Here's the e-mail I sent the Anatomical Donations Coordinator on Monday:
I just picked up my father's cremains from Mountain View Mortuary. My sister and I were wondering what use the medical school made of his body. Given the timing, he obviously wasn't used as a medical-school cadaver -- after my phone conversation with you last March, I know that was doubtful anyway -- but was he indeed used to help train flight surgeons, as you had said he might be?And here's the response I got today:
Any information you can give us would be most appreciated. We miss our father very much, and it would be healing for us to know how his donation was used, so we can more precisely picture how he will help others after his death.
Thank you for your e-mail. Your father's remains were utilized during a summer session by 4th year medical students who will be going into surgery. Please know that his unselfish gift will indeed further medical education in a most significant manner.This is a huge relief to me. Dad did some good even after his death, which would have pleased him, and I'll get to go to the med school memorial service. I hope Liz will be able to make it out too, but since she teaches until late June, that's probably not possible.
Our annual memorial service will be in the spring 2010 and I will be sending out invitations in late March with the details. I encourage you and your sister to attend as it is a lovely event that helps family members with closure in the death of their loved one.
I'd had a horrible vision of their not being able to use Dad at all, of his body just going to waste. I'm so glad that didn't happen.