When I was born, my dad's 11 year old youngest brother became an uncle. Matthew was the youngest of eight children. A little bit of a wild child, always looking for adventure and sometimes trouble. I remember him following my pop around. When I think of Matt, I will always see him as a teenager. A tough guy with a big heart. Being the oldest grandchild and he the youngest of my aunts and uncles, I spent a lot of time with him at Grandma John's. Being there with all of my family was one of my favorite places to be. Sometimes I felt like a youngest sister rather than a grandchild. I remember when he started dating Kim. And their wedding was like a storybook fairytale. They had three boys 1.2.3. who were adorable and they worshipped their dad. One of my favorite memories was when I was in college, my girlfriends and I did a little tour of Florida. Matt and Kim had us over for dinner, and he made the best piña coladas ever. He had us laughing with his stories and I'm sure an inappropriate joke or two thrown in as well. And then there is my most recent memory...just this September I got to spend a weekend with him and all the John brothers and sisters at his oldest sonJustin's wedding. Now more than ever, I am so happy I went to Florida that weekend. It was the last time the 8 of them would be together during a happy time. But happy times or sad, they are always there for each other. This past week, they showed their undying love for one another and unbreakable bond as they went to their baby brother's side. They prayed and talked (we all know they love to talk) and held his hand. They cried. And I bet they laughed a few times as they told stories of growing up on Deer Park Road.
They had to do the unimaginable this week. They had to say goodbye to their baby brother. But as my dad said, he believes he is in heaven with grandma and pop. She welcomed him home, and then he and pop went fishing.
He is at peace. Now I pray that we may find peace as we remember him fondly. I pray for Kim that she will always feel the strength of his love. And I pray for his boys that they may hold him in their hearts each and every day and that they always remember what a great dad he is and how proud he is of them.
Goodbye Matthew. Until we meet again...
Goodbye Matthew. Til we meet again.