I’ve labored over the lede for this post. I’ve tried a few different approaches because even I am not entirely comfortable with the subject. It’s something few allow themselves to even think about.

In truth, I hadn’t given any serious thought to donating my (dead) body to a teaching institution like McGill University until a colleague, Susan Schwartz, wrote a touching piece for the paper about the subject.

Here is Susan’s lede:

“Most of the students had laboured over their reflections, writing draft after draft as they tried to express their profound gratitude to the people they called their silent teachers — the men and women who had chosen to donate their bodies to science so that they, as first-year medical and dental students at McGill University, could study them and learn from them.”

The students were writing reflections and tributes for the “silent teachers” to be presented at a commemorative service for the departed and their families before the ashes of their final remains were to be interred in the McGill plot in Mount Royal Cemetery.

I handled the piece for the paper and our website, and by the time I was finished with it, I felt it was the right thing for me to do — though, I am still a bit unsure of whether I should leave my body to science or let it be harvested for organ parts to help save those in need of such things as a heart or a kidney etc.

You can’t do both: schools need whole bodies — and even then, there are parameters.

So, my plan is to leave my body to science, but if it is not acceptable, then they can harvest organs.


I’m not sure what is more important: teaching the future doctors and nurses of the world, or making life more livable for those struggling with failing organs.

What do you think about all of this?

— Jillian