In 2017 an old high school classmate and I reconnected and began to date. Over the next few months a few things would come to light that would test our relationship; namely his anxiety, depression, and alcoholism. None of that gave me pause though. I loved Matt more than I had ever loved another man. Something about our connection… our love – it was more genuine than anything I had ever experienced.
He was an amazing man. He supported me in ways that I had never had before – but had always longed for. He made sure that I was able to present at a national conference in my field last June. As I was driving to Washington DC I was listening to a favorite album. When “Be the Man” came on it hit my heart. It described how I viewed everything Matt was trying to do to be better for me, for us, for himself. I texted him a link to the song so he could listen to it, and included the lyrics.
Matt was at work when I sent the message to him. He was known to be wear his heart on his sleeve – and the message was emotional for him, too. He was my cheerleader that whole trip – pumping me up for my presentation. I remember wanting to take my time getting home because the scenery was so beautiful, but my heart hated being away from him for too long. I rushed home, looking forward to seeing him, hearing his voice, and feeling his arms around me.
We got engaged in February of last year. I’d love to tell you that we had our fairytale wedding, but that never happened. In October of last year Matt took his own life in our home. We’d had our ups and downs during the year we were together, but my love never faltered. I never doubted that we would spend our lives together. I just didn’t realize that “the rest of our lives” would be so short. Those last 5 weeks I felt so blessed because I knew for sure I had found my soulmate.
Matt and I didn’t have a forever, but it doesn’t change how much I loved him – still love him. I’m sure I’ll always love him. He became part of my heart, part of my soul. I miss him so badly it hurts. I’m sorry he didn’t see in himself what I saw in him. To me he was the sun and moon. He was the love that flowed through my body. He was the support that drove me to keep going during tough times. He was my best friend.
I’ve slowly but surely began to listen to that album again. Most times I cry, but there are times when I listen and smile, thinking about the sunshine he brought into my life. The one thing Matt was able to do that no one else has… He made me remember who I am. He made me see what I can do. He made me so my potential. He reminded me that I don’t need permission to be myself, to live how I want, and to always be happy. And now when I listen to those songs – I’ll remember his words.