Monday, April 27, 2015


Matthew, Matthew, Matthew—I guess I can say your name as often as I’d like but the result is still the same. You just aren’t here. Something I’ve grappled with daily as we near the ending of Month 4 of your passing. This picture represents all of my feelings. Look at the Love in this photo. This is family. This is friendship. The Three Muskateers totally entwined at Ry & Jenn’s wedding. I can only see the fingers of your right hand and your left arm with the red wrist band. This is our present and our future isn’t it? We talk about you incessantly—but that is our past. Your love remains our present and our future. Like the photo—we can’t see you and yet we have very strong memories and feel and live with the imprint you’ve left behind. The memories bring us comfort but honestly, they are drenched in tears. The sorrow is physical. It hurts. The roller coaster is heading downhill. I’m holding on tight. Still such a short time has passed since your death. Death—there I’ve said it. Passing is the word I’ve wanted everyone to use when referencing your gone-ness. Death seems so final. Something I was just not ready to say because I felt I was saying goodbye to you and I truly cannot imagine you as not a part of my present and my future. Big step. I’m realizing that I can say goodbye to the physical you and hold onto your spirit, your love, our memories. I can bring your love into my present and make it my future. Your family is my present and my future. You live in our hearts—our present and our future.

I have an Addy story for you; God, how you loved hearing stories about her. Come to find out, she enjoys hearing stories about you as well! She has recently discovered a favorite “Once Upon A Time . . . Daddy” story and I can’t tell you how many times I have to repeat that story before she’ll go to bed. I tell her the story about the Christmas season that we visited Benson’s Wild Animal Farm when Jason was four and you were two. A million Christmas lights was the selling point. All bundled up in your bright yellow snowsuit with the royal blue racing stripe down the back you were just stopped dead in your tracks by the gorilla cage. A very large gorilla was housed in a cage within a cage and you grabbed onto those outer bars and kept shouting “GROSS—he’s picking his butt and eating it!!” The crowd of onlookers was hysterical. Well, you should hear her laugh. Probably not the best bedtime story but this is one of those times where I indulge in Gammy License. She probably likes the story so much because it has the word “butt” in it. Remember the night Jason, you and I sat on the couch in the kitchen with the dictionary and looked up every swear word we could think of? It worked. Two little boys lost their potty mouths when the mystery behind swearing was removed! My past—Addy’s present and future.

Month 4 has been all about tissues and big sunglasses. I started to empty the pockets of my winter coats getting ready to store them with the change in seasons and I could not believe the amount of tissues I’ve been carrying around! In reflecting, going to the grocery store has become such a chore. I can no longer convince Dad that breakfast cereal is an appropriate dinner meal so I’ve had to leave the house with the purpose of tackling a regular, necessary household task. The car is my alone time and I usually start crying by the time I hit Wallace Rd. Need a few tissues for the 10 minute drive and then the sunglasses usually stay on inside the store. Grief-chic. How many times have I really left the house since January? We had tickets to a comedy night in Boston in January. That was my first attempt at being social. I fell asleep in the car for the ride to Boston, slept through the show and slept all the way back to NH. I’d have to say that yes, I did get out but the jury is still out on whether or not it was a success. Our friends understood. They were just happy to be with Dad and I. Listen to me . . . what has happened to the woman that was able to feel compassion and empathy? I was very happy to be with them as well but I am getting so weary of the me-centric nature that comes with grief. What about all of the other people that are hurting? I forget that others are deeply affected by your loss. I forget to ask how they are doing and when I see someone tear up, it brings it right back home and breaks through my fog. Certainly not feeling like myself yet. Time isn’t making me as crazy as it was in the beginning. I can remember when I last washed my hair, the laundry gets done on a regular basis, I haven’t forgotten to feed the grandkids, taxes are finished, I haven’t run out of gas (only because of Dad). I’m still reading like a mad woman. Still trying to find my way. Makeup goes on some days. I get out now and then, more then than now with friends. Baby steps. Did take a huge step and went away with Auntie to the Finger Lakes region in NY. A mini-getaway and a cross off my bucket list. Was so shocked when I had an emotional meltdown in the B&B’s restaurant. I was looking out of these beautiful French doors at a sunset over Cayuga Lake. Still wintery landscape shades of browns and grays but the colors from the sun and the sky were incredible. Hope—that is what the sunset was saying to me and then the explosion of grief burst in my heart. Hope—I have no hope that my life will be the same without you. Beauty—how can I experience beauty without you? I feel like there is a veil between life and me. How do I jump back onto the train of living? This moment made me realize how safe I’ve felt at home surrounded by all of my Matty Mementos. The past. I need to find my present and my future. My goal for Month 5—find a way to turn the sorrow into sadness and stick my right foot into that thing called Life. My Aunt Lu sent me a prayer today. It resonated so deeply. "Father . . . where there is pain or sorrow, give them Your peace and mercy." So Matty, please Honey, send me all the peace and mercy you can summon. And please, send peace and mercy to all of your family and friends who are missing you as much as I.

