On April 11, 2017, Matt’s sister put an orange on the Seder plate and announced that it stood for women’s rights. This was all Matt needed. I don’t remember the exact conversation. I’m sure he teased her in the way only a big brother could. I’m sure we all laughed, his sister included. I’m sure, though I don’t remember, because that was Matt.
The other day the kids and I toured a peer support bereavement group. At the orientation the woman who showed us around asked them what they remembered about their dad. I braced myself for the worst because their last memories were not joyful. But kids are resilient and I am reminded every day of their remarkable ability to keep moving because they did not mention any of the difficult days. They talked about how he played basketball and superheroes with them. They reached back in their memories to the real Matt and I am so, so grateful that they’ve let the hard days disappear, and all that’s left is the fun.
I often wonder what the kids will remember about Matt. They will never know him as an adult. They won’t know his sense of humor, the way he liked to argue the contrary position (of anything and everything) just to get the other person riled up, or how sometimes he made jokes so bad that the only response was to roll your eyes and grin. They won’t know the infuriating way he referred to all male doctors by their last names and female doctors by their first names, or how he could laugh at himself when I pointed out (over and over and over again) that inequality.
It’s sad to think that G and H won’t know that part of him because it’s the part I fell in love with first and the part I miss the most. But hopefully one day they’ll read this post and a spark of memory will ignite, and maybe they won’t remember how Matt teased his sister about the orange on the Seder plate, but they’ll remember us all laughing about it together.