Matt's Eulogy

After I wrote Matt's eulogy (that last post), I realized that Matt was my intended audience. That's the eulogy he would have loved to hear-- to be seen and understood in that way.
But then I realized-- he's not here. The eulogy needs to be for us left behind. And I was (still am) too shocked and angry to have it be for me-- a string of furious invective would probably not be appropriate for a memorial-- so I wrote this one instead. It's for the girls.
My dear girls, I want to tell you a little bit about your daddy.

Matt believed in Fun.
From the time he was a little kid, he loved to play and joke. As a kid he had fun playing baseball and football, boogie boarding and playing at the beach. As a grownup he loved to have fun with you guys, splashing like a spinner dolphin out of the water and buildings amazing Lego worlds with you. He would even listen to Katy Perry and dance in the livingroom with you. He liked grownup fun too, like museums and restaurants and travel, but You guys were the funnest, happiest thing in his life. Every time we fly kites, play frisbee, splash like dolphins, play Wolf Chess and run on a path we can remember how much fun we had together.

Did you know when I met him, he said his nickname was Dar, the Animal whisperer? He loved animals! He could turn even the grumpiest kitty into kitty butter, floppy and purring on his lap. He'd say kinda mean things to them in a cute voice, and they followed him around. All the cats on the station would trail along behind him when he walked out to the goats. And the goats! He would patiently observe then, and got to know every goat in his herd. He'd go lie down in the tall grass in the pasture and hang out with the goats. He milked them fastidiously and they were totally tame because he treated them so calmly. He loved every kind of animal, and knew they needed to be treated kindly and fairly, especially when they are under human care. We can remember him by taking good care of the animals around us.

Daddy believed in being brave. I think that's why he liked aikido so much, and why he loved to learn about the Warriors in his family tree. He was not afraid to stand up for what he believed in, especially if he thought he was protecting somebody weaker than him. He was brave because every time he went diving, he swam with sharks. He wasn't worried though-- he had a dream once where a mo╩╗owahine in the form of a shark came and told him he was welcome. He was brave enough to swim in dangerous waves along rocky shores, and dive in the dark for lobsters. He climbed to the top of crumbling castles. He believed in being brave.

But just because you are a strong warrior, just mean you should brag about it. Matt believed in being humble. Too humble! He never told anybody when he won awards or prizes, he never showed off or bragged about the cool stuff he did. He was a really amazing guitar player but wouldn't play unless everyone was ignoring him. He could speak Japanese, he was 2nd Dan aikido black belt, he had traveled all over the world, he wrote poetry, he knew practically everything about history, he could cook gourmet meals, and he could run a marathon, no problem. But he would just say, meh, no big deal. He didn't think it made him better than anyone else. He believed in being humble.

Daddy was smart. And what that really means is that he tried new things. He always tried hard and kept trying. He'd find ways to fix his truck or build his fence, he'd invent ways of feeding the goats, he'd design experiments. He kept practicing his guitar and his small bagpipes. When he ran into problems with his work projects, he'd read books and articles about how to fix them. He tried and tried and tried. We can remember him whenever we learn something new, or try a new good thing.

The most important thing that Matt believed in was how much he loved you, my three perfect girls. He gave you the very best, purest, kindest, strongest, brightest and most beautiful parts of himself. He was the most important guide and helper when you were born. He carried you for thousands of hours and miles on his chest and back where you snuggled and slept. He read you stories from before you could understand words-- Winnie the Pooh and Wind in the Willows, Narnia and the Hobbit. He kept you safe in rough oceans, he built elaborate sandcastles with you, he held your hands on long walks across the station, to pick grapefruit, starfruit, papaya and mountainapples or feed the goats. He took you to Tutu & Me preschool and helped you play pretend food and make puzzles. He carried you when you were tired on hikes, even when you so heavy and long that your feet knocked against the back of his knees. He made you lunch and took you to the school bus. He kept your drawings and pictures in his office so he could see them everyday. He wanted to show you the world-- he took you to pubs in Ireland to hear music and play dominos. He wished he could have taken you everywhere else for the rest of his life. But he was just too sick.

His sickness doesn't make his love any smaller. The love he had for our family was the biggest, brightest thing he had in his life. He wished he could have stayed in that love forever. But he couldn’t stay. These are the things, my girls, we need to remember from our Matt. We need to love and enjoy each other, play together, and keep being smart, brave and humble.

Now, we have to live without him. But we need to love each other and care for each other, and remember his love for us.


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