Love you so much—forever.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015



Oh! Honey—after a week of ‘FIRSTS’ I have to be honest—I was dreading Easter Sunday. We had to get through your first Wedding Anniversary which did not pass without a bucket of tears. Auntie put together the pics and the video shorts of your wedding and we all revisited that very special day. We can hear you at one point saying “this is a fairy tale”.

I thank you so much for the sign you sent Nikki. You are romantic and thoughtful beyond the grave! The beautiful Hibiscus plant named Matty II that was sent to the funeral home for your viewing was entrusted to Auntie, the Master Gardener of the family. As you know, the plant goes dormant in the wintertime. Set against her beautiful glass kitchen doors with the sun shining upon the snow-covered field, Auntie snapped a picture of a gorgeous red bloom—a bloom that will only last for one day. A blossom that speaks volumes. “Here I am Nikki. I know what day this is. I’ll remember it always. You are my everything. I’ll always be here for you. Go into your heart, quiet your mind and speak to me. I’ll make my presence known. I’ll love you forever. Happy Anniversary Claus.”

Nikki’s planned Anniversary Dinner was a success, again an event filled with laughter and tears. That really is a joy for us. That we can remember a story and because of who you were/are we can laugh and cry in the same breath. The kids spent an overnight and Addy was missing you. She asked, “Gammy, just text my Daddy”. I don’t know if my 4G service would have made it to Heaven but her words surely did. We had to play a few extra rounds of “Once Upon a Time . . .  Daddy”. The stories of your growing up years and beyond are such a comfort to her. I have a repertoire and some of the endings have to be left off until she gets a little older, a lot older! She is such a pip. Funny! She has your personality and at 2 already enjoys making people laugh. She has an eye roll down-pat and we are already fastening our seat belts anticipating her antics. Bear Bear fell asleep on Bampy and he was thrilled beyond belief. Our first and only boy. We are so in love with your children.

There is so much love that surrounds us. Love is a buoy for our sadness. We feel our grief so intensely because we loved you so fiercely. This life filled with lessons of duality! To know the good side you must experience the darkness. How else can we learn? I would not trade the unconditional love I have for you for anything so I will learn to shoulder the grief as I truly believe one does not exist without the other. Easter week was a week of reflection. Love, sacrifice, faith and renewal were given much thought. You know the struggles I’ve had with organized religion. The questions that remain unanswered. Nonetheless, I have faith. I believe in a soul. A Higher Consciousness, God. I listened to a 2010 Easter version of the song ‘Hallelujah’ by Kelley Mooney and the words were so powerful. I felt like I heard the song through my soul and not my ears. Love, sacrifice, faith and renewal—an emotion, an act, a strong belief without proof and a journey of transformation. We can’t see them. We can’t touch them, but they can touch us. The constant in all four elements is Love. It always comes back to Love!

Jason & Beth hosted Easter dinner this year. Dad and I had a moment in the car on our way to Jay and Beth’s. Our moments—a time when the tears come unexpectedly, usually for a short duration. They are a part of our lives now, these moments. They are a remembrance that saddens, a pang of reality, a sting of loneliness. The thought of Thanksgiving brought on this moment. I blurted out “I sure am going to miss Matthew’s Thanksgivings”, and Dad had his moment and when I see him, empathy fills my heart and I join him in tears. Thanksgiving—your holiday so perfectly timed and creatively executed. The memories you’ve given us with your family meals! Here we are, jumping to November when we haven’t seen the light of April’s days. That’s how the mind works these days. Jumbled. No specific order. All over the place.

