That quote illustrates the way Mattison Jay Mansfield lived. Jay was one to pull himself up by his own bootstraps. Many testimonies have been posted since his passing caused by a stroke, and complicated by having been diabetic since childhood. Type 1 diabetes is nothing to take lightly, and Jay fought valiantly to the end.
He would be the first to tell you he was not fighting for himself but for his beloved wife Nicki and his two sons. Through the years, he helped others through the chat medium on the web to fight their own demons, their disillusionment, their fears, but never spread around all that he was privy to, nor the advice he freely gave.
My sister Jacquelyn (Carroll) MacGibbon, called him her "Red Warrior" because he would take on battles with anyone he felt was being unfair to someone else. Standing up for someone and giving them a pat on the back was daily activity for him. He, quite simply and without fanfare, made a difference in people's lives.
When the time came to be that his own family was beginning to appear, no one could have been more delighted. His poetry that was often exciting and filled with dangerous action, became poems of looking forward, of making a real future for his family. The welcoming of his first son was recorded in "Daddy," a poem that was also read at his last services.
Daddy thinks that you’re the world
With out you
Here you are….I waited all my life to see
Daddy thinks that you're the world
With out you there’s no me…
With out you
With out you
His encouragement of others was not only on the web, but on the playing fields where he liked coaching youngsters. He and wife Nicki both enjoyed being mentors to the kids that played on their teams.
He loved the water and enjoyed being out on it, living on the North Carolina coastline was his ideal place. He once said if he could breathe water, he'd live in it.
When the diabetes claimed his limbs, he didn't give up. He proceeded to work with the therapists and only another amputee could fully understand the pain involved. Yet, he stayed courageous.
On September 3rd, he emailed me a poem for Pencilstubs titled "Sob." I was surprised by the name, but reading through the verses showed his bravery was intact, blooming even. I let him know but did not get a response that it would be in the October issue. There is no doubt who was in his heart and mind as he wrote it.
I was completely shocked and dismayed when I learned of his passing, but here is his poem.
as I sit here and sob
how could they be so wrong
all these people who prop me up
I'm so far from strong
forgive me as I sit here and cry
first my body then my mind
one thing after another betrays me
often in my darkness I wonder why I try
again I sob,
my doubt recoils like a gun
hearing the sound of my boys
I hide my eyes
I am still daddy
suck it up buttercup
I am daddy
I have advice to give
Jay's bio and a clickable list of his poetry published by Pencilstubs can be found here.
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