I've been spending a lot of time reading this blog:
While I feel sad about the loss of Matt's wife and Madeline's mother, what I feel most is immeasurable admiration for this man. He writes from his heart about his grief, his fears, his loneliness, and how he might break or mess up his daughter. (Which we all worry about, Matt.) (I sometimes feel my children have survived and thrived in spite of me and the upbringing I gave them.) He pours out his heart in an unapologetic manner, even telling his readers "if you don't like the words I use, don't read it," which is how I feel as well.
At times, I had tears running down my face reading his blog. He wears his wedding band and his wife's rings on his pinkie finger. It makes me think about how I put Grandma's wedding band onto my finger, just as the mortician had taken it off of her finger, and we were about to drive to the cemetery. I think about how many married men won't wear a ring at all - which is an outward, tangible sign in our society of love, devotion and commitment between two people. He writes that he wears them to keep her near and I know what he means by that. The love that he feels for Liz is nearly unfathomable to me. He writes of how he was with her for something like twelve years and 59 days, how he doesn't want to be without her longer than he was with her, and how at some point in time, it will happen. I don't know if any man has ever loved me the way he loves her. Photos show not only her outward beauty, but the love she had for life, her vivaciousness.
I wore Grandma's ring until it caused me more pain than comfort to have it on my finger. As I write this, her picture is here beside me.
He longs to talk to Liz and he talks to Madeline instead. I have always spoken to those who have gone on before me- Benny, Papaw, Grandma Lindsey, Grandma Minnie, and now, Grandma Doris. I like to believe that they can somehow hear us. I also believe they are looking down upon us and the love continues to flow upon our lives.
Matt writes about how he wants to grieve but Madeline needs him to feed her, change her diaper, hold her. I remember how many times Laura and Bradley kept me going, kept me hanging in there, kept me alive. I would have dried up without them. Or, I would have ended up laying in some gutter somewhere. Laura and Bradley believed in me, loved me and forgave me more than I ever, ever deserved. There were so many times that I was afraid, but they were always there, looking to me, believing that I would take care of them. Matt will find that children are wonderful, resilient creatures.
This man is beautiful. You can see the pain he has experienced in his eyes. You can also see what a solid person he is. His story is a real life Sleepless in Seattle. His blog is a testimony of the goodness in most people. There has been an outpouring of love for he and his daughter. Operating it seems, on the "it takes a village" philosophy of raising Madeline, he shares her generously with everyone. There are as many photos on his blog of others holding her as there are of him holding her.
He spews it all - the pain, the loneliness, the fear. Many entries end in "I hate this day." But he also expresses gratefulness and recognition of a good day or laughter or friendship. He appreciates what he has and often entries end in the goodness of having his daughter.
It sounds trite, but I for one know "that which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." I know I can survive anything and if Matt doesn't know it already, he will. There is a sort of comfort in the awfulness of what life deals out, in the surviving, in the wisdom of the strength that one acquires through adversity. I don't know this man, but I admire him intensely for his tenacity, his strength, his honesty, his spirit. He will, in time, be o.k. and will bask in the love that Madeline will shower upon his life. My heart goes out to them.