It has been just over a month since my brother Matt’s departure from this world. Our family is still struggling to adjust to a life without Matt’s presence. Even though he only visited home (R.I.) for a couple of weeks out of the year, Matt was always here. As many as you know, his technology (phone and computer) allowed him to stay personally connected to many all over the world. Almost on a daily basis, Matt would call, Skype, FaceTime or email. After the call, we were usually laughing, smiling or talking about something he had said or done.
Matt lived his life as if it were an adventure and through his work invited many others to ride along with him. Matt could replace the reasons you couldn’t do things with the actual plans that made things happen. He loved to create experiences! As kids, Matt managed to get my grandparents to take us to places like New York, Washington, Florida and Hawaii. He had lobbied for a Europe-10 country in two week-tour but settled for Hawaii. (My grandparents were in their 70’s!). At 15, he managed to get my parents to let him go to Brazil for a year. At that point he didn’t speak Portuguese! (Mom will tell you that they never thought he would get picked and that things were different then!)
Matt talked me, my family (his nephews were 5 & 7) and sister into going to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Of course we had to go the day before so that we could do some NYC sightseeing and watch them blow up the huge character balloons in freezing weather. (Me and Kathy inherited more of the “practical genes” but Matt somehow knew how to change our minds!). When my sons were 8 and 10, he talked us (my family & my parents) into a trip to his home in Madrid. Even while he was on break, he gave us our own private tour of Southern Spain!). It was a trip that my family will never forget. My parents then went on to travel with Matt on his tours in Spain and Egypt. They were amazed at the way he “performed” his job and the places that were part of his routine. Dad was so proud of the number of people that knew and respected Matt. During his visit in July, Matt was still casting his travel “spells” when he told my mom that she should visit him in Jordan with my youngest son Morgan (12).
It is easy to to think about what we have lost but I am trying to focus on what we were given. Matt was a great son, brother, uncle and friend but more importantly he was an extraordinary human being. He was generous, kind, considerate and thoughtful. His life was much shorter than any of us would have imagined but his impact on those who knew him was enormous. Matt taught us to respect people regardless of where they were from, what they looked like or what they believed in. Matt taught us to say “I Love You!” He ended every conversation and every visit with these words. It was heartfelt and real. He taught us how to hug. When he arrived or was leaving, Matt would wrap you in his arms, kiss your cheek and share a personal message. (So nice seeing you, Thanks so much, You are doing a great job, Have fun in school, See you soon, I love you!”). Matt’s hugs left you feeling connected and loved.
So to honor Matt, I would ask that you be kind and respectful to others. Tell those that you love, that you love them! Hug your friends and family like you mean it or like you are going on tour for the next couple of months! Most importantly, celebrate life with adventures.
It is these adventures that will impact you as well as those around you.
Thanks Matt for the adventures!
Save us seats on the “Heaven’s Tour!”
Life is Good!
We love you and miss you.
Ryan, Sean & Morgan