We were all silently apprehensive as this was our first holiday (Holy Day) without you. It also happened to be J. Rose’s birthday. Unfortunately Jason was sick and spent most of the day in bed. Was tough on him as he needed to be with us. Beth, realizing how important this First was, tackled the day with two kids in tow and did a bang up job. As it so often happens, the men were in the living room (Bear included) and the women were in the kitchen. Solidarity of emotion! The conversation naturally drifted to you and how we were all dealing with your absence. We all agreed that the room was a little quieter, that we missed you terribly, that the shock of losing a force so young and strong was wearing off and the reality of the journey we will all undertake to fill that space that is You was now beginning. We talked about how difficult it is to see people for the first time or have to relay the fact that you are no longer with us for those that have not heard. Nikki—widow sounds too old a title for such a young woman. Single Mom is easier to absorb. She feels that when she hears stories of other women losing their husbands, they cannot possibly be feeling the same pain she is in because you were so special, so loving, so funny, such a partner, a lover, a confidante, her best friend. You were a special husband. We agreed.

One of my favorite moments of the day—Jason came downstairs to sing Happy Birthday to Jaelyn. Addy sees him and says “Uncle Jason are you feeling better?” He responds, “I am now that I’m seeing you.” I was rounding the corner from the living room with Bear; Jason was staying away from the crowd and had settled in on the staircase. Bear saw him and his face lit up like a Christmas tree. Jason’s heart melted and he returned that great big Bear smile, a smile that says “I am pure love and joy”—with one of his own. Your Bro has your back Little One. Your children will be surrounded by love. They will never have to seek it. It will be freely showered upon them.  

Surreal this life without you, my Matthew. We needed to gather and talk and reminisce as a family. Love is something you freely gave with no strings attached. You intimately knew the meaning of Love and the power it had when generously exchanged. Your darkness was forgiveness. You struggled, you worked at it, and you were going to find a way to allow Love to overcome. To honor your memory, I am going to work on Love in my life. I am going to reset my mind and let my soul sit in the driver’s seat. I am going to look for the goodness in everyone and replace the daily annoyances I am confronted with, with Love.  If I am annoyed, isn’t it a mirror for a behavior I recognize in myself that needs adjusting? Keep loving me. I will keep loving you. Help me to create my footprint of goodness by constantly reminding me that it all comes back to Love. Give freely and it will come back in spades. We had a good day . . . WE HAD A GOOD DAY!
Love you forever,



Wednesday, April 1, 2015



This picture looks Heavenly to methat beam of sunlight shooting out from the left side of the photo. You seem to be giving Addy a glimpse of things to come. You are not looking back, you are looking forward to infinity, eternity . . . whatever, we’re not with you and that hurts so incredibly much. Thank you so very much for listening, talkI’d listen if you only could.  I am feeling that life at the end of month 3 is more difficult to bear than months 1 and 2. Nothing compares to the initial shock of hearing the words that your child has died in a tragic accident. It creates a physical pain that permeates your entire being. My heart was uplifted though when I saw the number of lives that you had touched, the hundreds that waited in freezing cold weather to get into the funeral home to pay their respects. I was so grateful that I had been chosen to be your Mother. I could see your mission in lifeyour purpose on one hand had been completed at such a young age; and yet the young family that you leavehow does that all fit? The fact that you touched so many hearts and yet so many more are left broken with your passing? You would be celebrating your first wedding anniversary tomorrow. You were not a traditionalist. I remember you telling me that you wanted your children to be old enough to participate in the wedding, to have the memories that you and Jason had with Dad & I. So happy you decided NOT to wait! I am so sad that Nikki will never get to finish planning her big After the Wedding Party. She is planning a party for you tomorrow night; celebrating your anniversary with the same people you enjoyed dinner with at the Copper Door after the wedding. I know you’ve been invited and I’m sure you’ll have a blast. What I’ve reflected on is the fact that we have two choices in dealing with the Firsts that we'll be facing this year. Your Anniversary Party is a great example. Nikki could stay home and be sad and cry and scream but where would that leave her? Instead she’s moving forward. She’s celebrating your wedding. Finding a way to connect with you after your transformation. She’ll be uplifted by your combined friends. She’s asking people to create a Memory Jar . . . Addy & Bear will be thrilled when they get older and can read all about your antics.

