Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Silly Regret*

I stay up much much later than I used to. I've been managing okay on less sleep. But I used to be adamant about getting eight hours. I would often kiss Matt goodnight and head to bed. He was a night owl. I would be in bed at 10:00 on most nights.

Now I just think about how many more hours... days, even... we could have had together if I stayed up late then like I do now. I survive fine now, why couldn't I have just put forth the effort to stay up later back then? I know it's silly... I put the warning in the title. It's just another one of those little demons residing in my head. Just like, "Take tomorrow off, get some rest," echoes through my mind quite often. I can't help it.

I went to Staples today after work to get some plastic filing totes... knowing very well that's where Matt did most of his "supply" shopping and I went with him on occasion. I remember shortly after we moved here, he went to stock up on various supplies, including a rolling tote and some storage bins for his samples and literature. He had a clear plastic bin with a black lid that sticks out in my mind only because I saw it in the pictures. Well, I had to go to that department for file storage and I saw a lot of those lined up along the wall. I just kind of stared for a few seconds. The image of the lid in his car that was in the back and ended up in the front, covered in blood, briefly consumed my thoughts. That's not to say I regret seeing the pictures at all... I just now have a very clear vision of where certain things ended up and what they looked like after the collision. So I can't help but to think back to it when I see something similar. I wouldn't say it's haunting or disturbing - just distracting. That's probably the best way to describe it.

I want to share some stories about Matt - a true testament to his character. He was eager to help those in need. When you think about the "WWJD" idea, that was Matt. I remember when he called me during the day once and told me about how he had bought a meal for a homeless person who was asking for change.

There was another time where he did the same thing... but he went completely out of his way to a drive-thru and then he went BACK to search for this man and give him the food. He had to ask someone where the man went because he was gone by the time Matt got back. He basically tracked this guy down to help him out.

We were in Boston last summer for Independence Day and grabbed lunch at a bagel shop on one of the days. Matt only ate half of his sandwich but he kept the other half with him to give to a homeless person rather than throw it away. We got to the train station and there was a man there standing with a sign. I will always remember Matt saying, "Sir? Would you like a sandwich?" I could tell he was stepping out of his comfort zone a little bit... but he did it anyway.

I always wanted to be more like him. And he truly has made me a better person today and I strive to live my life as Matt did each day so I can be the best person I can be in the future.

Last one - and this happened "not long before his death," as I always say. In fact, we were going to pick the kids up from daycare together so it must have been on Friday, the 15th, since I always get home early on Fridays (I loved being able to spend that extra time with him if he got home early, too). A homeless man sits on the same corner every single day during rush hour. We pulled up to that corner and Matt handed me a $5.00 bill. "Give this to him," he says. So I did. And today, on my way to pick up the kids, as I pulled up to the corner, I rolled down my window to give this same man a couple dollars. Of course it feels good to do something nice like that for another person... but it feels especially good to me now because I know that I'm living my life in Matt's honor.

I could share several more stories like those but it is obvious what a good heart Matt had. I was always so proud to call him my husband. I'm still proud to call him my husband.

We (Tom and I) went to dinner with some friends tonight... our friends that Matt and I were excited to start hanging out with because they have a daughter just a few months older than Chloe. It was my first time going out anywhere with just friends. And it was a little difficult for me because I was just picturing Matt there with me. He should have been there with me. It should have been me, Matt, April and Johnny with the kids. Like it used to be. We went to a new restaurant that opened a couple months ago and I would tell Matt we had to go there sometime because it was so close to our house and delicious! Instead, the first time I went was without him. Not the way it was supposed to be.

I packed up Matt's suits and ties earlier, as I mentioned in a previous post. It may be a possibility that the weekend of September 9th is when I will make the move... but that's tentative. I have a mental list of the major things that need to get done in terms of packing, and it doesn't sound like a lot to me, but then when I actually start one simple task, it seems to take FOREVER. I've come to realize that I'm somewhat out of character right now in terms of packing. When we would move before... I'd throw a bunch of random stuff in a box - no orderly fashion whatsoever - and call it good. But it's completely different now. I'm in deep thought. I want everything to be perfect. It has to fit perfectly in the bin or it won't go in there. His ties have to be folded just so; his suits flat. So what would normally take me five minutes probably takes me 30. And I oftentimes come across something of Matt's that I literally just stare at and run my fingers over for an abnormal length of time (guitar picks, for example). Look, when I packed up his electric razor that I used to shave his head, I collected all of his hair that was stuck to it and put it in a baggie. Yes, I really just said that. I continue to surprise myself.

So I will have a better idea after this weekend as to whether or not I will *really* be able to leave then. And I need to start giving people a heads up, which I meant to do today and completely forgot (like the daycare). I also meant to call our realtor - forgot that, too. But that's okay. What I don't get to today can always happen tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Stephanie, you don't actually know me. We have conversed a few time on TB. I can't be anywhere near to saying I know how your feeling because I don't. But, I did fear it every moment of every day while my husband was serving in Iraq. About a month before my husband returned, my father passed. I was his primary care taker & I am the one that found his body. I, unfortunately, did not turn to God as you have. But since reading your blog, I have been establishing my faith & it is because of you & Matt. I didn't lose my husband but I did lose someone super close. Quite a few of the emotions that you explained here are similar to what I have felt. As you mentioned in this post, you gathered up the hair from his razors.....I gathered up my fathers hair as well & I keep it in a bag too. You are stronger than anyone I have ever met & I have also gathered strength & understanding from you. You & your sweet babies are in my thoughts & now my prayers too, everyday. Hold on & keep your chin up. God has big plans for you. My sincerest gratitude & love, be yours!