The Story of Amir

Amir a life and the greatest gift to all.

The one who (his spirit and memory) will never die

Amir in Arabic means Prince, In Persian it means the one who (his spirit and his memory) will never die.  I had an Amir in my life once…let me tell you about him.  Amir was my Step Son. He was a young man who loved life.  He was a member of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, his choice even though he was raised a catholic, his heritage was Egyptian, both his parents were born in Egypt and Amir was born and raised in Canada.  Every night before he would go to bed he would read his bible.  He was a young man in his 20’s who was so loved by the youth of his church.  He would volunteer his time and teach the kids how to play basketball, he loved basketball and to golf and he was there to help out with Sunday school.  He loved to eat but good food was his choice, I had the pleasure of cooking for him and watching him grow from a teenager, working out as he lived with me and his father for 9 out of the 10 years I knew him and took such good care of his body, he worked out in the gym, he loved to exercise and to play golf and other sports with his friends. He loved to socialize with his friends and those who did not have transportation he would always go pick them up.  His personality and smile were infectious.  

One day on his way from university on the highway to his part time job where he was working as a student and helping patients after open heart surgery his car just spun out of control and flew into the air rolled over into a ditch and life changed for so many of us.

That morning the week before Easter I had heard on the news that the body of a young missing girl had been found by the river on conservation land close to where I lived.  I was upset as I had been following the story and prayed the girl would be found.  I went to get some flowers to take to the site and leave them there for her family to know someone cared.  I was met by police who would not let me any further than the parking lot so I asked the officer to please place these at the location where her body had been found he said he would so I left with feelings of such sadness.

I came home and sat in my kitchen where I could look into the ravine and saw the hawks flying in the sky and the doorbell rang.  I went to answer and a policeman asked if he could come in.  We went into the kitchen and he asked me to sit down as he had bad news for me…..Amir my step son had been in a very bad car accident….he was take to a hospital that specialized in serious head  trauma injuries and that I should call any family and go to the hospital.  I called his father, and he had heard the news from his ex wife and so we all met at the hospital where the news was not so good.

I will spare you the details of his injuries as they were so many and very serious.  We met with the doctors who told us the extent of his injuries that they had done whatever they could for Amir but the prognosis was not good.  Within the hour the waiting room started to fill up with people, family members, family friends, Amir’s friends and this was this way from Monday noon till Wednesday at 5pm…

On the Tuesday morning we my ex husband, his ex wife, my step daughter and I met with doctors who told us that Amir’s condition as deteriorating and that he probably would not make it another day and if he should live it would definitely be in vegetated state as his brain was dying and had we or would we consider organ donation.  The room fell very silent as none of us knew what to say with this news.  Then we all looked at each other and the answer was yes if his brain was to die then we all wanted his good clean healthy organs that he so took good care of to go to someone in need. 

At 3am on Wednesday morning I was alone in the room with Amir as both his Mother and Father were so exhausted they went to get some much needed rest.  The Nurse came in and told me she was going to be running the final test for brain function and I sat and I prayed and I held his hand and I told him how much I loved him for him to forgive me for anything I had ever said or done that may have hurt him and I watched his face and from his right eye a tear just welled up and ran down his cheek….a few moments later the nurse told me that he was clinically brain dead.  I just sat with him in the room and I thought of all the times he had made me smile. All the years I had spent watching this teenager grow up to become a fine young man and now he was gone.  His heart was so strong and beating his body so warm to the touch yet he was gone.  The entire day people came in and out of the room to say good bye to Amir and at 5pm they took him into the operating room and Amir was the first person that a complete harvest of organs and tissue was done on at this Hospital.  I could not leave and a wonderful friend sat with me and I cried and I told her I could not leave not while I knew his heart was still beating so she sat with me and then a doctor came to talk to me and told me that his heart would soon be beating in another and I should go home that Amir was now gone. 

The following morning I sat alone in the kitchen looking out of the window at the hawks that Amir and I used to sit and watch and a conversation came to mind one day when we talked about life after death and we both agreed that we wanted to come back as a hawk or Eagle and soar way up high….

The Saturday Morning of the funeral we went into the church and it was packed and this was not a small place of worship.  It was packed with younger and older people, family, friends, co workers and I sat and I looked around and I realized just how many people this young man had touched in his life…after the service a woman who I remember seeing at the hospital approached me and she told me how sorry she was for our loss and she then told me she knew Amir and I said I know you looked after him she said no I knew him but all the time he was in the hospital she had no idea that it was him because she knew him as “curly” a young kind man who worked in the ICU with patients after they had open heart surgery..She worked part time at the trauma hospital and she had no idea the patient she was looking after was Amir because of the injuries to his head his face he was unrecognizable.  She then told me what a kind and gentle being he was and how the patients always loved when he was working and so did the staff as most of them came to the service or sent cards and letters of condolences.

A couple of months later a letter came addressed to me and in the letter a religious card that I had given to the doctor to put in her pocket who was supervising the surgery of organs to be harvested and I asked her after the surgery to please return it to me as this was my way of in my crazy state of mind at the time to make sure God was with him till the end…..In the letter she told me just how many people had benefited from Amir’s organs and that his liver had gone to two people as a small child had been the recipient of part of it…I was overwhelmed as I read about who had received his major organs and more people would benefit in months to come from bone and tissue.

Why did I write this article? For a few reasons…I do not think a day goes by that I do not think of this young man and what could have been for him.  I know I cried more tears for him than I did for any other loss in my life as his life was cut so very short.  I have had many conversations with God but it is God’s will and we cannot change that. I want you to know that I believe the reason now why this young man took such good care of his body is perhaps that he knew somewhere in his soul he would be giving the gift of life to so many…..The second is because I can now after all these years talk about it and tell you that I know how many people are waiting for a chance at life on the organ donation lists around the world yet so few get the chance because so few people still sign their organ donation cards or talk to their families and tell them what their wishes are.  When you are faced with this decision do the right thing donate organs before it is to late as once the organs die they are of no use to anyone and what a tragedy that is……

On one of my visit’s to Amir’s grave where I do go to be with him still in thought at least, there was a gift for me a Hawk’s feather laying by his head stone…I keep this feather in my bible between the pages he was reading the night before his accident…..The Prince I knew for 10 years of his short life is the one who’s spirit and memory will never die for me at least. Finally I will say that I know how my loss feels but I cannot begin to imagine the loss a biological perent feels when they loose a child at such a young age or at any age.  Rest in Peace Amir Banoub - July 21st 1978 to March 31st 2004 - Also in memory of Cecilia Zhang, her body was found March 27th, 2004 she was 9 years old, May she Rest in peace.