Month 2
I've lived with the fact that time was passing and every day inched closer to the reality that I would never be able to hug you, hear your laugh, receive phone calls "Hey Mom, my risotto came out great". You loved to cook and that was where your creative juices flowed when you weren't managing the family business. You kept our family close. You organized Sunday dinners. We were so important to you and I was so very happy to see the man, the father, the husband you were growing into. I was thrilled that my sense of family was central to your being and that you were passing that love on to your children. Funny, all the teenage angst, the college know-it-all attitude and you came back to the roost. The foundation had been laid even though we experienced ups and downs in your childhood. But hey, who doesn’t? Life, the Earthly classroom. Am very tired of it as we close out this month. But I feel my job isn’t finished so I do have to get up every morning, smell the scent remaining in that burgundy Henley that you once worenot clean and it never will be. I’ll smell that shirt until there is nothing left of it to smell. I feel like this is our new hug! Addy says “Morning and Good Night” to you, a family picture I have out in the living room.  She will never forget you. She has conversations with you on our old mobile phones. My secret wish is that I hear your voice talking to her on one of those phones and I listen to her responses. Make that happen will you. Gather whatever spirits you need and create that energy please!

I imagine that all parents go through their own way of grieving when losing a child. Grief must vary according to the age of passing.  I fortunately was able to enjoy many of your milestones, yet I am crushed every time I see and hear that little 2 year old asking for her Daddy and acknowledging once again, that you live in her heart. Addy and Bear will have to experience their own milestones without you. Nikki will be strong as she faces her own milestones. I feel like I have survivor guilt . . . I have a husband and my daughter in law does not. My husband can be a grandfather but can't fill that hole that missing a father leaves. How can that be?? Fair?? I know life is not but I do feel that the rage is starting to boil. My heart grieves for so many. For myself, for Dad, for Nikki, Addy, Bear & especially JasonBeth, Jaelyn, the list could go on and on. How do we find our way, how do we walk this life without you physically. Yes, I know about the energy transformation, blah, blah. blah but that thought is not comforting me now. I miss the physical you. I listen to your voice on videos that we’ve taped. Anything to keep you alive. But time is moving on and I feel you slipping. It’s the reality that is sinking in. NEVER is such a long time. Not ever sounds better.

I've been so busy with the grandchildren that I haven't had time to myself. When I do find a solitary moment, all I can do is cry. I obsessively read books on grief, the afterlife . . . anything that will show me how to reconnect with your energy. I'm not dreaming of you. I am just so sad, so very sad. I am shocked at how off balance I feel. How foolish to think that I would be able to handle this grief without going through all the stages. I thought it would get a little better every daywas not prepared to have it get worse!

Thinking of going to a Compassionate Friends meeting. Being the eldest in the family, I always felt like I broke ground for all my siblings when it came to life’s experiences. So much easier to go through life when you know what to expect. Just this once, I really don't want to be the one to break ground. I want to learn from others what it is like that first year after losing a child, month to month what can I expecteven tho I know it is different for everyone. I do find comfort in hearing others' stories. 

Thank you for listening. It does help to get the grief out. I need time to grieve. Will have to make some changes in my life so that I remain healthier than I’ve been, continue to be readily accessible to Nikki and the kids . . . stop spinning, obsessing, what iffing . . . start accepting, processing, finding a way to reenter this life without my youngest and recognizing that the eldest is still very much alive. We still do have a wonderful family. A family with broken hearts that need mending. 

