NRL News

Morgan Rose Matthews Was a Life Truly Lived

by | Mar 18, 2015

By Lisa Bedotto Laughlin

Editor’s note. As we’ve discussed all this week,World Down Syndrome Day is annually observed on March 21 to raise public awareness of and about Down syndrome. We will be posting new and previously posted stories over the next week in anticipation. This beautiful tribute first ran in 2009.

lifevalue33What is the value of a life? And how does one know if a life was lived well?

One life I know that was lived far beyond what most of us can achieve was the life of Morgan Rose Matthews, the beautiful daughter of Joe and Missy.

Morgan was a Down syndrome child, a child whose life might easily have been discounted in a time when people strive for perfection, whether it be physical, academic, or professional. She was a child whose life could have been discarded. But instead, God delivered Morgan to the Matthews family, who recognized that she was absolutely perfect, just as she was.

Morgan died recently, at the age of 16, but, in those short years, she touched many hearts in a way that sets her far apart from the rest of us. Never have I met someone who gave love so freely and accepted love in return so completely. She was always hugging someone … just not me.

You see, I didn’t know Morgan well. To her, I was simply another mom in the hallway at school, another face saying hello at church. But I learned more about love from Morgan than anyone I’ve ever known.

The lessons she taught were evident at her packed funeral vigil. From the Bishop Manogue High School boy she had a crush on, to the Reno High nurse, family friends, and priests, everyone seemed to have a story, a memory, or a feeling about Morgan. It was as if we were all flowers that needed pollen, and she was the bee, flying from person to person spreading her love. Because of her pure heart and abundant joy, we all bloomed more beautifully.

I believe Morgan came to Earth to teach us a lesson–the lesson of unconditional love. She came to tell us that we’re called to love with our entire heart and soul. She needed to remind us not to judge one another but to accept one another exactly as we are. She came to remind us that it’s the simple things in life that really matter. And she needed to show us that we can only find peace through unconditional love.

I am so grateful for her life. And I am most grateful for the hug she gave me recently after years of seeing me. I admit it. I had been a bit jealous of all those other people she hugged. Finally, she hugged me.

What joy! When I told her mom the story, she said that many people have said the same thing to her, Morgan finally hugged them recently.

Perhaps Morgan knew she would be called home soon and so many of us still needed that healing love of hers. So, in those last months of her life, she set out to spread her love more widely and warmly than ever before. Thank you, Morgan.

Editors note. This first ran in the Reno Gazette Journal and was first reprinted with the author’s permission.

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Categories: Down Syndrome