Sunday, September 20, 2020

Service of Gratitude for Dad and Other Body Donors UC Davis Medical School

Followers of the Blog know that on Thanksgiving Day last year, my 91 year old father passed away.  He and mom many years ago told us kids that they had signed papers to donate their bodies to UC Davis Medical School to assist in the teaching of new doctors.  When they moved to the Kansas City area in 1992, they changed the donation to a Kansas City area Medical School...then back to UC Davis when they moved back to the Sacramento area.  We did not know until his death that UC Davis holds an annual Service of Gratitude for the donors.  We have been hanging around here in the HOT, SMOKY Northern California Central Valley for this program.  About six weeks ago we learned that due to COVID, the service would be it could be watched anywhere you have an Internet connection.  But we also knew that viewing this with family, especially with mom, was the best way to watch it, so we stuck out the smoke and heat and remained parked in Sandy and Arny's backyard.

The service was held on Facebook Live.  It lasted just over an hour, and we watched it in the comfort of Arny and Sandy's house, with my computer hooked up to their large flat screen TV.  Mom, Euleda (Arny's mom who is 97 years old), Arny, Sandy, Patti, Marcia and I watched the service, along with Bubba, Parker (Patti's dog) and little Indy who learned to sit still for about 10 minutes of it.  We did not have any program information, although now that it is over we could ask for a program.  This young man (above) was the MC for the event.  He is one of the students in the school, and he did a great job.  And YES, with COVID and with it being a medical school, they ALL wore masks except for the bugler who played TAPS.  The first few minutes of the broadcast included pictures of some of the donors, including dad's picture at the top of this post.

In recognition of the Veterans who were donors, and they said that there were many of them, they have a small color guard to present the flag.  They presented one flag to one of the students who is a Veteran who accepted it on behalf of all the families of Veterans.  Each family can ask for a flag of their own, and I think mom will be calling them up asking for one.  The Military Honors was a very moving part of the ceremony.

A few students of the school gave short talks about the importance of the Body Donor program, the impact that it has had on them, and the final speaker (last picture above) was the head of the Gross Anatomy Department.  (Note: Gross anatomy, also called topographical anatomy, is the study of anatomy at the macroscopic level. The term gross distinguishes it from other areas of anatomical study, including histology, which is the microscopic study of anatomy typically with a microscope.)  The last item on the program was the reading of the first names, alphabetically, of the donors.  WOW, who would have known that they had so many donors...somewhere between 150-160 people!  

Overall the program was very enjoyable, although it would have been better in person.  There were a few times the live service stalled for a few seconds.  When the final speaker spoke, it stalled and when it restarted about 10 seconds later, it skipped about a minute of his talk.  The good thing, the service is on Facebook and can be seen anytime by anyone who wants to.  A link to the UC Davis body donor program can be found here, along with a link to the Facebook post of the program.

Earlier in the week I met my oldest son Michael (who lives in Sacramento) and daughter Stephanie (who lives in Salt Lake City) over at mom's place.  Mom lives in an Assisted Living Facility, and cannot have visitors inside the facility.  Luckily for us, she has a outside apartment with a balcony, and we can sit/stand along the small roadway that circles the facility, and she can easily see us while safely up on her balcony.  My sisters do her laundry for her, and that gets handed down to us, and either returned over the rail or given to staff at the front desk.  Due to COVID, I had not seen Michael since we arrived, and Stephanie came for a visit to her brother and sister-in-law's house a little over a week ago. 

We are grateful that the Assisted Living Facility allowed her out for this special occasion today, although now she is suppose to quarantine in her apartment until her test for COVID comes back.  

After the service we had a lunch of BBQ Tri-Tip steak, Mashed Cauliflower, Corn on the Cob, Marshmallow Salad, and Deviled Eggs.  The good thing, we had LOTS of leftovers, so when Marcia and I head out on Wednesday, we will have plenty of travel food to go along with us.  We will be taking a northern route to Florida, and will take a month or so to get there.  More on that trip as I start publishing on a regular basis again once our travels start.



  1. How nice that they have that ceremony for the families. It looks like they went above and beyond. Getting to see Mom on the patio is the icing on the cake. Happy everyone is doing well. Safe travels!

    1. It allows for that 'social distance' not only for her, but I was able to distance myself from the kids too. Hard seeing them and not getting to hug them, but better than not seeing them at all.

  2. Very fitting tribute to those who want to help Medical Science and to teach future doctors.
    With the increase of Atlantic Storms this year you might consider a slow meander back to Florida.
    Be Safe and Enjoy your leftovers.

    It's about time.

    1. Oh yes...always keep an eye on storms this time of year. So far, Florida has been lucky outside of the western panhandle.

  3. Your dad was a very special person. I'm glad that you all got to be together to watch the ceremony

    1. Thank you Karen. Mom is a non-practicing LVN (after all, she is 90) and she knew the importance of having medical students be able to learn on real bodies.


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