I’ve been avoiding this computer like the plague for a week. I didn't want to sit down and look into my soul and face it all. I didn't want to admit to myself that your birthday is coming. You would have been 35 years old. I didn't want to have to write that last sentence in the past tense. Cue the water works! What is this life?
Every year you planned your own birthday festivities. The preparation began months in advance, as though you were a 7-year old boy counting down the days till your party. Every year, invites were extended to friends and family who were out of state, football schedules were consulted, local friends were told to clear their schedules, and a tangible excitement surrounded you in the lead up to the celebration.
The birthday shenanigans ALWAYS somehow lasted an entire weekend. It included football, food, and some adventurous outing where you brought countless friends and family together to celebrate your birth. No birthday was complete without laughter, new memories and cake in the face.
Matt, that was how you did life. You never took a day for granted. You woke up happy everyday and excited to be here. Birthdays were fun! You wanted to celebrate the life you were given with the people you loved. It is no wonder that the last birthday party you had here, your sister and brother-in-law flew in from out of town and over 50 friends showed up to celebrate your special day. You held your baby boy and blew out the 33 candles that lit up your favorite carrot cake that my mom made from scratch, per your request.
Our adventure that weekend was a drive to Trillium Lake in your beloved Subaru WRX. We hiked around the lake, took in the views and you confided in me the visions you were receiving for Live Moore. You were excited to share with others what we were learning from living with cancer for the past 10 months. You were always thinking about how you could help someone else. You slowed us down to take in the mountain air, point out the beautiful scenery, and be present in our day together. It was special. I could have never guessed that day would be our last birthday celebration honoring your time here on earth.
Matt, I'm not going to lie to you. Losing you has rattled me to the core. This kind of heartbreak is something you can never truly prepare for. You don’t know until you experience it. It has been earth shattering, faith testing, life destructing, and soul crushing. The depths of my sorrow have been unbearable and my longing for your return is gut wrenching.
However, our time together on earth has changed me, a shift that I could never have imagined for myself, a fundamental softening of who I am at my core while understanding the beauty of my choices within this lifetime. Those things you once listened to me cry and worry over are small in comparison to what I have now learned is a “bad day”. I am continuing to learn that being present is a gift to experiencing life, understanding that kindness and compassion are key to healing and love, and that everyday you wake up you are given a choice to Live Moore.
I am so thankful for our time together. The memories of celebrating your life through your birthdays will always hold a special place in my heart. Your life was beautiful, just like your soul. On this day, from now on, I would like to make you a promise. I promise to celebrate your life each year by doing something off our/my bucket list to continue to choose to LIVE this life and to LIVE MOORE!
We always saw the potential in one another; therefore, we pushed each other to achieve greatness. If there is one thing I know for sure, it is that we helped guide each other to be our best selves, even if it wasn't always pretty. It usually went something like this for us: one of us has a dream, creates a plan on how to get there, our partner pushes us into taking the risk to do it, dreamer partner “thinks about it” or resists like hell (fear), dreamer partner then builds up confidence, then together we both hold hands and JUMP.
Over the last 16 months and 11 days without you, grief has taken me by storm. By the grace of God, I have crawled out of my lowest of lows and been a part of some of the highest of highs. More recently in my process, I have come to accept that this journey of grief will forever be part of who I am. I have held on to you so tightly because I did not want to move forward or go on without you. I begged to wake up from this nightmare next to your healthy body. I have kicked, screamed, plugged my ears, cursed out whoever is in charge up there, and cried endlessly in my resistance of moving forward, hence the resist like hell.
However, our pattern continues (me in body and you in spirit). I feel your comfort, I see your signs, I witness small miracles that let me know you are still with us in our hearts. This grants me the confidence to continue to walk this journey on earth as I know you would have wanted me to, not only for our son, but for myself. So here I am, emotionally challenged, soul forever changed, pushed FAR beyond my comfort zone, scared out of my wits, moving past my resistance, acknowledging that you will always be in my heart and now I am ready to JUMP.
In honor of your birthday, I am jumping out of a plane. I am going skydiving! Physically I am jumping out of a plane because let's be honest, it is the closest I can get to heaven in my body, and it's on my bucket list. And, figuratively, I am jumping forward into a life without you physically here, while honoring my promise to you to always Live Moore! If your best friend jumps out of a plane, would you? YES!!!! So together, let's jump!
Moo, thank you for always being by my side, pushing me to be a better person, and jumping with me into the unknown. I will love you forever Matt Moore!!! Happy birthday angel, fly high with me!