Two years ago I got the most horrible phone call. My sister Viv called to say her eldest child had died. Matt had a motorcycle accident and died before anyone got a chance to say goodbye.
I remember feeling so angry with the world. It wasn’t fair that my sister, who had helped ease my pain of being a grieving mother, also had to suffer the indescribable pain of losing her child. I thought the pain I had to endure should well and truly be enough.
Matt was just a few months from turning 22; he had his whole life ahead of him, and so many dreams and ambitions to fulfil. There’s no way you can make sense of a life cut so short.
The days and weeks following his death I thought a lot about the memories I had of him as a child. There were so many and all of them made me smile thinking about how fabulous and loving he was, and so full of life. I remembered him as a toddler watching Mr Bean for the first time and laughing so much, him and his eldest sister watching me apply makeup and wanting to know why on earth I was putting that stuff on my face, and how he devoured the largest books on war planes (his passion from an early age), the ‘adult’ books seemingly too big for his childish hands.
Matt had grown into an amazing, joyful and loving young man. He had a wonderfully close relationship with his mother (she remembered the last time they had cross words was about four years ago), and was the perfect and adored brother of his four sisters.
When Roberto and I went to Australia for our honeymoon, my sister, nieces and another niece squeezed into a car and drove nine hours to see us for a few days. After they arrived, I talked on the phone to Matt who kept apologising for not making the long journey on his motorbike, which he originally had planned to do. Just the fact that he considered it was enough for me.
Matt had a great positive outlook on life, he never said a bad word about anyone, and was surrounded by so many people who loved him very much. It wasn’t until after he died that his mum and sisters realised how much of an impact he had on other people’s lives.
On his Myspace page he wrote “I live for my friends and family”. I often remind myself of how he lived his life and try to follow his example. He may have only been 21, but he understood the true value of living.