This week’s entry is devoted to all of us walking around with fragile hearts.
My stepson, Matthew Minches, would have turned 24 today.
Matthew is the son of my husband David and his ex-wife Eve, and the brother of my stepdaughter, Lauren. He passed away four years ago this August after battling with rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer.
Last night my kids and I toasted Matthew for his birthday and shared a dessert in his honor. It was the first time I’ve been able to focus on celebrating his life vs. the tragedy of his losing it.
I’m often debating with myself whether the greater tragedy lies in the life that Matthew’s missing out on vs. what we’re all missing out on because his life ended. I heard my husband say a couple times that he feels worse for Matthew to have been robbed of life than for his (David’s) loss in not having his son. Aware of the deep, dark hole that Matthew’s absence has caused in David’s world, I find that unbelievable.
My brother Denis, whose wife Lisa passed from cancer when she was in her 30s – just a few months after she had given birth to their son Daniel – said the two are equally bad. Lisa missed out on experiencing great joy in being Daniel’s mom and he (Daniel) missed out on the many aspects of her personality which would’ve been such a good fit for him.
As the stress in our home continued to mount with Matthew's birthday approaching, and I found myself asking over and over again why it was Matthew who had to be afflicted with such a dreadful disease, more catastrophic news came our way: our dear friend Steve Lahav suddenly passed away.
Once again I have to ask why did such a good man so entirely devoted to family have to be taken from his wife and sons (and their girlfriends) and his dad, who had recently moved here from Florida? This makes no sense. As for David and me, we will miss him terribly. Steve, his wife Marcy, David and I so enjoyed and appreciated our individual friendships as well as the foursome we had become over the years. We have already informed Marcy that she will now have the dual role of being both herself and Steve when we go out.
Minutes after I learned about Steve, my son told me that his great Uncle Wolf (Karo) passed away, with the funeral actually falling on Matthew’s birthday. He was 90 and had been ailing so while his passing may not have been unexpected, it remains an immense loss for his family and friends.
I could say this week has been awful, and it has, but that doesn’t begin to cover it.
My dear friend Ann said that no one can understand the depth of other people’s pain unless they’re living it too, and she is right. I am convinced that people who have lost the most special people and the most powerful relationships they have ever known will never be the same without them.