Surfing Ambassador/World Champion

During her second week in the hospital a friend came to visit. Our friend said, “I have a message from Mathew.”

One bolt of lightning hit the hospital, one clap of thunder, out of a cloudless sky.

I have a message from Mathew. He said he made a mistake and wants you to forgive him – what he did was an accident.


One bolt of lightning.

Did it make it easier to accept?  No. But it did give a connection to the after life, that our life on earth is not all we have. Knowing that Mathew was still with us in spirit gave us both the strength to move forward and that moment of light was a turning point. I reread the essay Mathew had read to me on the day he died.

The light shines ahead. The light shines ahead.

His words of hope resonated deeply with me and do so every day.

Life was very hard but each day made the pain a little less severe and my wife and I grew closer. It was like two trees had fallen in a storm and in the process of falling, toppled against one other and stayed up and then grew together, ever closer.

Through all the pain, we did have that hope that one day we would be a family again. We missed being a family

On the 25th of August we received a phone call out of the blue that would change our lives.

A baby boy had been born just before midnight the previous day. Were we interested in adopting?

We both immediately said yes.

The baby was born a month premature – the date of birth was supposed to have been 25th September. The 25th of September!? That was Mathew’s birthday. Carla said, “This is our baby, that is a sign from God.”

We got another call back immediately telling us that she had planned to call the baby Mathew. We knew the baby had to be ours now! The next morning she made her decision and we had our baby. We drove up to the hospital immediately in a state of delirious happiness, the light shining ahead of us.

We arrived at the hospital and were told to proceed directly to the nursery before meeting the woman who would share the precious gift of her child.

We went up to her room and walked in and met her for the first time and looked at her lying on her bed like an angel, because that’s what she was. She was our angel, come to share a gift from God. I looked at her, and we all hugged together and all felt right with our lives – we were surrounded by this incredible warmth and emotion. She asked if our baby was beautiful and we said he was and we thanked her for her trust and the amazing gift of our child, for sharing with us what was most precious to her.

I looked at her lying on the bed and I felt like I was looking at my wife’s twin sister – the resemblance was uncanny and quite took my breath away and Carla’s as well. We all hugged and left. She asked us the baby’s name, because she wanted him to be born with our name. “We like Luke,” we said. “It just feels right.” That day, on the drive home Carla and I were overjoyed.  Let’s check what Luke means.

Mathew’s name meant “Gift from God.”

Luke’s name means: “Light or Bringer of Light.” Luke is the bringer of light. He has brought the light to us again just like Mathew wrote.

The light shines ahead. The light shines ahead.

My wife and I have been blessed with Luke. We have found our way though the darkness and into the light. And my son’s words helped me survive.

There is a lot of goodness in this world. There is a lot of goodness all around us, and we all have this light inside of us.  And this light shines through to the world and people around us, in our attitude.

It is up to each and every one of us whether we wish to shine this light on the road ahead and illuminate the way forward, towards a better future, for all of us. I’d like us all to consider the simple question: What is your attitude?

It is an answer, a choice without any shades of grey, without nuance, without complexity.

Light or darkness.

Positive or negative.

This I know.

Shaun Tomson is an ambassador for The Surfrider Foundation and a member of’s Advisory Board. He recently developed a new surfboard with Al Merrick called The Warp, released an iPhone app called Surf Creatures, and enjoys contributing to inspiring projects.

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