Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The one about Remembering Matt

My epic fun-filled trip home to Minnesota kind of took a turn when on Monday, June 6th, I learned that my cousin Matt had passed away unexpectedly. Matt was like the little brother I never had during my childhood. The title of cousin just doesn't seem to do our relationship justice. His passing was all over the news and the newspapers, so I suppose there is no harm in discussing it here either. He had gone to work out in the fire hall gym, (he was a 3rd generation firefighter for about 2 years now) and the fire chief went to check on him and found him. We don't even know if he even worked out, or what happened at all. I feel like everyday you can turn on the news and hear about another young kid who dies in a car crash or passing away due to cancer or some other illness. But Matt was healthy! In fact, I thought he was such a catch I was trying to set him up with almost any of my friends. He was educated, had a great job, funny, witty, outgoing, and owned his own home at the age of 23!

Needless to say, my whole family was heartbroken. We found peace in knowing that Matt was in heaven with our Grandma and his Grandpa. The love from the community of Glenwood was overwhelming as well. I spent everyday since we heard at Matt's Mom and Dad's house (Beth and Ken) and there was a constant flow of people coming over to bring food, offer hugs and a kind word. We wouldn't be looking and then all of a sudden there would be flowers outside! Or more food! There was so much food brought to my Aunt and Uncles we had 3 coolers and started using the neighbor's fridge too.

But I think the best example of the amount of time and love given to my family was Matt's funeral processional. From my view, we pulled out of the church onto Mainstreet in Glenwood where police officers and fireman stood next to each other as we all drove by. Farther down Mainstreet, there were people just standing everywhere you look. It was as if the town stopped working and everyone came out to pay respect. We turned a corner. More people. We passed the hospital, and sure enough nurses and doctors were out there. Matt was so loved by the people of Glenwood (his funeral was standing room only!), as are my Aunt and Uncle and Grandpa that all still live there. It was remarkable to see the town rally to show support. An onlooker put together this video of processional from their perspective, I hope you watch it!

At the time, we had no idea that they only allowed a few cars of the family members. Then they piled everyone else who wanted to go onto buses. It was a packed place out at the cemetery! The race car in the procession is driven by Jake, one of Matt's best friends. Racing has always been a passion of Matt's so I'm sure he was looking down from heaven thinking that was pretty neat.

Anyhow, I'm not one who likes to talk about things like this much because I'll just start crying. And not like a pretty cry, but like a loud ugly cry with snot involved. =) So while I was coping the day after he died I wrote a little poem and I promised my mother that I would share it so here ya go:

Matt, I still can't believe it's true
I was missing you already, now forever I will too.
You lit up a room with your smile,
Now people are coming to see you from miles and miles.
You touched our hearts, hearts that are now breaking,
You wouldn't want us to be sad but there will always be an aching.
At Christmas time when the family gathers,
We'll share stories of you and hold true to what matters.
I promise to uphold our younger sibling duty,
Of bugging Cassie and Josh, like we were so good at doing.
I'm sad I can't beat you in cards anymore,
Or set you up with my friends like we discussed before.
I know we'll all find peace knowing you're in a better place
But I speak for all when I say we'll miss your smiling face.
I hope heaven has hunting, golf and races...
But promise you'll take a break when it's our turn so you can great us with warm embraces

There is a cliche saying, that comes in various forms, that people always use about living life to the fullest because at any moment it could be over. Matt's passing gives an all new, all too real outlook on just how TRUE that really is. So hug your loved ones, tell them you love them. Let go of any tiny thing that's bugging you because it's just not worth it. Reflect on all the great people and things going on in your life. Try not to take any of it for granted because it could be gone without a moments notice.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


Tina said...

Hola chica! How sad! I'm so sorry!!! Beautiful poem :)

eshelmo said...

So sorry for your loss Allie.
Thank you for the poem.

kim O said...

Great Poem Allie and was so good to see you guys at church. I took a pic of you three sitting in church I will tag you when I down load them.

Anonymous said...

Allie..what a beautiful poem. Made me cry. I watched the processional to the church too.. that made me cry as well... not a pretty cry either! :) Your Mom tells me you are doing awesome, but of course, I always knew you would. :) Take care, let your heart heal and always know that Matt is with you. He will let you know when he is around, just listen. Love, Kelly (Katie's Mom)

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