I can't even believe today marks nine years since I heard you laugh, watched you pace the floor while you talked on your phone. My heart hurts just as much today as it did then. Can I just erase September first from the calendar? It wouldn't make much difference though, you would still be missing from us.
Every year, on this day, I think I'm going to be ok. Then my mind is flooded with memories of those last few hours that you were among us, the living.
I remember how I spotted your car at grandma's so I stopped in to see you. You were on the phone, so I said that I would talk with you later. You held up your finger and said, "Hold on, mom, just a minute." I waited for about ten more minutes. You were still talking on your phone about some city council business. I said, "Matt, I've got to go. I will speak to you later. I love you."
Oh my God, How I wish I would have just STAYED until you got off the phone. I can never redo those precious few minutes. These are the incessant thoughts and memories that take over my mind. I am always playing tug of war in my head with the negative thoughts as I try to replace them with the positive memories of the fact that I did stop in to see you. Not ever knowing that it would be the last time I would see you alive.
The trauma of this day haunts our family. I know that we have made it a point to pull out any and all positive, love, and healing that we can muster. I thank God for that.
Our daughters have struggled more than I will probably ever really know. I wish that I could have protected them from the harsh reality of violence, pain, and trauma. We can't. This is what happened. This is going on everywhere and all the time. The violence is out of control.
How can we and anyone else affected by this violence continue to move forward each and every day in such a way that will help us and also be of service to others? With the love and support of family and friends, we have been able to do just that. This has to be the focus for our family.
Yes, we are devastated, angry and sad that Matthew is no longer here with us living his life. Matt was striving and working hard to make a difference in our community. He also witnessed the violence and the trauma it causes families and loved ones forever. He made it a point to step up to the plate and face the scourge of violence in our community. The irony is not lost on him!
So, here we are another year without our Matt. What are we doing to heal? What are we doing to help others?
We have been willing to slow down and really see and hear people. We have opened our hearts and our minds to love and to meet people where they are. Most of the time we are able to find hope and love in our sadness and despair. I'm forever grateful for all the love, support, hope, and comfort we receive on a daily basis. Thank you, all <3
God, clear my mind and heal my heart. Guide my thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. Give me the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the words to speak. Thank you, Amen