PCOM Georgia students and faculty recognized those who are still affecting the world after their lives have ended.

The school held its annual memorial Mother’s Day weekend to honor the families and memories of people who donated their bodies to science. Students and faculty shared breakfast and words of gratitude with families of the donors, and they also offered flowers and roses to the families.

There were also 43 candles lit in honor of each individual, and families were presented with the physical cremains.

“Candles represent enlightenment, encouragement, spiritual clarity and reassurance,” Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Council President Phi Tran said in a press release. “These candles symbolize the memory of your loved ones and the lives that they so graciously shared with us.”

The service was planned by medical, physician assistant and physical therapy students and provided a time for family members to eulogize their loved ones while also showing an empathic side to the medical field.

“This weekend is emotional for me,” Joseph Dennis, the son of donor Carolyn Geter of Macon, said in a press release. “It gives me solace that my mother is leaving a lasting legacy. This was what she wanted. I’m grieving for her, honoring her and extremely proud of her that she could leave such a gift.”

Donors provide invaluable experience for students studying the human body.

“From an anatomy textbook, you can learn the names of muscles, memorize the locations of arteries, make a list of nerves,” Assistant Professor of Anatomy Michael Selby said. “But you don’t get a sense of how they fit together without seeing them for yourself.

“You then realize that the human body is amazingly intricate.”