In 2003, Matthieu Lerdu, a farmer at heart, was the victim of an accident which left him quadriplegic during his vacation on the Ile de Ré. From that moment on, supported by his family and his “band of friends”, he would never stop “walking again”. A whirlwind of hope that will not make him abandon his farm and even buy an ambulance company “to be better transported”. To share his experience, the farmer is releasing a book on February 2 entitled “It is at the bottom of the abyss that hope is born” (Selena edition) on the first ten years of his fight.
At 57 years old, in his wheelchair, Matthieu Lerdu has a strong look, a strong temperament and a determined appearance. Passionate about hunting and good food in excellent company, “before, I was a different man. Nothing scared me. I benefited from the work of my elders and followed in their footsteps.”
In August 2003, “it’s hot, very hot, so hot”. On the deck of a boat, he wanted to enjoy the water. During a dive, his head hit a sandbar. He woke up in Poitiers “where I remained in a coma for three weeks, then I was transferred to Garches. From that moment on, I became a disabled person. Very surrounded, I received a lot of empathy from the hospital world with the message that I would get through it,” says the author.
“I only thought about that, leaving…”
However, the weeks pass, and in his head, a litany has taken over: “I have only one desire left, and that is to go and find in the afterlife everyone I have known and who left our world. When you’re screwed, all you want to do is leave. Locked in my body and my distress, I only thought of that. Just leave.”
It is back at home that Matthieu Lerdu takes over with one goal, “to walk again”. To do this, for years he made numerous trips throughout France, including dozens to Lourdes, to meet promising doctors, alternative medicines and immerse himself in faith: “I looked for answers and solutions everywhere. It may seem ridiculous, but it’s when everything is going well that we have the luxury of believing in nothing. After my meeting with a fortune teller in Tours, I believed in myself, in others, in my goal. Afterwards, call it believing in God if you want. All of this helped show me that disability can seem dark, but if you stare at the bright spot of hope, it will light up your life. Today, I am in good condition thanks to this faith in myself, that of fighting, that of the people I met and not just that of the church.”
The 216 pages also recount the ups and downs of this decade, “these moments of doubt, because we are human and we cannot always be on top. That’s the whole point of this very cash book, without any romance. To cause a stir, to shock, to make myself taken for a crazy person to make people understand that we can do it, that there is a parallel world and I am convinced of it. That’s what saved me. He is also there to thank family and friends. If I manage to reach just one person with a disability, it will be a great satisfaction,” proclaims the entrepreneur.
Not to give up
Written in 2013, the book was only supposed to be released “when I was up and independent. I have been standing for a long time in my head, but there is still a way to go for my limbs.” Ten years have passed when we close this personal and spiritual story, “ten years where I did not think about the past. Only to be standing. That of a desire not to give up. I hope this will give hope to others and not necessarily in my situation even if I am convinced that disability is disturbing.”
Already back in the management of his companies which have twelve employees and for a session of rehabilitation with the exoskeleton at the Musse hospital, Matthieu Lerdu also wants to affirm “that we can completely live like a business manager. Today, I come across as courageous to some. My disability did not penalize me. I have my two boots in the ground and my head up there. My disability made me see things differently”.
Practical. “It is at the bottom of the abyss that hope is born” by Matthieu Lerdu from Selena éditions – 216 pages – 22 euros.