FINAL FAREWELL TO MY STUDENT AND MY BEST FRIEND
Today was my / our last chance to stand at attention and bow to a good Master in the Art of Tae Kwon Do. This was not an easy task nor one welcomed but one that was well earned and deserved. Master Madden showed what a Black Belt is. What a Master is in how he lived his life. He fought and never gave up. He was a good husband and father. He was a man you could count on. He was what some try to be.
As you may know Master Michael C Madden fought cancer for 3 years plus. Did you know he was originally given one year to live? Michael never gave up. He kicked rectal cancer to the curb. But he also had liver cancer. This one he got it to submit for a short time.
Things were getting better. When this all started Michael weighed in at 185lbs. He went down to 135 at one point. His weight improved as did his health. He started to practice again. We had hope. We had said many prayers and the Lord listened.
But back in February the Lord started to call Michael. But Michael still did not give up. He kept fighting. He tried a couple of different treatments but the cancer had gotten stronger and Michael was getting weaker. But still he did not give up.
On May 20th Michael was taken to the hospital by his wife Karen. Before they left home he insisted he have his computer bag. Why? Because there was a test in two days and he had for years been the coordinator for tests in West Michigan. Two weeks prior when asked, Michael told me this would be his last test to do. Then he would allow someone to take over.
On May 26th Master Michael Madden was honored in front of his home by more than 100 white belts all the way through 9th Dan Black Belts. He was presented with a 5th Dan Black Belt certificate and Belt. Also presented was his trophy for Black belt of the Year from the West Michigan Tae Kwon Do Association (actually given on 5/21/10). Michael was able sit straight and hold his head high and smile. The TV channel FOX 17 and the GR Press were both there to record this event for history.
On May 27th Master Madden was able to see his oldest daughter, Kelli, marry her fiancé, Robert. Again he was able to sit straight and hold his head high. This moment was one he wanted to have when he learned months ago he did not have much time left here on this Earth.
On Friday morning, May 28th, I stopped and visited Michael and Karen and family on my way to work that day. Many times Michael was my roommate here in the USA and in China. Michael never snored. Friday he was snoring. I mentioned this and my feeling he was now resting well.
When I got out of work I turned on my cell phone and there was one voice mail. “You have one voice mail, phone number 616-540-………”. This was one number I knew and one call I did not want to get, ever. The call was made at 6:34pm on Friday may 28th. I returned the call. Michael had passed about 6:45pm. There was no way I could have gotten to their home but I would have tried had I known earlier.
I raced from work while making several phone calls. My wife and son joined me at Master Madden’s home. No dry eyes there, but relief in knowing that Michael C Madden was now finally at peace. No more pain and discomfort. He was in Heaven with the Ultimate Grand Master.
Over the weekend, supposed to be a holiday weekend, there were three chances for visitation with Michael’s family and friends. We had an Honor Guard of Black Belts at his side. Many people in and out of TKD came to say “Goodbye”. There were many poster boards organized with pictures from his family life and his TKD life. Also on display were his Branch Flag, his 5th Dan Certificate and Belt, his trophy for “2010 BB of the Year”. His Master’s jacket. A plaque presented to Master Madden from Senior Master James Rodgers for all he had done for the Art of Tae Kwon Do and Tae Park Tae Kwon Do.
Today, June 1st, was the funeral ceremony in which he was again honored. I thank his pallbearers Mr. H Tran, Mr. C Nye, Mr. M Tran, Mrs. K Nye, Mr. P La Vigne, Mrs. D Houseman, all Master Madden’s students, who were lead by Master R Wrona. Thank you to all the TKD students who took time and made a corridor of honor for the passing of Master Madden. Thank you Mr. L Brewer for the TV contacts that allowed many not present in person to see and honor Master Madden in their own ways.
I presented Mrs. Madden with Master Madden’s 5th Dan certificate and Grand Master Park presented her with his trophy for “BB of the Year 2010”.
I sincerely thank Grand Master Park for joining me in honoring Master Madden today, as well as Junior Grand Masters Warren and Barss, Senior Masters Anderson, Rodgers, and Ensing, Masters Arthur, Bowhuis, Heglund, M Klingebeil, Lofquist, Lucas, Oring, Vora, Wrona. Hope I did not miss any Masters and if I have I apologize. Thank you to all the students that joined us at the cemetery.
I will miss my student, fellow Master and best friend. One added thing I offer about Master Madden. In all of his 21 years in TKD he only caused me one small “headache”. He helped relieve many of them for me. Master Madden was always there to help in whatever manner he could. I wish I could have more like Michael.
Goodbye Michael but Never Forgotten
Junior Grand Master Good