Rose Matthews Was a Life Truly Lived
By Lisa Bedotto Laughlin
the value of a life? And how does one know if a life was lived well?
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
When I told her mom the story, she said that many people have said
the same thing to her, Morgan finally hugged them recently.
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.
Bedotto Laughlin lives in Reno, Nevada. This first ran in the Reno
Gazette Journal and is reprinted with the author’s permission.