Blessings & Lessons

I saw this quote recently, and it made me think about Matt and all of the people who have connected to me over the last two years.

“People come into your life as a blessing or a lesson.”

As I sit here thinking about Matt’s tragic death by suicide two years ago and his 41 years of exuberant life, I am sure that my brother came into my life as both.

I have spent what feels like a lifetime mourning the loss of my brother. I have been learning over the last couple of years how to move on and to remember Matt in life, rather than in death – to focus on all of our family’s happy memories.

Two years feels like yesterday and it also feels like an eternity.

I have been thinking a lot about how to handle the second January 29th since 2012. While I will mourn the loss of Matt physically, I finally know for sure that he is still very much here. I will mark the day doing what Matt was good at doing, showing others kindness and generosity, maybe through some random acts of kindness at some of his favorite places. I think that would make him happy.

Matt was a blessing.

Matt was a good person, a good son, brother, father, uncle, nephew, cousin and friend. Matt was always helping other people. He was generous with his time and money to a fault. He was the kind of guy that would give you the shirt off his back. He was the kind of guy who stopped the janitor in the halls to thank him for working hard. Still today, I am amazed at the people that meet me and tell me how Matt helped them, a friend, family member or co-worker.

I was blessed to have a brother. Matt loved my husband like a brother and my kids like they were his own. I often wonder if its why I have been blessed with three sons. My brother may be physically gone, but three brothers live in my home.

Matt was also a lesson.

I think I will never know, in this lifetime, just in how many ways. But what I realize so far is that Matt’s life and his death have taught me the following lessons:

To love my family and put them first

To live life to the fullest

To have fun

To take chances

To overcome fear

To be brave

To be less judgmental

To be more accepting

To be kind

To laugh

To take the high road

To forgive

To fight for what is right

To help other people

To make a mark on this world

Not all of these things have come easy to me. Some of them, I am still working on. But I have learned and I have grown. Slowly, and at times with a lot of tears and anger, but growth.