Matthew left us today at 11:30. We took all of the tubes out of his throat so he was comfortable, and the doctors gave him a lot of Morphine and Atavan so he didn't feel any pain. After he was unplugged from everything, it only took him about ten minutes to let go. It was so peaceful, and he wasn't alone. He had my parents right there by his head whispering loving words, and he had me to hold his hand. I know that he went with the knowledge that his family loves him, and I know that there were angels in that room with us to take him to his eternal home. I also know that he'll always be with us in spirit, and that he'll be with Chad in Spain helping him with his mission. Watching him pass was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life, and I know it was probably a million times harder for my parents than it was for me. After he was gone though, I had such a feeling of peace. I know where he went, and knowing that is what gave me that warm feeling after he left. I can't even explain how that felt, but I can picture him with his Father in Heaven and all of the angels up there doing amazing things. I know he is happier than any of us can even imagine. After he passed, I was told that now he can be with me constantly to torment me. Knowing Matthew, that is probably exactly what he'll be doing, and I welcome that. I also know that he'll be there when it is my parent's time, my time, Chad's and Hannah's time to bring us home.
Throughout this whole cancer experience, especially in this last week, we have been praying and praying for a miracle. I've been thinking a lot about how this miracle never came, but now I realize that Matthew was the miracle. His life was the biggest miracle I have ever witnessed. He constantly lived a righteous life, and he was so strong in his last months. It was amazing to watch him fit so much fun into the months since he was diagnosed. Even when he was really sick, he still made it to parties, volleyball games and the movie theatre. Every Sunday he was healthy enough to come to church, he would bless the Sacrament and carry out his other priesthood duties. He is our miracle.
I've also been thinking a lot about my mom today. I know this is the hardest thing she has ever had to go through, and I know it will take a long time to heal, but she got to spend really good quality time with him. She got to spend hours and hours with him ever day in the clinic during chemo therapy, she got to spend time with him when he was neutropenic, and in his last days she got to spend hours whispering her love into his ear. I know this is hard as a mother, but at least she got that. It amazes me about what an eternal perspective her and my dad are having on this as well. My dad tells me all the time that Matthew leaving us is going to make him work 100 times harder to live worthy so he can be with his son again. He knows that we will be with Matthew again, and that we will be so happy. So this is now our perspective. When Matthew first started fighting I made wristbands that said, "Fight for Matthew." That's what we always said, and wearing those bands gave us strength. Now that the fighting is over though, we need to live for Matthew. We need to live for him to honor his amazing memory and to be able to remember that families are eternal and we are sealed to him.
There will be a funeral this coming Friday for Matthew. We don't have details like place or time yet, but I will post that when it's finalized. If you decide to come to the funeral, I just ask you to wear bright colors. It's a sad time because he has left us, but we're celebrating his life, not mourning his death. As his sister, I know he would want this too.
Our family thanks everyone who has, and continues to love, support and pray for us.
Chad, be strong while you serve the Lord. We love you so much, and Matthew does too. He carried your tag with him everywhere he went, and I know he's going to tag along with you in Spain like he tagged along with you while you were home. I know you understand as well as all of us where he is now. Hold on to that. We love you.