When I founded The Catholic Geeks, I started by inviting eight people I knew to be both enthusiastic and opinionated about their faith and their fun. Only six of them were able to commit to even irregular writing on this new venture. One of the two who had to decline was Vanessa, as she was preoccupied with a much more pressing matter: her husband, Matt, was battling cancer.
Last night, cancer won.
I never knew Matt very well, but I’d known Vanessa for a while online. I first bumped into her when she commented on my other blog, Novel Ninja, followed by an hours-long chat where we discovered not only shared interests but also shared memberships. We’re both members of the Catholic Writers Guild and the Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance, as well as (now that I’ve joined it) The Royal Manticoran Navy: The Official Honor Harrington Fan Association. She has also been an enthusiastic gamer, and was very hopeful she could find time to join my weekly over-webcam game, played with three other Catholic Geeks authors.
Things were looking up. Matt got discharged from the hospital, and was feeling well enough that he got back on Facebook and even started coding a replacement for our current netcast radio show. It didn’t look like it was going to be easy, but he was recovering and seemed optimistic.
But, last week, Vanessa told everyone that the diagnosis had changed. Matt had two weeks to live.
Two weeks turned out to be only one.
I know one cancer survivor: Jason, who’s also in my gaming group. I really wanted to add another name to that exclusive club. Instead, the name’s gone to another list: the list of people I’ve known who have lost the fight with cancer.
If you want to help out, another author friend has volunteered to collect donations. I’ll just quote Declan’s message to the Catholic Writers Guild:
CWG member Vanessa Landry has just lost her husband Matt. One of my other groups, the Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance, is passing the hat to help with the funeral and everything else that’s coming her way.
If you, too, would like to contribute to CLFA Landry relief efforts can make a donation to the PayPal account of author Kia Heavey, (email@example.com). It MIGHT be open past Monday, Nov. 23rd, but right now, that’s the projected cut off date. If donations keep coming, it might be extended, or become a weekly deposit to Vanessa.
Vanessa and Matt have lots of friends, but they could always use more. If you want to send support, whether in the form of money, well-wishes, or prayers, please feel free to do so. Especially the latter, as I suspect that’s what they both want most of all.
Into your hands, O Lord, we humbly entrust our brothers. In this life, you embraced him with your tender love; deliver him now from every evil, and bid him eternal rest.
The old order has passed away: welcome him into paradise, where there will be no sorrow, no weeping or pain, but fullness of peace and joy with your Son and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever.
All-powerful and merciful God, we commend to you Matthew, your servant. In your mercy and love, blot out the sins he has committed through human weakness. In this world he has died: let him live with you forever.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
So sad! I never interacted with Matt, but have become FB friends with Vanessa. This group, the CLFA, is one of caring and love–we share bonds of interests and debate, cordial and sometimes heated, but we are a community of loving souls–profound sadness will be with us today and the next few.
We are also strong religious folks (for the most part) and we pray Matt’s pain was eased and we know that he is healed by our Father in heaven. We pray that God grant Vanessa and the family ease of their grief and pain–we know that pain and want so much for it to be brief but we also know, that this pain continues, time really doesn’t heal it–only faith can ease it.
My thoughts and prayers are with Vanessa, her family and friends–Matt will live forever in their hearts I’m sure!
I’m so sorry to read this, even though I knew it was coming. I didn’t know Matt well, but Vanessa is a good online friend. I will be praying for Matt, that he is in a special room prepared especially for him by Jesus. And I will pray for Vanessa, to feel comfort and love.
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I do not yet know Vanessa Matt, neither did I know Matt but I will keep both in my prayers. Thank you for letting us know.