My prayer to youplease watch over us, guide us, uplift our spirits when the tears run too long. Keep a smile in our hearts and laughter in our lives. Touch us, let us feel the breeze of your spirit. Let us know we are still connected. Love us. Pray for us. Keep us close and make it feel like not ever is something we don’t have to experience. Fill our minds and souls with thoughts and feelings of renewal. Help us find a new way, a new normal.

Love you so muchforever.





1978 - 2015

Hello Mr. Matt—this is one of my favorite photographs of you. So you died. Pretty difficult to deal with. Not ready for you to go but I know it has nothing to do with my timeline. It was such a surreal phone call to receive and I’m sure it was pretty tough for Jason to make. The physical shock is nothing like I’d ever experienced before. My body was crying but there were no tears initially. I didn’t want the words to be true. I could not imagine a life without you. You brought me such joy and I was getting such a kick out of watching you grow into your element with your children, your wife, your business, your chefdom . . . Addy is your Mini-Me. Looking at pictures today she looks just like you. I don’t know how to deal with your passing. Don’t know how to help Addy, Nikki. We are all at a loss. I’m shocked that I did not feel you pass. We were so close. I thought my heart would scream out at that exact moment. Saying goodbye to your body (but never to your spirit) at the hospital was crazy. Your body was still warm from the shoulders down, but your head was cold. The thought of you suffering was tearing me apart. I was told a story of one of your friend's being a first responder. Provided some very needed comfort (and the story I choose to believe) but others seem to have squelched that remembrance of events . I so hope you did not feel any pain or experience anguished thoughts that you knew you were leaving your family, that you were dying without one of us being there to comfort you. I want to hold you one more time. I want to hear your voice, not your recorded voice mail voice. I want to know what message you would like to send to the world. You made quite an impact on the hearts of everyone you touched here on earth. That will be such a beautiful tale to tell your children.

What’s it like Matt . . . the Knowing?? What did you feel when you took your last breath? Where did you go? Received my first sign from you—I did feel you pinching my arse in your apartment. Brought a smile to my face. So very you, only this time I was not annoyed! I want more tho. Selfish maybe but I’m just not ready to not have you as a part of my life. Why am I not having dreams about you? So many questions. Are you alright? Are you happy,at peace? How are you dealing with Addy’s sadness? Do you hear us playing “Once Upon a Time . . . Daddy”? How have we been connected in past lives? Are you sending me signs and I’m missing them? Please teach me to read signs. I feel that has not been my strongpoint . . . doubting Thomas that I am. Why can’t we just converse? Does it take too much of your energy? Do I need a medium? Do I have to raise my energy?

What was your Mission Son? Why did you have to go when you did? Why Why why?? Do you know about Sarah’s passing? Have you seen her? Are you together? I don’t like one way conversations, so anytime you want to chime in. I’m ready!!

Miss you, miss you, miss you, miss you. Have you seen Mams, my Father, Grampy, Grandma, Grandpa, your Brother Andrew, Uncle Carlos, Uncle Bobby, Derrick??

Life truly can change in an instant. I am happy that we had no regrets (other than you not becoming a professional baseball player). I am happy we had a fun, loving family life. I am happy I was chosen to be your Mother. I am in awe at the number of people that paid their respects. Herr Kelly (not looking so good) Mayor Gatsas, Andrea, Carrie Raymond, Jamie Marquis, Lauren. You would have laughed at Baats retort when she met Lauren—the before girlfriend. After Lauren introduced herself Beth answers with “yes, I know who you are—I’ve seen pictures”. It was funny—our quiet, reserved Beth. Your wing-woman has been so strong for your brother. 1000+ people. Most attended viewing in the history of Bouffard’s we are told. Would love to continue to spread your message but will need you to provide and give guidance.

Can you tell me about the vision you had that advised you to name your son Bear? Can you help us find the "Insurance Policy" document we so desperately need? Can you erase the picture of you on the gurney at the hospital from my mind? Can you let me know the detailed plans you had for your children? Can you, can you, can you???? What can I do for you? I pray that your soul is at rest and peace. I pray that you are not experiencing any sadness now that you feel the love and peace that going Home offers. I promise to keep your memory alive.

Guide me please. I will love you beyond forever.