Dear Matt

Written By: Carol Myers & Allison Heimes, LOSS Team Volunteer

The following guest article is from a family who lost their beloved son and brother to suicide a few years back. It comes to you from both the mother’s & sister’s perspective. While we know no two people’s grief is the same, their honesty and transparency with their experience is a powerful reminder of how suicide can impact a family, and that each of us can serve as a beacon of hope for someone we love. If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicide ideation or you are in crisis, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 now to reach a trained crisis counselor.

From his mother . . .

Dear Matt,

It has been 3 years since we lost you. Some days it feels like 11/27/17 was just yesterday but on other days it feels like the nightmare that never ends. We decided to write you a quick note to update you on some of the events you’ve missed in the last 3 years.

You have 2 new nephews. That makes a total of 5 nephews! Maxwell Charles is 2 and Peter Matthew is 1. You would have loved these two. Max reminds me of your sister when she was little, so stubborn. Peter’s mind is always working on an angle, he is sneaky. You would have enjoyed watching all your nephews as they develop their own personalities. I think you and Jake would have been the best of buds. The holidays are pure craziness with all of them running and screaming with joy, shooting nerf guns at each other, or snowball fights in the winter. We are so proud of your brother and sister; they have become great parents.

Your brother and sister have been very busy and have made good lives for their families. Your sister is running for State Legislature. She is running to honor you and to try and make a difference for mental health reform. Your brother has a growing medical practice. I think his experience with your death has changed how he practices medicine. This letter makes it sound like we have all just moved on, but that is not the case. Let me tell you about some of the other moments that you have missed. You have missed watching your Mom and Dad visiting you on your birthday and the anniversary of your death as we hold each other and cry. You have also missed the grief counseling sessions with your Mom as she struggled with “How did I not know you were in pain”. The worst moments are when we run into old neighbors or friends of yours that ask, “How is Matt?”. Suicide is a very uncomfortable subject to talk about, but we hope by speaking out, we can help other individuals and families facing similar situations.

I know this letter sounds like your family is bitter or angry, sometimes we are. But more importantly, we want you to know that there is not a single day that goes by that we don’t think about you and miss you. We have missed out on watching you get married and having children of your own. We have all missed the Matt hugs, teasing, and high 5’s during Husker football games. Your parents have missed not getting to gaze on you with pride.

We want you to know that the world is smaller without you. We love and miss you.

Your Family

From his sister . . .

My children have this book called Dragons Love Tacos. It’s a great children’s book. It even has a sequel. The sequel involves Tacos becoming scarce and the main character going back in time to get more. It is silly, but cute. It got me thinking. Have you ever imagined going back in time? Have you ever thought of what you would do? What time period would you visit? Would you go back to witness the signing of the Declaration of Independence? Would you go back further to meet Joan of Arc? Would you go watch Babe Ruth hit a homer? Would you kill Hitler? I’ve daydreamed about what I would do before. What time periods I would steer clear of as a woman. What historical moments I’d be curious about, but on November 27, 2017 those daydreams ended. On that day my brother passed away from suicide. He left this world, alone. He felt inadequate. He felt powerless. He felt like he had no other choice. Now, if someone asked me, “If you could go back in time where would you go?” I would unequivocally say that I would go back to November 26. 2017. I would stop whatever I was doing that day and drive straight to his home. I would break all the rules of time travel and tell him I knew what he was going to do and how it would destroy our family. I would hug him so tight that nothing bad in this world could get to him. I would save him. It is this very thought… this very desire that I have come to the conclusion that time travel will never be invented. If time travel became possible, we would all use it to save our loved ones. I suppose time travel will just need to remain a thing of children’s stories. At least in the book they go back in time for tacos; my brother’s favorite.

Allison Heimes (sister of suicide victim)