Grief Healing – Dear Matt

Dear Matt,

I’ve typed, deleted, typed, deleted and here I am typing again words I have on my heart, but struggle to get them out. You were my closest ally and my biggest cheerleader these last ten years. You were the first person to congratulate me on the birth of my daughter, somehow finding the time from a deployed location to give me a call. You kept me laughing with jokes then quickly switched to Socratic real-talk on my two-hour road trips between Camp Lejeune and Ft. Bragg back in 2015. You kept me focused on the good stuff about life when I was suffering or heartbroken. You listened to me as I grieved the loss of my uncles, my Airman, my grandma, my father, and my friends.

I woke up this morning with a deep appreciation of the gift of friendship and brotherhood you gave me these last ten years. Everything I learned about kindness, seeing others as they are and leading them from the heart I learned from you. Your legacy lives on and will continue to live on in so many people. You inspired us all to know better, do better, and be better. I thank you for all the friendship and compassion you gave 100% of the time to me. I pray I was able to give you 90% of what you gave to me. I miss being able to shoot you a text about something funny or serious. I miss hearing your voice tell me to “go! get after it!” The way you supported me as a fellow human being is a beautiful gift and it’s a gift I’ve been trying to return to others since seeing your personal example for the first time back in 2008. When others were concerned with medals, you had a half dozen medals laying in the back of your SUV…I’ll never forget what you said when a friend asked you about them being on the floor. You said “It’s never about the medals, it’s about doing good work for people!” You were always curious about the world, culture, human existence and self-actualization.  You inspired me to direct my energy towards these things. For all of your friendship, unconditional compassion and care…I thank you my brother, my friend!

Keep watch over us as I know you will. You may be gone from this earth, but nothing can remove you from our hearts. My Anam Cara we will meet again and until that day, we will all honor your life with the way we live ours.

Love & Leadership,


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