Thursday, July 28, 2011

I look for him in reflections.

I think it was the book The Lovely Bones where he saw his dead daughter in a reflection. I never even finished that book. But I remember that part. I always look for Matt's face in reflections. Maybe something about reflections make me think they are set apart from reality and that maybe he will be looking back at me.

I wish I would dream about him more often. I only remember clearly dreaming about him once and it was Monday night; the night before visitation. I kissed him in my dream. And there was some dialogue about reassuring me that it was real but I can't remember what that pertained to.

I should go back further to ensure that I document other thoughts that occurred to me while I was still in North Carolina. The last time I posted, I was about to go open his personal belongings envelope from the hospital. I ended up making multiple trips around the house looking for a pair of scissors and I could not find any. I ended up using a pair of those decorative scissors used for scrapbooking. As I was walking down the hall in my search, my body was overcome with goosebumps, chills, whatever you want to call them. It was far from chilly. Maybe it was my nerves. Maybe it was Matt. I'd like to think it was the latter. I opened the envelope and pulled out the plastic bag that contained his gold cross - a necklace he wore every day. Right in the center of the cross there was a very prominent indentation. Right where he had gotten hit by that piece of equipment (just one of many places). But it was right in the very center. Now the extensions of the cross stick outward when I put the necklace on, instead of laying flat. The other thing inside was his wedding band; several blood marks were on it. I held it. I smelled it. I just looked at it. Now, it has a permanent home on my left index finger. I'm glad it fits. I wear his cross at night. It makes me feel like he is with me, like he always used to be at night.

I wear the cross in the same direction he wore it that day. It's easy to tell with the indentation. But I woke up Wednesday morning, the morning of his funeral, and it was turned around the other way. It was facing the other direction, the way it would be facing if he was wearing it and gave me a hug.

Noah knows who Daddy is. He is quick to point him out in pictures. I wish he would grow up knowing his daddy like the way we always pictured it. Playing catch, helping Daddy mow the lawn, going for walks. Family trips, giving him dating advice, shaking his head at his choice of music. Same goes for Chloe. She is going to miss walking down the aisle with her daddy on her wedding day. That just sticks out for me for some reason. But I have to erase all of those "plans" from my mind now. Erase our future. Start over.

We went to the cemetery on Monday and I chose Matt's burial plot. Actually, I chose both of our burial plots. When I die, I will be buried right next to him. I chose a place on a hill that's near the entrance. The headstones face west. One day, we will be together again on that hill, watching the sun go down behind the trees together. Matt, you have no idea how much I look forward to that day when I get to see you again. And I know you want me to live a long and healthy life but it's hard for me to think the same right now.

His birthday is Sunday, July 31. I ordered a book by Glenn Beck to give to him. It came to the door on Friday, July 22. I just set it on the counter.

This post is a jumbled mess but I'm just writing whatever comes to mind because it has been several days. I want to address a few things that happened on the morning of July 20. The officers gave me his wallet after delivering the news. It had lots of tiny pieces of glass stuck to it and inside of it. It smelled like coffee. I thought he must have done a Starbucks run on his way out of town because of that... and his wallet was in the center console after having taken it out to pay for his coffee, like he usually did instead of putting it back in his pocket. That's why it had glass stuck to it. And the coffee spilled all over it during the crash. I wonder what happened to his cell phone and our computer. I wonder what the Jeep looks like. I wonder if I will even want to see it. A part of me does want to see it. I don't know. It might help me with closure. The picture in my mind is probably not much worse than what it really looks like anyway.

I chose not to view his body. I don't think it would have done anything for me. His spirit was not there so I wouldn't have been looking at HIM. I would have been looking at his vessel. Even during the visitation, funeral and burial, I did not feel like he was in that casket. I felt like he was around me but not in there. It was just ceremonial to perform everything around his body but his soul was and is elsewhere.

Matt would want me to make one thing clear, if nothing else: He did NOT die at the scene. I have read some news reports that say he died in the crash but he did not. In fact, the funeral director told me he was surprised he even made it to the hospital. Matt was strong-willed. He is a fighter. And anyone who knew him in the summer of 2000 would know that. The crash happened at 10:23am and Matt died at the hospital at 11:35am. His immediate cause of death was blunt force head trauma. I know he didn't want to leave us. He would never leave us. And so he fought until he could fight no more.

I told him to stay home that day. He was feeling a little sick on Tuesday and I told him to stay home and get some rest. He never took a day off. Like I said, he was very strong-willed and a hard worker. He was extremely devoted to his job and excelled in every way that he could. He said, "I can't take a day off." I said, "Yes you can. That's why they give you sick days." "I don't have sick days, I have PTO." Well, you can guess how that conversation ended. PTO, sick days... same thing, but no. I guess he sort of compromised. He decided to get up on Wednesday and just take his time. Take it slow. That morning I remember him saying, "Well, I will just go out to a few offices today," he helped me get Noah and Chloe out the door, as usual... and we kind of yelled "bye" to each other as I was out the door. I wish I had kissed him goodbye. Or at least told him I loved him. Although I never did put much money on the words "I love you". I always believed it was in the actions, not the words. We did say it at least once a day. But I just wish I had said it that morning. The last time I kissed him was Tuesday night and it was on the cheek before I went to bed. I told him I was kissing him on the cheek instead of the lips because he was sick.

Last night was really difficult. Everything was over. There was no more planning to be done. Nothing to take my mind away from the fact that this is it. And it really sunk in. My husband is gone. I woke up to him and went to bed with him and it will never be like that ever again. All I have are memories. And I never want to forget those memories. I never want to forget the way he smelled. The way he felt when he hugged me. His voice.

He really was my whole world. Noah and Chloe, your daddy loved you with all his heart and then some. He would never let you down. He would protect you with his own life. He was strong, funny, vibrant, inspirational, giving and so much more. He will always be with you.


  1. I feel the same, Stephanie. I never would believe he is gone. Ever. He's still here to me.

    Stay strong. We'll always be praying for you. Love you.


  2. Stephanie,
    You will NEVER forget Matt, you will always remember the best of him. You, along with all Matt's family, and friends will make sure that Chloe and Noah know how much their daddy loved them and what his thoughts are about their various milestones as they grow up.
    Lots of prayers and wishes for comfort!

  3. Steph, this is simply beautiful. As hard as it is to read, I understand how much more difficult it is to live. And your love with your husband is something you will always cherish.

    I'll be praying for you and Noah and Chloe.

  4. Hi, you don't know me but I just lost my husband suddenly in an accident less than 2 months ago. I have been looking for resources like your blog so I can read about other people's experiences who have had a similar loss. I don't have any children and it sounds like we have very different faiths, but so many of the things you are describing in your earlier posts are exactly how I am feeling now. I just wanted to let you know that it gives me some comfort to read them. Thanks.