Qussous, who passed away last week and was buried in the village of Ader in Karak Governorate. As usual, requiem Masses are held for all the deceased, but Suha’s Mass was not ordinary, as the attendees were emotionally affected amid the tears welling their eye sand weeping. Then the voice of the priest in the church stated, “Brothers and sisters, please let us applaud this pious woman.” Perhaps it is one of the rare moments in which I called, or in which a priest calls for applause at the time of the requiem Mass.
Why then is this exception?
Ms. Suha, Umm Saleh, had one day signed a document and repeatedly recommended the donation of her useful organs at the moment of her death. Indeed, when she suffered a stroke and fell into a coma, and a joint decision was announced by the Ministry of Health and the Royal Medical Services (RMS) that she had clinical or brain death, the decisive moment came that the patient was unable to confirm her will. Her son Faris, who lives in Jordan, was asked, “Did your mother, at the Halasah family tribal ratification in their diwan years ago, sign the document and did she speak about that on every occasion? Do you agree to transfer your mother’s organs, after the RMS employees announced that she was brain dead?
It is neither easy nor natural for a son to agree on the transfer of his mother’s organs, including her heart, corneas, kidneys, and liver. She loved that as well as dedicated her health and well-being during her life to her husband, who passed away a few years ago, as well as to her sons, daughters, and grandchildren. Yes, it is not easy for a son to agree to donate his mother’s organs, but the fulfillment of her will and the credibility of her desire made him say: “Yes, I agree.” Thus, the late Umm Saleh donated her corneas to two people, her liver to one person, and her kidneys to two people. If her heart was healthy, she would have donated it as well.
In this regard, I recall a different event when a mother donated her son's organs 35 years ago. I refer to Najma Al-Ya’qoub, the mother of the late priest William Al-Ya’qoub, who was one of the first organ donors at a time when the culture of donation was still nascent. She also donated her brain-damaged son's heart and kidneys which saved the lives of three people. At that time, in 1989, the late King Hussein Ibn Talal, may his soul rest in peace, sent a letter to his mother (who died at the age of 99 in 2017) and to Bishop Salim Al-Sayegh stating, “Blessed is cleric Fr. William Al-Ya’qoub, who dedicated his life to convey the message of love and righteousness and made his death a continuation of this message.”
Today, it has become clear that after 35 years the Christian and Islamic religions encourage free organ donation. We discern that this message is still continuing, and we thank God for all the noble initiatives aimed at encouraging organ donations and making that a prevailing culture and a humanitarian practice, in which the late King said: “it is generosity, righteousness, altruism, and human participation.”
This is an expression of appreciation to the Jordanian national campaign which is designed to encourage organ donation-- whose adopted slogan is, “After Me There is Life” --and which includes relatives of the late Suha, such as Dr. Ghaith Qussous and her nephew journalist Muhannad Qussous, who also appreciated his aunt during the funeral Mass. We, members of the extended Jordanian family, appreciate her nonpareil benevolence in her death, as it is a continuation of the message of motherhood and humanitarian benevolence that she lived on this Earth.
May the Almighty Lord bless Suha and have mercy on her. May many others follow her example her after a long life.