Last week I said goodbye to a friend. He was more than a friend, though, he was family. Our families adopted each other. The Queen and I had him in our wedding, introducing him as my adopted grandpa…
It has taken me some time to find the words I wanted to share. So what follows may be a jumbled mess and while I know that is okay, for moments such as these I wish I could come up with the “right” words and I wish I could come up with them faster. I sat silently and listened as others shared stories about this amazing man. Maybe what follows is what I would have said if I’d had these words faster, if I’d been braver. I doubt it, though. I couldn’t even type them without spilling tears. There’s no way I could speak them out loud.
He called me Matt the Cat. I’m not sure there was more to it than he liked the way it sounded. I never asked him. And now it is too late.
We adopted him, in our fashion, and made him part of our adventures. He went camping with us a couple times. He always said it was an honor to be included. We wouldn’t have had it any other way and wished he could have made it more often. He was like a kid in those mountains. His eyes full of wonder and joy. Then again, his eyes were always full of joy. Joy was who he was, how he approached life, how he treated everyone.
He played the harmonica. He could make it sing. He could make it whistle like a train picking up speed and getting closer and closer. The Little Prince used to love that.
He was good with the two older princes. Patient. Attentive. He wanted to hear their stories and watch them run. The newest prince hadn’t met him. And now it is too late.
As the Queen and I began our winter pilgrimages to the snow with our littles in tow, we would stop at his house on our way to the mountains and share stories and pictures, stretch our legs, visit. We always felt bad invading his home with our chaos. I’m certain he didn’t mind. I wish we could have stopped more often than we did. I wish we could have stayed longer each time too. You could hear it in his voice, that buzzing excitement, each time we knocked on his door. You could see it in his eyes, sparkling with that joy he exuded. And now we’ve made our last stop. It hurts to say that.
I’ll miss him. I’ll miss his joy.