“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree.
The wounds remain.
In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone.”
~ Rose F. Kennedy
That Rose gal, she knew shit!
Since my 12 minutes with Matt, there have been several moments related to them. Most notably a funeral and a dozen or so self inflicted sequestering sessions, to help me sort out my own thoughts and emotions on his loss.
I’m not sure if my attendance at Matt’s funeral was the right or wrong thing to do but one thing seems apparent, I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame.
Discomfort loomed throughout the entire ceremony. There were no looks or statements making me feel as such. No, the feelings were generated from deep within my own being. Hell I couldn’t explain to myself why I was actually there, let alone attempt to answer the question from one of Matt’s loved ones, had I actually been asked at the time.
I quite simply was just there to watch and feel this kid, draw his last breath of life on this planet.
It was obvious that any form of rest had eluded him. His age appeared to have doubled since we last met at the hospital, just a few short days before. Where once just those mere days before, I was certain that I could have been him or him me. I could see and feel the pain in his heart pulling at his eyes but then again, it had only been six days since the loss of his son. It was clear through those eyes however that it was much, much more than an empty heart that made this particular man, somewhat comfortably acknowledge my existence in a horrible and very surreal situation, for him personally.
With his nod and his extended hand towards me, my eye contact seemed to fall deep into a void. A void that had once quite obviously, totally been filled full of living and everything life. For just a moment or so, I was sure I could hear my thoughts echo within the man in front of me. That hollow shell where once life and everything to do with it had been so very alive, incredible and vibrant. I wanted to say something, but what? What could I say to make everything alright for a loving Father, that had so very recently lost his only Son?
After a brief moment, he spoke first instead.
“Can I get your number Bammer?”
It had been about three months or so since the funeral, just enough time for me to process the whole situation. At least at first to me, that was how I was rationalizing my recently renewed happiness. After all if I’m happy after such a horrible event, enough time must have passed to make it right, right?
I could feel my brain process at least a hundred detailed points of information in just that second. The right thing to say, something to say and not fuck it up or more accurately, correctly hold back and avoid using all those terribly wrong words, at a very critical and delicate time.
“How are you doing” was quite thankfully, forced back down into my gullet.
Matt’s Dad wanted to get together to talk. It seems his Mother was undergoing some therapy and could never find the time to talk it all out but Matt’s Dad, he just wanted to talk.
OH, and he wanted to talk to me.
A bar perhaps or maybe a small coffee shop would fit the bill a bit better, for the mood required for such a discussion. Instead and based solely on my own comfort factors that I thought I could apply to this man that once could’ve been me, I offered up the back deck.
A moment of discomfort was experienced at first, as the handshake vs. hug decision took a little bit of time. As intelligent and caring men are often capable of doing, we eventually settled on both. The strength of his heart blatantly paling in comparison to that of his hand, as we hugged the way that men are supposed to. It honestly felt a bit like a movie at first. Then it just felt like two men, both that had shared a grievous loss. My loss not nearly as clear as the loss of the man in front of me but still the same, from the expression on that man’s face at that particular time, my loss was indeed still a loss just the same.
I poured a drink for us both and then quite simply the two of us, just copped a squat out back on the deck. We then proceeded to cover Matt’s first ten years on this planet, from beginning to middle. The man in front of me became resurgent more and more, as the incredibly proud Father of his fine young Matt.
The stories became pride.
That pride soon became total joy and happiness and then it was quite obvious that this joy and happiness, very simply became a sensation of a wonderful life, despite an horrific death. This pride built in the reliving of a life left too short and totally and unequivocally, from just that one man’s perspective. A perspective far from lost on yours truly.
Rather than that drained and aging old man I’d met that day, as I made an appearance at his son’s funeral, the man on my deck was resplendent with detail and loving every single moment of it.
The transition was physically palpable as with each story his eyes, no, he himself became more and more alive with his words. His tone breathed life into every single tale, as I did my best to enjoy and truly listen to, every single one of his words.
After a few hours of stories and really getting to know one another, we eventually agreed to meet again in the near future. After all, we had ten more years of Matt’s life to go over together and honestly, no one was going to deprive either of us of that privilege or honour.
For the record, that day now takes the spot at the top of my list of things I really look forward to doing and also for the record, that day just happens to be this Saturday night in Bedrock.
“Uh…Bammer, you doing anything Saturday night?”
The words simply flowed freely from my lips this time.
'I am now.'
Perhaps it's true that this kid also needs the therapeutic aspects of talking about it, every bit as much as Matt’s Dad did. (and still does?) For I know one thing for absolute certain, young Matt has left an indelible impression on me, and that just won’t go away.
Not that I ever really want it to.
My sincerest thanks for dropping by....