"Matt would have been 31 this year.
It is too difficult to choose one of my most memorable or greatest moments when looking back on 30 years of good times and special memories with your child. What I would say, is that there were many great moments in Matt's life when he felt he achieved something. These achievements gave him more confidence and the drive to continue on his journey. No matter how small or big the achievement was, when Matt felt good and was happy, so was I. He was a great fighter and tough in the ring but outside the ring he had a very soft spot in his soul. This is why Matt was so genuine and touched so many lives.
I am truly amazed at the number of lives he touched in such positive ways. Some still write on his Facebook wall, thanking him for strength and encouragement that he gave them. But unfortunately, the strength and encouragement he gave others fell short for himself. This soft spot and his huge heart also brought him some weakness. Only a few people would have seen this, but his weakness allowed others to make him feel less than he was. I'm very sad to say this is part of why he is not with us today. Matt lacked the self-confidence to stand up for who he was and allowed others to make him feel unworthy at times. Matt was a very forgiving person and forgave so easily.
My struggle is why he could never forgive himself.
How this has changed me at the moment is probably not in the best of ways, as I am still grieving and feeling angry at the world. I have lost hope with some people and a portion of our mental health system, although after my personal experiences, I know in time I would like to be a part of the system to help others and would like to aid with finding ways of improving some of their processes. This most certainly has changed who I am forever and I guess I'm just not quite sure of who I will become because I have lost a huge part of me.
I have a tremendous hole in my heart and this will take a lot of time to heal. I do know I will hang tightly onto my other son and my grandchildren as life has proven to me that time is very precious and can change drastically in a matter of moments.
Parents, I urge you to talk with your children, listen, even if your busy or tired. Most of all hear their messages. Friends, listen, if someone is struggling don't kick them when they're down, and most of all, if you know someone is suicidal, report it to someone.
Some of us give more time and energy to our jobs than we do our families or friends. This is one hard lesson I have learned.
I know mine and Adam's life will be changed forever, but we will gain strength from all of this; we know Matt would want this. He admired us both for our individual strengths and told me quite often. He was so proud of who his brother was and he admired Adam's self-confidence and his compassion for his beautiful family. Adam and I will continue to be strong for one another, and his family. One day we will carry Matt's strength with us as well. Matt so often talked about protecting his nieces and nephews as they grew up and Adam and I will make sure Matt's nieces and nephews understand not only how much their uncle loved them, but also know his strengths and understand his struggles.
At this point, I don't have a lot of advice for anyone going through the same thing because I am still grieving. I would say not to allow anyone to tell them how to or for how long they should grieve. This is something that I will never "get over". I will have to learn to live without him, but I am searching spiritually and I would encourage others to do so as well.
Grief is a very long and lonely journey. A journey that not everyone can understand. Lean on who you can, stay away from those who can't or don't support you and take the time you need to learn your new path in life.
Rest in peace Matt. We love and miss you dearly."