Thursday, October 1, 2015

Tribute: Mattison Jay Mansfield aka FireEagle

MJ Mansfield

“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.” ― August Wilson
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.

                                                     Jay and Nikki
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.

                                                         Jay and family
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
Daddy thinks that it’s all you
Daddy thinks that you’re the world..
Here you are almost two now..
Daddy thinks it’s all you
With out you daddy’s got nothing to do..
With out you
I’m not me
It’s easy to see..

With out you
There’s no daddy…

Here you are….I waited all my life to see
Out by the road throwing sticks
You look so grown..
Here you are ..
Only six
Daddy’s not daddy with out you boy…

Daddy thinks that you’re the world….
Daddy thinks that you're the world
Daddy thinks that it’s all you
Daddy thinks that you’re the world..

With out you there’s no me…
It takes two for me to be complete…
Daddy’s boys….
Daddy’s boys…
I don’t know who’s growing older faster….
Oh lord how long will this last…
Watching you play..running faster and faster
I feel older day by day…watching time slip away…
I feel younger with you with me….
I see grown ups staring back at me…
Here you are almost two….
There you are….6 and almost grown….
Daddy thinks that you’re the world
Daddy thinks that it’s all you
Daddy thinks that you’re the world..
Daddy’s not daddy with out you boys…
Daddy thinks that you’re the world…

With out you
I’m not me
It’s easy to see..
With out you
There’s no daddy…

©4-25-08 MJMansfield

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.

Oh God, do I try
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
and things to cheer about
occasionally coaching from the sidelines
this is why I live
if I can help them with my hard won knowledge
to give them all I can give
and I cry. God I love these kids
today,again, I don't quit
I'll endure any pain for any length
I may not feel like one but I show them how to live as winners
and I sit here and sob
god I love these kids
I shake it off and one more time I show them
daddy doesn't quit
in a world gone soft
here comes the next generation of winners and rulers

©9/02/2015 MJMansfield

Jay's bio and a clickable list of his poetry published by Pencilstubs can be found here.
Easter with Mansfield Family

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