I have had a very up and down day, but with a lot of quality time with eldest, and the arrival of my new print and my obsidian egg, and a successful trip to TKMaxx to go with it, followed by fish & chips and hanging out together. It’s been nice, and quite comforting. I’m as close to ok as I get, and although there’s some things I want to write about, I also don’t want to drag myself down right now so…I thought I would share Matt’s Eulogy with you instead. It was a very hard thing to do, to stand up in front of everyone, supported by one of my amazing children on each side, and to tell people about my Matt. I’m still very glad I did. And I’m still a tiny bit proud of myself for doing it. It was so important to me that everyone knew who my Matt was and who we were. So…here it is:
“We all knew a different Matt. He was Matthew, or Hammy or, to me, Matt. Unless I wanted to get his attention across a crowded room, in which case shouting Hammy was the only thing that really worked. He was a son, a brother, an uncle, a father, a husband, a friend and more recently my partner & fiancé. We were everything to each other. I’m not going to pretend we were perfect – believe me we had some kick-ass arguments. but we always talked things through, and made up, and were stronger as a result. We argued the night before he died, over something typically ridiculous, and I will always regret that, even though I know that’s just how we were.
Matt was larger than life, full of vitality, the life and soul of the party. Making him laugh was a joy, especially when he wasn’t expecting it and his belly laugh would just erupt from deep inside. On the inside he struggled sometimes. He wasn’t as secure as he came across. Some of his previous relationships had left him with some baggage, and a lack of self-confidence that you wouldn’t expect. He didn’t realise how many friends he had in Oxfordshire until he’d left, and he’d be amazed to realise how many friends he had full stop – looking at all of you here. Really, he’d be gobsmacked.
He hadn’t slipped back into life here quite as easily as he’d wanted to but, as he said, it didn’t really matter, as we had each other, and that was more than enough for both of us. As you can tell, he was often a big softie. He’d cry at soppy moments in films all the time. Well those he could stay awake through that is – he was very good at falling asleep in the cinema!
He loved working with Kevin here, and he was a bit of perfectionist. When something hadn’t gone right at work, he’d ring me up and beat himself up about it, until he’d talked it through to reach a solution. He always wanted to do the best job he could, and not let anyone down, which is probably why Kevin was happy to let him get on with things a lot of the time.They worked together really well, and had the cutest little bromance going on 😉
Matt wasn’t about money, as long as he had enough money to do what he wanted to do, he was happy. We travelled around a lot. Matt liked to be outdoors. Having converted him up from that daft uplift mountain bike sport, and before my health got worse, I converted him to the only real way of riding bikes and we rode sportives together. Once, early on, before he’d reached my level, I had to leave him at the split point on one of them, and rather than be annoyed, he was just proud that his girl was the kind of girl who could go off and do that. His support and faith in me were amazing.
If it wasn’t the bike, it was beaches or mountains or hills. We once managed to go to a different beach every weekend for ten weeks in a row. He’d never seen dolphins in the wild before until then, and we saw them many more times. I remember the two of us sitting on a small beach somewhere wild in the rain, with no-one else there, under waterproofs, just having the place to ourselves and the dolphins to watch.
He loved to swim in the sea, usually complete with wetsuit but not always. I thought he was mad! He kept trying get back into surfing, but as with most of us, age had caught up with him a bit, and popping up wasn’t as easy as it used to be. Not that this stopped him trying. Sometimes we flew kites instead. Well he did – with his usual skill and flair. I just got dragged around the beach by my luckily smaller kite, trying to stay on the ground, while he laughed at me flailing my arms around trying to control the darn thing!
He went snowboarding here when he could, and even had a go at teaching Tash. However beaches were definitely our favourite thing and on a beach, on May 1st 2017, he got down on one knee and proposed, with a haribo ring. Clearly I said yes! Oh, and ate the ring 😉 Having been married before, clearly not that successfully, I wasn’t that bothered about doing it again, but he was determined that he wanted to stand up and tell the world how much he loved me, and who can argue with that kind of thing? 😉
Matt had a big heart. He loved all animals – reptiles, cats (even though he pretended he didn’t like my two), horses, especially dogs, and he missed not being able to have his Mollie with him and was sad when she passed. Having said that, there was the odd dog that didn’t like him, which always really annoyed him, especially when they chose me over him!
Music was a big part of his, and our, lives together. For a few years our relationship was a long distance one, and we spent our lives on the M4/M5 going to visit each other. We’d talk all the time, in the car, when he was driving the van, in the evenings. We’d send each other songs that sometimes said what words couldn’t. Even when he moved down here, we were in touch 24/7. If we were together, we were always holding hands, always touching. When we weren’t, it was Messenger, or WhatsApp, or Text or whatever. Over the years we got through so many pairs of headphones it was ridiculous!
We listened to a lot of music when we were together in person. We went to various gigs, some more his thing, some more mine. I never could convince him the Quireboys were good! 😉 Recently he finally got to see Mad Apple Circus at a mini festival in Bristol, and danced like a mad punk for hours, even if he did have to stop to catch his breath from time to time. He got to meet them, chat to them, and even got the t-shirt. He was so happy – it’s going to be one of my best and happiest memories of him.
As you can tell by looking at my face, and knowing Matt, you’ll know that Matt and I also had body art in common. We never got anything done on our own. If one of us was getting something done, so was the other, at Pierced Up on Park Row, which sometimes included my kids too! Then we’d all end up in Zero Degrees opposite – it became quite the tradition. Until the last manager moved on, they knew us by name and he used to try out his new brews on us! Tash, Austin and I had memorial tattoos done last week, at Pierced Up as ever, and as they knew him so well there, and were as shocked as we were by it all, we got VIP treatment, complete with us all being allowed to be in the room together to hold hands, and with shots of fortifying rum. Oh and also with no charge, as their way of honouring him too. That’s Matt – he made a big impact wherever he went. It was one of our many favourite places, like the Sheppey Inn, or Cornwall, or Pembrokeshire, or walking around the res, or the Oakhouse where we met and had made our own, or Glastonbury. I think we all know his beliefs were fairly non-religious but he had a spiritual side – he liked crystals, and reiki, and more, and he would be laughing at me now, walking around with the relevant grief aiding crystal in my bra. Well, right now to be honest I’d try anything to try and ease the pain a little! The list of “our places” was growing all the time, and there are a lot of places that are going to be very hard to go back to without him now.
Matt lived life to the full. If he could help a friend he would. He was full of projects for the house, and would turn his hand to anything. The house is full of bits and pieces for plans we had that will now never happen. He also loved my little sports car, even if him trying to fix it has left it more broken that it was before!
He also gave the best hugs ever, as I’m sure many of you know, and my hand fit perfectly in his. He’d even hold me up when my legs wouldn’t. And he taught me to stand up for myself more. He was so proud of me when I sent back a meal that was rubbish a couple of months ago, and so was I! He always looked after me, my health issues never phased him, he was already in it for in sickness & in health. He didn’t care what I wore or whether my weight went up or down, he just loved me for me, and I loved him for him.
We were always together, and there is nowhere that there isn’t a Matt shaped void now. His favourite film was Deadpool, and the fact that we had both found someone who’s crazy matched our crazy was just amazing to us both. I can’t imagine ever finding anyone like him ever again, and I’m struggling with figuring out how to live my life without him. I miss him so much it hurts. I don’t know where he is now, and I guess I’m just hoping he’s around and watching over us. So in case you’re up there listening to me Matt, I love you to the beach and beyond and forever. Your crazy matched my crazy big time.”
That was my boy. My beautiful boy. And I hope you know him a little better now. I am better for having known him.😭💔