Last week I was chatting with Deaglan’s friend’s Dad about what a great age our kids are at. His daughter Olivia and my son have been friends since they began daycare almost three years ago, and we were wistful in our hope that they might remain close throughout their lives.
Mid conversation I had an overwhelming need to incorporate Matthew. The feeling was not unlike the urge I had that last time I drank gin at the Keg Restaurant across from the Pen Centre in St. Catharines in 1992. After several gin and tonics, the push to vomit mid-sentence stood me up, forced me to zigzag to the lady’s room, tasting gin for the last time.
I say it was a similar sensation only because it came out of nowhere and I had no power to stop it. Suddenly the missing of Matthew was too much to bear alone. Reflecting on our preschoolers’ friendship reminded me of Matthew and Libby. They’d been friends since they were toddlers and were bonded in closeness throughout their lives. He stood up as groomsman in her wedding and later held her newborn baby only a week before he died. I’d been thinking about their relationship lately and wanted that for Deaglan and Olivia, reasoning that if I was closer to it this time around, it would reconcile the loss of my brother a little.
And I also wanted an excuse to remember him out loud. It’s the thing about losing someone I’ve noticed most. It’s tough to talk about and nobody ever brings it up. It’s like people think asking you – hey how are you doing with all of that? – will crumple you into a heap, spilling out all of your grief at their feet, leaving them speechless and at a loss.
Bereavement on this scale scares people silent.
These days when I think about him I remember some of the best stuff. Like how much fun we had laughing at nonsense. Machine-gun laughter, interjected by one of us upping the ante with something even more absurd, both of us throwing back our heads; bursting peals of giggles.
I think about how he enabled me to see with my soul, that even though I was the visible minority, it was from his life that I learned the most. He stretched my arms out to embrace the gay community, understand what a difficult time it could be to live your truth. His presence made certain the fact that God adores every single one of his children equally.
It broke my heart that Matthew often thought otherwise of himself.
And I am so grateful that still, every few nights, in my dreams, his little boy face is on my son’s body, so that I have the pleasure of seeing him again, in all of his childlike glory. How when I wake,I am bathed in the knowing that he is never far from my heart, watching over us from Heaven like the bright star he’d been to me in this life.
It made me want to list some of the other things I was grateful for:
11. the chill in the air
12. Watching little boys eat ice cream
13. Clearance rack deals
14. Talking to my Dad
15. Bloggy friends from all over this world
16. Deaglan's reasoning last night for wanting to sleep in our bed "my bed is old and boring Mommy!"
17. Coffee on Monday mornings
18. Shaune for making dinner ahead of time so that all I have to do is warm it up
19. That I swoon every time I look at Naveen with his new haircut
20. That even though Matthew didn't meet Naveen, he touched my belly when I was really, really pregnant
21. That when I pretend to be cross at Naveen, I get to call him by that sweet name he inherited Naveen Matthew