On July 7, 1991 our nephew Matthew was born. The first grandson of Mother-in-law and Father-in-law. It was wonderful to have a baby boy in the family! I remember so many things about his childhood. The back rubs that he would sit in front of Grammy for. And later, sports. Lots of sports. In fact, just about anything that involved being outdoors. Then 4-wheelers and snowmobiles. Oh yeah. He loved those! Speed! The things he thought of were funny, fun and sometimes scary. It was wonderful to watch him grow into a young man. Confident. Strong in character. I could see that his sister, brother and cousins looked up to him.
I hold onto those memories tightly, because we lost Matthew on May 16, 2010 after an 18 month battle with leukemia. During those 18 months Matthew fought hard and never gave up. I admire Matthew's strength. He never complained. I find myself sometimes complaining about something unimportant. Then I stop myself. And remember what Matthew fought through. His motto was "Play hard and never give up". And that's exactly what he did. Even on 5/16/10 he didn't give up. His body could no longer fight, but I believe his spirit was strong.
I didn't write this post to get sympathy from anyone. That's not what I want. I want us all to appreciate the people close to us. Because you never know when they'll be taken away. Most of us believe that something like this won't happen in our family. Right? I certainly never though it would happen within ours. Never thought it would happen to Matthew's Mom, Dad, sister, brother.
Most of all, I'm writing this for me. I don't want Matthew (and his impact on the lives of so many people) to ever be forgotten. Writing this has been emotional for me. But I want to keep those emotions near the surface. I don't want to bury them.
I want to keep those memories fresh. Always.
Thank you for reading this very personal blog post. I hope that you'll tell your loved ones how important they are to you.