When I spoke at my brother’s funeral in August 2015, I shared these words of grief that are still true today:
I grieve today for many things. I grieve for the feelings of pain, loneliness, helplessness, frustration, anger and despair that Matt, especially Matt, and all of us close to him felt as we watched this disease of addition take his life. I grieve for all of the other “Matt’s” out there who are battling this ugly, misunderstood, stigmatized and unbiased disease. No one should have to experience what we did; and if it can happen to our family, it can happen to anyone. I grieve that all our periods of hopefulness while Matt was in rehab and recovery were never ultimately realized. I grieve that there are no more chances to try again. I grieve that I will probably never stop asking questions like “what if I had done this?” or “what If I had said that?” “What else could we have done?” “Could I have listened better?” Maybe we should have used tough love when were we compassionate; maybe compassion when we were tough. I grieve that I could not help Matt. I grieve for the rest of Matt’s life that will not be lived; all of the experiences that we will have as a family that will be without him. I grieve that there will be some who remember Matt by this sickness and his inability to get well, instead of by the joy that he brought to so many of our lives. I grieve because my brother was an amazing person, who was full of life, love, pride, honor, hopes and dreams; and it does not seem real to me that he will not be our physical presence again. I grieve because I miss him.
I also shared my desire to turn the “why me/why us?” into “what’s next?” Even days after his death, I knew that I needed to find some way to be part of the solution … to bring an awareness to mental health issues and the disease of addition so that it is not so stigmatized; not viewed as an individual’s character flaw or failure, but instead a real sickness.
Herren Project has become my “what’s next?” and I could not be more proud to represent this organization. I am humbled by their trust in me to be a representative for them. By running the Boston Marathon in support of Herren Project, I know that I am helping to be part of the solution not only by raising funds, but by bringing awareness to the availability of resources that can lead to a life in recovery. Together we are proving that goodness does in fact grow. #milesformatt