Matthew’s life and his death changed me. For the first six years, I would have told you that his death changed me for the worse. I was a shell of who I had been. The sadness had overtaken me. Even though I had so much to live for, I was still so lost. I quickly moved forward having another son and tried to carry on, but in doing so I had pushed my feelings about him aside. I thought I was dealing with the loss, but I was merely trying to make myself feel as if nothing was wrong. People wanted me to be okay and since I'm always wanting to please, I tried to be.
I was distracted with Zane, I had Brad and the girls. I stayed busy at work, even forcing myself to go back to my job only weeks after Matthew’s funeral. I had no idea that I was doing everything in my power to stuff those feelings down so I wouldn’t have to feel them. They don’t just go away, however. They will find their way out, one way or another.
This year, when I started talking to women about their losses by sharing my own story, it was the beginning of my own healing, as well. It was Matthew’s strength inside of me that gave me the courage to move forward. With Matthew, I was able to reach out to other women who had lost children and offer them a listening ear. I’m usually the type of person who would keep to myself and assume that the grieving mother would have their own support system and assume my attempt would most likely be rejected anyway, so why bother? Instead, I’ve found a boldness to reach out to acquaintances and perfect strangers suffering loss when I feel led.
God had allowed Matthew’s song to whisper to my soul and remind me what it’s like to feel all alone. His song has awakened something new inside of me. My soul sings again. I’m aware of the beauty in the world around me, beauty I hadn’t seen for years even before his death. I feel like someone who has put on glasses for the first time and can finally see clearly. I’m in awe of all that I’ve been missing.
For years after Zane was born, I had an inner struggle. I knew that Zane and Matthew couldn’t coexist because they were born so close together. Some days when I looked at Zane with such love and appreciation, I felt guilty because it made me feel like I was glad Matthew wasn’t here. I know now that Matthew brought so much more into my life than I ever knew. He brought me back to life once I stopped fighting the emotions that accompanied his death.
In the musical, Wicked, there is a song called “For Good” with the lyrics,
“Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better,
because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”
I have no doubt now that because I knew Matthew, I have been changed for good.
Even a year ago I would have told you that you were crazy if you told me God would bring anything good out of the worst thing that had ever happened to me, but He took this tragedy and has used it to bring me back to life. I owe him my joy, I owe him my life, I owe him my everything. He brought back a new meaning and purpose to my life that I would have never known or imagined possible had Matthew never been born. Though I don't like the circumstances that brought me here, I am forever indebted to my son, Matthew, for saving me from my unbeknownst demise.