Wall Of Life - Dolores - Fifty Lives

Tissue Donor

Story courtesy of Donate Life Northwest

Honoring a Life Fully Lived

Born into a wealthy family in Mexico, my mother, D.F. Dolores Luckow, was referred to as the "la princesa," and wanted for nothing. Despite this privileged upbringing, she was introduced to the reality of death at a young age when her mother died prematurely. This tragic event caused my mom to be very open and accepting of her own mortality. Each year, without any fear or worry, my mom would tell me that she had only "ten years left to live." She was frank and outspoken about end-of-life decisions and had often expressed her wishes to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. I remember long conversations on the subject in which mom, ever the advocate against wastefulness, stated that she had taken excellent care of herself and wanted someone else to benefit from that.

My mother met my father, Gerald, an American while he was studying at the newly accredited Mexico City college and she was in the secretarial pool to the dean. Dad asked mom for help on a Spanish test, and she purposefully gave him all of the wrong answers as a joke. He failed the test, but they fell in love. Although married in Mexico City, they moved to rural Washington, where dad was a teacher at the junior high school while mom tried to be the typical American housewife on a small farm. She remained singular and unique. Mom would herd cattle and do arduous farming tasks while wearing high heels and a full face of impeccable makeup. They had two children, me and Duanne. Later she would open a couture clothing design studio and teach Spanish through the community college. She was so beloved as a teacher, she had students who had been taking classes with her for 20 years.

On December 4, 2012, while attempting to reach Christmas decorations and two weeks shy of my parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary, mom fell from a ladder. She suffered brain death, dying on December 10, 2012, under circumstances which allowed her to become an organ, eye and tissue donor. She was 71. The transplant team treated my mother and my family very respectfully in the hospital, with particular care by the head nurse, who treated mom like a long-time friend. Aside from tissue and corneas, mom was also able to donate her kidneys and liver. Despite her petite build, she was able to help over seventy-five individuals. This is simply amazing.

Mom was "pura Chilanga" and remained fiercely proud of being Mexican throughout her entire life. She inspired me to help spread awareness amongst the Latino community about the importance of registering to be a donor. And I'm so honored mom was chosen as a Floragraph for Donate Life's 2015 float in the Rose Bowl Parade. The ceremony, ritual and celebration accentuated my mother's extraordinary gifts. She set an example for the Hispanic community and I hope that by sharing her story, it might inspire more Hispanics to become organ, eye and tissue donors.

Story courtesy of Donate Life Northwest