donor Program

Jean Oshima
4 min readJun 17, 2023

Note: If the discussion of death is triggering for you, you may want to skip this one.

Death is thought of and dealt with in many ways in different cultures. Both literally and figuratively. Some may not even want to discuss or think about it before it happens. I want to talk about it. I’m not obsessed or anything, I’m just comfortable with the discussion. I’ve been around several dying people in my life and was at both of my parents’ bedside a day before they actually passed. This 5 Heart Rating begins with my dad and his journey, or should I say, his body’s journey, after his death.

He planned the whole thing. Which come to find out, doesn’t take a whole lot. My dad donated his body to science, specifically the University of Florida, College of Medicine. He filled out the proper paperwork well before his passing. I knew of his plan as I was originally his legal power of attorney. I thought this was 1) in keeping with my dad’s lifelong style of being progressive in his way of thinking about health and the human body and 2) pretty cool.

Once my dad passed and I discussed briefly with my sister (She’s a nurse and cared for my dad as he lived with her and her family after the passing of my mom.) the process and how easy it was, I decided to do the same. I chose the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota as it is nearby and I’d heard such good things about Mayo my whole life from multiple family members in Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota that had been treated there over the years. The LAST thing I want in this life is to be a burden in any way to my children once my physical body is done.

As with my dad’s case, the form I filled out and the directions for the process were very concise and easy to understand. They really do keep it very simple.

One of my pet peeves in life, to say the least, is that I believe many people are taken advantage of by the process of dying. I think it’s great that if you want to choose an opulent casket and be very selective as to where you want your remains interred, and want a huge funeral with as many religious rituals possible, got right ahead. I’m happy to know people can make that choice. But what I’m not happy about is that when people are at their very most vulnerable, having just lost their loved one, they don’t have more choices.

For instance, why don’t we have event planners or something like it specifically for funerals, celebrations of life, or just simple get-togethers after a person dies? You are at the mercy of a one-stop-shopping experience and that is the funeral home. Yes, you are provided choices. But are you really? I don’t think so. Funeral homes and services are there to make money. That’s it. They have done what you are now experiencing quite possibly for the first time, hundreds if not thousands of times. They know how to sell. And in almost every single circumstance, you are meeting these strangers for the very first time as they “help you” deal with possibly the most difficult thing you have ever experienced in your life.

As much as I believe we need medical advocates, especially for the elderly, I believe we also need to add to the system of death, a neutral advocate for the survivors of our loved ones. I could go into numerous examples here of situations I alone have encountered that I believe would benefit from a new system. Maybe enough to write a book! But back to this 5 Heart Rating and the idea of becoming a body donor.

It’s really a quite simply process and the benefits to the medical schools are many. For more information here is a link to one of the options I am somewhat familar with. You can also simply Google “body donor” to find one that may be closer to your heart for whatever reasons:

Here’s an important note taken directly from the Mayo website:

“Advanced donor registration is critical to program consideration and participation. Donor registration is realized when the prospective donor receives Mayo Clinic’s letter in acknowledgment of the receipt of his or her signed consent (note that mail and processing can take up to a month). Our program is not suited for last-minute program consideration. Please plan ahead, register early and communicate your intentions to whoever will be speaking on your behalf.”

Originally published at JEAN OSHIMA.

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Jean Oshima

See my blog, 5 Heart Rating at http://jeanoshima.com I am a Wellness & Wine and Special Events Producer