died on April 7th, 1998, and even as she died, she taught us about life.
She taught us about compassion and courage and creativity. About how to
care for those who struggle and how to laugh in the face of absurdity.
She taught us to walk lightly through our lives, leaving the marks of our
footsteps behind us. She taught us by showing us how she lived and
how she died.
Climbing a mountain
in Austria was one of Maddy’s dreams, and after four years of climbing
the rough face of another type of mountain, Ewing’s Sarcoma, she has reached
its summit. Through her vantage point on the very top, I believe that she
can see the majesty of a world that she touched so gently and changed so
Maddy’s music and her
poetry and her incredible zest for living...her writing and her humor,
her gift for making the best of every situation and her passion to
fix the world and make it a softer place are a legacy that she leaves us
all. She lives forever in memories tucked away and in her words on
the World Wide Web. Words with such power that we will feel them, and find
comfort in them, and listen to them echo from that very grand mountain
peak...a peak that separates what we know from what we have yet to learn.
The philosopher Kahlil
Gibran wrote of death, and his words remind me of Maddy. I have a hunch
that she would have loved them.
“For what is it to
die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is
it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides, that
it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered? Only when you drink from
the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the
mountaintop, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim
your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”