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We met through friends.  A couple HS friends of mine belonged to the same sorority house as her at NIU.  We first met in May 2000 at Gaelic Fest (well I actually met her youngest sister first 😉 and hung out a number of times over the summer…bars, bands, fests, you name it.  Once school started back up I went to her sorority’s fall formal.  I was still at VU but graduated in December; she graduated the following May.  We set our official ‘when did we start dating’ date as Oct. 28th 2000.  There’s a little bit more to it than that, but from that point on we created so many special memories together.  We had so many plans, so many years ahead of us, so many more children to bring into our lives (or family’s lives), so many new and existing people to touch, so many things to do, so many vacations to take; it wasn’t supposed to happen like this. 

We were opposites in many ways yet similar in so many more.  We complimented each other ALL the time.  She was outspoken and I was reserved.  She always wanted to be around people and I enjoyed my occasional quite time.   She was a rockstar and challenged me and everyone else to keep up.  She loved being in the sun and I loved the outdoors but definitely enjoyed some shade too.  She wasn’t a very fast bike rider so I would put on the rollerblades so that we’d go at the same pace.  I could cook (at least I could follow directions really well) and she really tried her best and was finally getting quite good at it.   When she would get aggravated I knew exactly how to quickly turn any situation to the positive and make her laugh.  And we loved so many of the same things … I’ll get to that list later!  One of the best things ever was how we could make each other laugh, regardless of the situation.  I just absolutely loved how I could make her laugh and I loved her laugh.  It wasn’t always easy but it really was perfect.

After a little … how can we say … convincing, I popped the question and we were married about 9 months later in beautiful Riviera Maya, Mexico alongside 44 of our friends and family.  It was unforgettable for everyone there.  About 1 year later Ellie entered our lives and in just under another 2 came Carson.  They are two of the most amazing individuals; we love them more than anything in life and we are truly blessed.

And then all of a sudden, who could have ever expected that such a beautiful May morning in Chicago would turn into something so absolutely devastating.  You can find a bunch of additional information about all that here –

We have thousands of pictures to look back on.  Besides our two beautiful and amazing children, those pictures are my most priceless possessions.  We took pictures because we always wanted to be able to look back and remember.  Thank goodness for the invention of the digital camera!  Ever since we first purchased one (well two) on our vacation in St. Thomas we never stopped taking them (remember how big that thing was, it wouldn’t even fit in our pocket).

She went to school for psychology and eventually got her master’s in education and teaching cert.  I don’t think I ever realized the impact she had on her students lives, but she touched so many in her short career.  And the amount of impact she had is really something that seems difficult to replicate.  I can’t tell you too many teachers that actually impacted my life, but she certainly touched hers.  She wanted so much to be the stay-at-home mom.  She continued to waitress and sub and she even started up teaching at the U of Phoenix, but it was our kiddies who got the most attention.  She absolutely loved them!

The day before this all happened, I came home all excited about the possibility that we would have a buyer for our 2-flat.  We’ve been holding onto that place hoping that we could sell it and buy a new home for ourselves.  After spending hours that night looking at new houses, I could have never imagined what the next day had in store for us.  

We miss her so much!

One Comment

  1. jpinnick says:

    Hi Matt.
    My name is James.

    I lost my wife to cancer about 18 months ago. She was only 29. I have read your blog for quite a long time now and like your insights. I’ve never written to you before but I wanted to say hang in there, simply. I never wanted to really write but now I am overflowing with some emotions lately and need to get them down on paper. I think I have you to thank for some of the inspiration to get my feelings out there.

    I just noticed you have some other Widows/Widowers blog links on the site. Can I humbly ask you to add my blog to that area?

    It’s called 29 Years Old. I Shouldn’t Be A Widower.
    I will add yours as well with your permission.


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