By KRISTEN THOMPSON
In his first online post, Richmond father and new blogger Matthew Chan called his terminal cancer diagnosis the “beginning of another voyage.”
“It's funny that I have no anger and no denial inside me,” he wrote on that day two months ago, just after learning he had less than a year to live. “I did not even ask why.”
When Chan was diagnosed, he was working with SUCCESS on a program called New Life Force to help people cope with life crises, including illness and death.
That irony has not escaped him.
“I found this happened like a plan,” he said. “I didn’t plan for it but someone up there did.”
Chan started his blog, matthew-life-o-life.blogspot.com, to work through his thoughts and fears and said it’s become a life-changing project that lets him connect with other people touched by terminal illness.
“Blogging is … mutually supportive. I find it encouraging because (readers) say they are also trying to rediscover the meaning of their own lives.”
He said there’s no course that teaches us how to cope with the inevitable – the death of our family and our own mortality – and he hopes to promote a more frank discussion of the issue.
“(People) don’t like to talk about death. That makes the end stage of life extremely challenging and difficult,” he said. “Friends say, ‘You’ll be okay.’ (But) it’s denial. The cancer will not go away.”
Chan said while he’s taking his diagnosis in stride, he’s still learning to cope and is finding blessings in the smallest and simplest things.
“I ask myself almost every morning: ‘How I’m going to enjoy today?’ The answer to that question is different for other people. I’m still learning. I can’t do what I did before. I’m reading a lot. I’m reading other peoples’ blogs. I see positive energy from (my) readers. I take that as encouragement.”
He said that while his body weakens, he’s stronger spiritually than he has ever been because of the love he sees from his friends, family and readers.
“I’m touched by a lot of people. And the people I’ve reached out to in my blog, can you thank them for me?” he said, breaking down in tears. “Because some of them I don’t even know.”