Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Uncle Matt

On February 1st (January 31st back home), one week after I finished my first month in the new semester, I was pulled out of class to receive the most terrible news from home. My uncle, Matt Sanborn, had passed away after he crashed while riding his mountain bike on a trail above Montecito. I was on a plane home from Vietnam hours after I found out. It has been a very sad week for my entire family. He was a great uncle, and I miss him so much. We said a private goodbye on Friday before his body was cremated, his memorial was on Saturday, and there was also a service at his church on Sunday, which is held at a movie theater (which I think is pretty cool). He really loved mountain biking, and I loved to ride with him too. He would always be doing crazy things, like racing motorcycles, downhill mountain biking, extreme skiing… etc. that's just what he did. I don't really feel up to writing a lot for this blog, so I’ll end it with this:

I love you Uncle Matt, I will remember you forever, you were an awesome uncle and a good friend.  -Andrew

We played this video at his memorial service:

The eulogy written and read by my grandmother, Uncle Matt's and my dad's mother:

My husband, David, and I walked down to the beach this morning -- to be close to Matt -- to feel him -- 

I wanted to write something about him -- to acknowledge what I, his mother, knew of him. 

I had his hat from Jackson Hole shielding my eyes from the sun.  I put my feet in the water and heard him say, oh you sissy, it’s not cold.  The sound of the waves, the sparkling water, the smell of the beach, are calming and healing to me right now.

So, I’d like to ask you all to take a moment and close your eyes.
Picture Matt in your mind’s eye.
Okay.  Open.
I bet he was smiling, right?
I hope you always hold that image of him in your heart -- that expression of happiness, joy, sense of adventure, humor -- the willingness to take a risk, to dare -- THAT WAS MATT.

He embodied the qualities we hold up as the best of being human:  HEART, COURAGE, COMPASSION.  What the Buddhists call LOVING KINDNESS.

He was also the best boyfriend in the world.  I got that straight from Stacy -- she told me so herself!  He was brave enough to be vulnerable -- strong enough to be protective.
I believe if a man loves his mother, he has the capacity to love a woman and treat her well.  
Matt loved me so much!  And I him.
When he spoke at mine and David’s wedding three years ago, he said I was his best friend.  I never could have believed I would be speaking at a memorial service for him.
Matt loved his family and was never happier than when we were all together -- especially when his brother, Eric, and Kendre’s children, Andrew, Emily, and Claira, were around -- then he could really let loose and play!
He loved Bump and Nan -- was heartbroken when Bump left this world -- and I know that Bump was the first to welcome him home.

Matt loved Stacy.  And she loved him.  Those two beautiful people had plans and we are all at a loss not to see them live it out.

And Matt loved the outdoors: skiing, biking, hockey, roller blading -- and he had such grace and allignment with himself doing it.  He loved deep sea diving, the beach and the mountains, the Bruins, the Red Sox, the Celtics -- he loved people and connection and conversation.  He loved LIFE!

His name, Matthew, meant Gift of God -- and he was.  I was so proud to be his mother.  I watched him face his life, the triumphs and the suffering -- and despite the dazzling smile, he bore deep suffering.  C.G. Jung said that suffering carves out the soul -- and Matt’s soul was very large.  

From his birth, May 3, 1969 in Massachusetts, to his final thrilling ride, January 31, 2012 at Cold Spring Trail in his beloved Santa Barbara, California, he had a great one!

He told me once that the mountains were a cathredral to him -- that in nature he was close to God.  
I know, without a doubt, that he left this physical world in a moment of pure perfection -- he was in love -- he knew his was loved -- five minutes from the trail head, joy endorphins were coursing through his blood.  He had a sense of accomplishment from finessing his way down the mountain’s rocky trial so he could get home to his love, Stacy, who was waiting.

We don’t know another’s Soul’s Path, their contract with God.  I would have wanted him longer, but it wasn’t my decision.  I accept and honor his to leave how and when he did and say, Go Matt Go!

TO AN ATHLETE DYING YOUNG by A. E. Housman (1859-1936).

"The time you won your town the race /We chaired you through the market-place; /Man and boy stood cheering by, /And home we brought you shoulder-high... Smart lad, to slip betimes away /From fields where glory does not stay /And early though the laurel grows /It withers quicker than the rose... 
Now you will not swell the rout /Of lads that wore their honours out, /Runners whom renown outran /And the name died before the man... 
And round that early-laurelled head /Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead, /And find unwithered on its curls /The garland briefer than a girl's." 
"Now take back the soul of Matthew Bruce Sanborn whom You have shared with us. He brought us joy...we loved him well. 
He was not ours. 
He was not mine."

My Grandmother, Mae-Mae, with Uncle Matt

No comments:

Post a Comment