I don’t know what other people do when their world is turned upside down, but I write. My “baby” brother passed away at his home, today. He lived in Southern California with my Dad. He was my dad’s primary caregiver. My dad had a heart attack and then later had a stroke. He took care of their home and my dad’s basic needs.
I am overwhelmed, shocked, and don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to grieve, help my parents – one of whom is thousands of miles away and can’t fully care for himself, or face a future without my only sibling. Losing my brother was not the thing I imagined happening next in our lives. I did dream and hope for a trip next year – that we’d chatted about briefly. This is not what I hoped for May 2022 – or any time for that matter.
It was only recently that we started talking again. It’s a long story. Earlier this year we started chatting again. But he has always been dearly loved by me. And I hoped that someday we would be close again. We started inching closer and then on my birthday I got the sweetest message from him. It is one I’ve waited for, for many years. I love him. I wanted what was best for him, always. And I hoped and prayed we had some good years ahead planning trips, hanging out, and enjoying some good chow and drinks together. The last message he sent me was earlier this month. It was a silly little “May the fourth be with you” kind of thing. It was from our favorite Mexican restaurant at home (Moreno’s).
Matt was younger than me by two years – our birthdays just 8 days apart. One never believes they will lose their younger brother in any scenario. As kids, we celebrated our birthdays together (see below). I was the well-behaved kid who never wanted to do anything wrong. He was a wild child, always getting into scrapes and crazy adventures. He did not care one bit about getting trouble. He lived for the thrill of mischief. Haha. He once jumped off a little booth thing at church and fell flat on the concrete knocking out his teeth. He also ran through our glass sliding glass door once, on the day we moved into our new apartment. When he was just a toddler, he closed our stroller on my toes and I had to go to the ER and get stitches. 🙂 The day he ran through the glass, he was so excited to be moving, playing with his friends – it was all an adventure with that one – he didn’t even know the door was closed. He ran straight through the glass. Needless to say, life with Matthew Philip was always a little wild.
I love him dearly. My heart hurts. And I know I am only scratching the surface this evening as my mind fills with so many things. My main task in writing this, was to put it on “paper” – let the words flow through my fingers – to make it more real – because shock has been my primary “feeling” since I got the news. Shock and trying to figure out how to take care of my parents. I am heartbroken and I know this will be a long journey. I hurt for my parents. And I know there’s much to unpack. Tonight, my primary goal in filling this space with my words, is to think of that tenderhearted man and to feel. Feel the loss, but also the joy of memories.
Matt loved deeply. He was passionate about so many things, especially football. He was a great cook. He enjoyed it so much, I honestly always wished he would give a culinary career a shot. I think he missed a calling – in terms of his vocation. He would have been a kick ass chef. 😉 There are many more things to say. And maybe soon I’ll share some memories here. For now, I am not sure what to do next. All I can do for sure is make a promise to him that I won’t waste any more time.
I am devastated. My family is devastated. And I am not sure how to take the next step. All I know for sure is, I don’t want to do this alone.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18