“My name is Tom. I am a critical care nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital.  Part of my job is to work on a team called SWAT, it is a team that responds to emergencies in the hospital and helps nurses and patients with special needs.  On September 21st I was told about a patient that was experiencing some symptoms and asked to keep an eye on the patient.  That patient was Matt Abati.

I met Matt around 8 p.m.  I just stopped by to see how he was doing and he let me know he was doing great.  My partner and I did a complete chart review and made sure everything was in order and followed up with the physician to let him know that we were following Matt and made some suggestions to assist in Matt’s care.

While I was in Matt’s room, I took some time to get to know him better.  As I have moved on in my career it has become important for me to know my patients, Matt was an open book and I was listening.  He told me about Notre Dame and that the game was on the next night.  How he worked as a trainer and made a difference with kids.  I noticed a tattoo on his arm that simply said “love yours.”  It struck a note with me and I asked Matt what the significance was.  He told me it means “love whatever you have, for however long you have it, no matter what it is.”  These words were so amazingly powerful to me, in fact they haunted me over the next few days.  These words are so profound, simply “love yours.” I joked with him about it, saying “imitation is the best form of flattery, I may end up having that tattoo myself on day!” He laughed and said “go for it.” 

I knew Matt Abati for only 24 hours and in fact directly for only 12 hours.  The next morning Matt got really sick and our conversations went from him coaching me on life to me coaching him on life.  He was accepting everything that came his way with such courage and strength.  He was grateful for the life he had and the people he loved more than anyone I’ve met.  His message still rings with me today and every day, Love Yours especially today because you never know when your last minute, hour, day, week or moment could happen.  Matt changed me as a person by just being the most kind and genuine young man and he did this at the toughest time in his life.  I am honored to have the privilege of knowing Matt even if it was for a few hours. ”

“I wanted to reach out and thank you for sending my son Michael (Mikey) to the winter camp during the winter break. We met Matt last April when my son started his workouts there and Matt was his trainer.  I went to the wake.  I am sorry I didn’t stay to meet you personally that evening. I am very grateful, my son got to work with Matt at ASD for the short months we had with him. He also spent time with him over the summer camp.  We miss him.  I am so sorry for your loss but what a wonderful man Matt was and we are just so grateful to have had the pleasure of meeting him.” – Chris, parent 

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