Lakeville dad Matt Ettl shares his faith through loss

Devastation of Alyssa Ettl’s death multiplied by more tragedy

The devastating 2013 death of Matt Ettl’s youngest child was followed by more tragedy for the Lakeville husband and father.

Matt Ettl, Lakeville, shares with his All Saints Catholic Church family how  much his faith in Jesus has carried him through devastating circumstances. Photo by Laura Adelmann
Matt Ettl, Lakeville, shares with his All Saints Catholic Church family how much his faith in Jesus has carried him through devastating circumstances. Photo by Laura Adelmann

Matt Ettl last week detailed the struggles he and his family have faced and shared the faith he said carried him through.

Within months of Alyssa Ettl’s Dec. 4, 2013, death in a car accident, a close friend of Matt Ettl’s died of a massive heart attack at the age of 51.

Two months later, his mother died and that same week, the family learned his sister-in-law had breast cancer.

While his sister-in-law is now doing well, on Nov. 15, 2014, Matt Ettl was diagnosed with multiple melanoma, a blood cancer.

“God has been a rock for our family,” Matt Ettl told fellow believers during a Sept. 16 All Saints Catholic Church festival.

The family has belonged to the parish for 19 years. It was the place where Alyssa Ettl learned about Jesus, grew in her faith and taught Sunday school.

The popular, active Lakeville North High School junior, known for her generosity and caring, died when she lost control of her car on Dodd Boulevard and slid through the slush sideways into oncoming traffic.

Matt Ettl described the three years since her death as “filled with tragedy and loss” for their family, but said through it all he has been blessed.

He described times of sorrow, pain and despair, but said the trials he has gone through never caused him to lose faith in God.

“It’s part of God’s plan for me,” Matt Ettl said. “I guess they say if it doesn’t kill ya, it makes ya stronger. I’m still here.”

He said he has been hospitalized, has tolerated chemotherapy treatments fairly well and is planning to undergo two stem-cell transplants next year.

“It’s just a lifestyle,” Matt Ettl said. “You work through it day by day.”

He encouraged listeners to plan more for what will happen after death and embark on their faith journey.

“God’s always there for you and wants to be on that journey with you,” he said.

He said every day, he thanks the Lord for everything he has, both good and bad.

“My mom always taught me to offer the good things up and thank the Lord for them, but sometimes you have to offer up the bad things that happen to you, too. He’s got big shoulders. He can take care of it.”