Monday, 29 August 2011

Remembering out loud

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


  1. I am visiting from Ann's. I love the title of this "Remembering Out Loud". Yes, we must. It is good for our souls. Thank you!

  2. Beautiful post Kim-I needed this today. Thank you, my dear friend:)

  3. All of my bloggies have such wonderful, heartfelt post this morning. You all have me crying.

    This was simply beautiful. I was just over at "My Inner Chick" where she posted a blogger video. The woman, now deceased, said, "this is the end of my life but not the end of my love."

    Love. Love. Love. It is everything.

  4. I'm sorry for your loss, Kim. It's so hard to know what to say sometimes, and I know I'm guilty of not asking people enough. I'm glad you are remembering the good times. It's what Matthew would have wanted, I'm sure.

  5. He gave you such wonderful gifts while he was here and they have only increased your loving and accepting heart. I'm so sorry that you've lost your dear Matthew, but it's plain to see that he's indelibly etched in your life and on your son's face. Hugs!!!

  6. I'm so glad that you've come to a place where you can see through the grief and remember the good. It's very true people don't know what to say. I think it's good that you remember out loud. It lets people know that it's ok and that you're ok and maybe breaks the ice a little. I especially enjoy when you remember out loud.

  7. Thanks for sharing your eucharasteo praises through the pain. True beauty and a sweet aroma before the Lord!

  8. This is a beautiful post! The best way to keep someone's memory alive is by remembering what was best about them. And by the way, I'm only slightly jealous that your husband makes dinner.

  9. Oh, Kim, this post moved me to tears. You're right, no one knows how to deal with a grieving person. I'm so sorry for your loss. I think it's so special your little boy shares your brother's name...a great way to keep his memory alive. HUGS XO

  10. Each time you write about Matthew I feel like I am getting to know him.

  11. Grieving is hard. And so unpredictable. Your memories are beautiful. And I love the list of all you are thankful for!

  12. So precious! My cousin died young and his Mom always says the same thing, that no one really wants to talk about Trevor - but she does. It is not as though he never existed. I know that is not what people intend, but sadly it does seem that way from time to time. She does special things to mark his memory. They have a charity and make it a yearly thing to donate and speak out in his honor. I think it also gives everyone an opportunity to 'safely' bring him up in conversation and they all enjoy that. :)

  13. Oh you made my heart clench with the words, "It broke my heart that Matthew often thought otherwise of himself." My brother has the same problem, among many. But then you made me smile with your quote about Deaglan's bed being "old and boring". Amazing how children can flip your emotions simply with their words. As always, beautifully written Kim.

  14. I echo others thoughts here: beautifully written. To incorporate sadness, gratitude, your children, and Matthew so eloquently in one post? Amazing.

  15. I cannot even imagine how tough it has been on you. Outwardly, you pull yourself together quite nicely. And I always thought feeling like wanting to talk about lost ones are pretty natural and normal. I hope in time, the pain will lessen. Today I am grateful for you, too.

  16. The missing is hard, and it never quite goes away.

  17. Remembering out loud is a good's hard, but necessary in the healing process! I've always got an ear to lend...sending hugs your way! xoxo

  18. I have really been working hard at remembering to be grateful and speak it aloud. Hugs my friend and thank you for your insightfulness. ;)

  19. I talk about my Dad all the time. I feel like it brings him here right when I need him - which is all the time.

    I love how your heart fills when you say Naveen Matthew. Your boys have a very handsome and caring angel watching them always.

    Love this post Kim.


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