Byron "Beau" Keith McDowell

Byron "Beau" Keith McDowell

Byron "Beau" Keith McDowell

Death is a mystery, and in the back of our minds, we are continuously aware that one day our physical life will come to an end. Our death is a part of life that is as important as the physical life that has been given to us.

We are born into this life with the ability to live life daily; completely; moment by moment. That is exactly what Beau did. He lived life to the fullest saying "we can rest when we are dead.”

 

During our life's journey, in good times and in bad, we all think we will have tomorrow. One more hug, one more kiss, one more I LOVE YOU!!! If I had only known that on Friday morning, May 27, 2011, God was going to call Beau home, I would have gotten out of the car when Beau sent us off for the day and had that ONE MORE........

As a radiation therapist, I am reminded daily that our life here on earth is not forever. Until Beau's passing, I did not realize that letting our loved ones know how much we love them is not for them but for US. What I remember most about this tragic event is asking out loud, "Did he know how much I LOVED HIM?” Beau demonstrated through his actions and words how much he loved us every day. We used to joke about how he was always the first to say I love you and the first to say I'm sorry.

On that frightful Friday evening as I returned home from work, Beau decided to run out and pick up the kid's dinner rather than cook because he wasn't feeling well. When he returned home, he entered the front door saying he needed to lie down. He was dizzy and having trouble walking so I helped him to the bedroom. Minutes after setting up the kids to eat, I heard a noise coming from the bedroom. When I entered the room, I knew something was terribly wrong and I immediately called 911. This is when our heavenly father stepped in to help guide me and protect our two and four-year-old children from the unimaginable scene that was unfolding before my eyes and realization of the pain we were all about to endure. I was able to remain with Beau until medical help arrived, as the kids stayed seated at the table like angels. It is truly a miracle that our children were spared from witnessing the nightmare that was happening in the next room as I helplessly watched my husband slip away. Before we left the house, I knew in my heart he was gone.

When we arrived at the emergency room, time stood still as we waited for the doctor. I was informed that Beau had suffered a severe brain hemorrhage located at the base of his brain stem and the prognosis was grim. Shortly after hearing the news, I was asked about organ donation. They had noticed the donor heart on Beau's driver's license. Years ago we both made the decision that if we were ever faced with this decision, life support was not an option. The only option would be to donate our organs to save lives. Forgive me, but organ donation was the furthest thing from my mind. My main concern was for my children and how they would grow up without their daddy.

Beau was in ICU from Friday night until Sunday late morning. My thoughts and prayers had turned towards the possible organ recipients, their families and what they were thinking and going through. The nurses had informed us that if Beau did not go into cardiac arrest, more time would be allowed for organ placement. Thankfully this was accomplished. Beau was a very strong man, and I knew I also had to be strong as we patiently waited. As I look back, I am thankful to have had that time with Beau. I was able to tell him goodbye and promise him that I would make him proud by raising our children with a strong Christian background. I was able to hold his warm hand up to my face and put my head on his chest to listen to his heart beat, as I had done for many years. I stayed by his side until the last minute. I gave Beau one last kiss and told him "I'll see you on the other side."

Beau loved to be outdoors fishing, golfing and cooking on the grill. He was a sincere friend and a person who gave to anyone he knew was in need or having to do without. He was the "Good Samaritan” that would stop and help countless strangers that were stranded on the side of the road. He was not afraid to stop at an accident and help people that were hurt by comforting them until help arrived. He was a loving son, brother, father and he was also my best friend and the love of my life. Once the children came along, they were first in his life and he gave them all of his free time. As a father he was hands on - diapers and all. He was the dad that put down the remote, got on the floor and actually played with his kids. He was funny and enjoyed the feeling of being a kid again. I think it was his way of escaping from the worries of the world for awhile. The three of us miss him very much. Everyone who knew Beau was blessed to have them as a part of their lives.

With Beau's death he was able to save and help the lives of at least six people.

Beau's heart was transplanted into a 56- year-old man married with two children.
Beau's lungs were transplanted into a 54-year-old woman who is single.
Beau's liver was transplanted into 52-year-old man married with four children.
Beau's left kidney was transplanted into a 56-year-old man who is single.
Beau's right kidney was transplanted into 58-year-old woman who is married.
The donation of his corneas, transplantable tissues, bones and tendons will also help countless others in the future.

My life will be forever changed. I still cannot imagine our life without Beau. The only way possible I have been able to endure this much pain and loss, is the comfort of being held in the hands of God and knowing so many other lives have been blessed through his unselfish act.