I LOVE this little boy. I have only 'met' him through his poetry, but his courage and strength was such an inspiration to me while I was caring for my mother during her final months. He lived more fully and deeply in his *short life than many people who live to an old age and he experienced more heartache than most people experience in a lifetime. Yet, as his mother wrote, "he somehow balanced pain and fear with optimism and faith, and found reason to celebrate Heartsongs and life and to 'always remember to play after every storm.'"
The book cover below was the design inspiration for my card. If you would like to read his books I recommend that you start with the one edited by his mother after his death since it also contains stories about this amazing child. It's called Reflections of a Peacemaker/A Portrait Through Heartsongs.
There is also an album of Mattie's poems put to music and recorded by Billy Gilman. I love listening to it whenever I need my spirit lifted. You can learn more about Mattie and hear some of it here:
*Mattie died in June of 2004 at the age of 13 from Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy. He was the National Goodwill Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association for three years. The Mattie Fund was established at MDA to specifically continue research of treatments and cures for childhood neuromuscular diseases.