Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Lord Giveth

Matthew is dead.

He died last night.

I went to bed early last night because I was exhausted, so I didn't find out until this morning, when my mother called me. I am lucky, in a way. That was probably the kindest way I could have found out.

When Declan died last fall, I decided to prepare my mind for future deaths I would have to face by stockpiling certain lines from Scripture that I thought would be relevant. And so my first reaction, when I found out, was to say this:

"The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."

Then I crumpled on my bed sobbing. It is hard to bless the Lord's name when someone you love has been taken away.

And yet, later this morning I whispered a thank you to God. Because He gave me the chance to know Matthew. Isn't it a little incredible that I only knew him for four months, and in that time Matt saved the day for me again and again? He is a hero.

My guy friends in college used to make fun of me for the way I incessantly compliment people I'm fond of. Dan would call me "a natural butterer."

In fact, I realize now that I'm very lucky to be able to express affection so easily. I was especially grateful for it this morning, when I re-read the text messages Matthew and I sent each other before he got sick.

"You are my savior!" I declared in one message, after he agreed to go pray at the clinic with me. I then dramatically declared, "Matthew, I genuinely think you are the greatest blessing in my life today." In another I told him, "I am praying for God to send you every possible blessing."

Of course, I was being over-the-top and dramatic, as I always am. But I'm so glad that he knew how much I appreciated him. Especially now that he is dead, I'm so grateful I had the chance to tell him.

The whole time Matthew was sick, I was confident he would recover. I even had a specific vision in my mind of what we would do once he got well.

One time, before Matt was sick, I had him and his roommates and Colleen over to my house for dinner. It was my first real dinner party. I had planned it as a way to thank Matt for always driving me to Mass on Sundays.

I made Matt's favorite meal, pot roast and mashed potatoes, with brownie sundaes for dessert. It was delicious. Matt loved everything and ate it all, which warmed my heart, as I love feeding people and cooking things that people enjoy. It was such a happy night.

So while Matt was sick, I kept picturing him coming over to my house for dinner again.

"When he's better," I would think, "he and Colleen will come to visit me. They'll sit at my dining room table. I'll cook something delicious for them to eat and they'll love it. Matthew will finish it all."

What a silly little image! But that was my dream. That was all I wanted to come true.

This, I suppose, is the part of the post where I say, "But it was not to be. He'll never sit at my kitchen table again. He'll never eat my cooking."

But that's just not true.

This morning Lillian called me after I texted her the news. She reminded me of a lovely line from one of our favorite books, in which C.S. Lewis says, "Christians never say goodbye."

After I got off the phone with her, I thanked God, again, for my faith. Because it's true. This isn't a goodbye.

I will see Matt again. We will sit down together and break bread together. Only we won't be doing it on this shadowy superficial mortal earth.

Until I see you again, Matthew, please pray for me.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Theresa...... I am so sorry to hear about this. I am so sorry for your loss. I will keep you and Matthew in my prayers today. It will all be OK....