"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage"
Today, in our little clinic I sat in amongst people whom have suffered greatly yet have shown great courage. Most of these people have lost everything in the blink of an eye, 43 seconds actually. A mother losses 3 children, a child loses his parents, most lose their homes and all lose their sense of security and certainty of the future. Yet all carry on, displaying courage under fire with grace and dignity unparalleled by many in my life (myself included) save expect for a few..and it is the people in my clinic and the small few that have shown me the courage it takes to expand this life into what it really should be..
I first met my friend Matt over 4 years ago when he was admitted to my hospital with the diagnosis of Osteosarcoma. Matt was not unlike most 18 year olds and the last place he wanted to be was in the hospital. But Matt was unlike most 18 year olds in many different ways especially in the way he carried himself. Matt was a sweet kid, he stayed up till all hours of the night with his brother and friends playing cards in the hospital, he went out to a bar after he had just finished his chemo and got into a scuffle because someone was picking on his friend, he smiled most of the time and in the years to come he always remembered that nurses like donuts and whenever he could he always brought us some!
He also looked at life as a gift and he truly lived it to the fullest...he made the Canadian sledge Hockey team, he became an mentor for fellow amputees and he always smiled..
He endured more surgeries then most of us will endure combined in a lifetime some even while training with Team Canada in preparation for the Olympics, 31 weeks of chemo therapy, he had his dream of making the "bigs" crushed, he made decisions about his treatment and life that none of us would ever want or have the courage to make and still he smiled...
Instead of shrinking from life Matt rose to meet it and hit it head on..he showed grace and dignity in everything he did..he was kind and loving and selfless...
Matt lost his battle with Cancer this morning surrounded by his family.
Matt's life was HUGE because of the courage he displayed in all areas of it. He helped expand my life in more ways then he will ever know.
Prior to me coming to Haiti, Matt contacted me about a donation he wanted to make (thinking of others in some of his darkest hours). We had numerous conversations and in his last email to me he told me he admired me and the work I was doing and he hoped that the healing would come, "I really feel that in living I can offer the world more then I can in dying your trip to Haiti has inspired me.."
No Matt, it is you and your courage that have inspired me, the people of Haiti and their courage to move forward with their lives have inspired me. I only hope that I can muster up half the courage you/they have portrayed in this life, but I will try as I promised you I would...
Rest in Peace my friend