Today is the day four years ago I lost my 18 year old brother in a car accident. He was alone, he hadn't been drinking or doing anything he shouldn't have been doing. He was on his way home from helping a friend write a paper. They think he might have fell asleep, less than 2 miles from his house on the WKU Farm. We were the family it could never happen to. We were the family who had it all together and comforted others in their time of loss. Not us. Never. Our lives are forever changed. Holidays are not as bright and cheery as they once were, and my mom and dad have lines on their faces that tell the story of their lost son. I have my days, days where I just want to cry and miss him. He was MY little brother who happened to be 6'2 and about 265 lbs and towered over me, but he was MY little brother who I did and still love with all my heart. It was such a tribute to that over 4,000 people showed up for our short visitation and graveside service. They came from hours away and some waited outside in line in the chilly fall September air for over 4 hours to pay their respects. These were the lives he touched. The hugs he gave, the elderly grandparents of friends who h stopped in to see on Sundays, the farm friends he had made through his terms as FFA President, his teammates and competitors as he served as captain of the football team. Cruise in 2005 my parents took him and his friends for senior spring break. Intersting to say the least :) LOVE these boys.
Guys all over our town have tattoos with his football number- 62, tributes to him with his name, dates, and angel wings. Cars over town have small window decals designed by Bubba's best friend with his name and dates and angel wings. A group of people in the town put an add in the paper every year on this date with his picture and a note about how they will never forget. The local FFA chapter auctions off 2 ferns at the annual banquet with the proceeds going to Bub's scholarship fund- this year the 2 ferns raised $1650 and then they gave them to my mom. And we, the family, use the scholarship money donated when he passed to award 3 scholarships every year to local high school seniors in his memory. One for a a local football player, one for a local FFA member, and one for a local Church Youth Group member. We are continuing his legacy of giving.
My life is different. I have a hardened heart in many situations when I try to be compassionate. I have to remind myself when my friends whine about some minor family injury or a sickness in their family that THIS is the biggest thing THEY have dealt with therefore to them it is as bad as they make it seem. All I really want to say is, "It could be worse. Be happy that THIS is ALL you have to deal with." I remind my husband everyday through his pain and syndrome that it could be worse, I take things in stride and I now know that NO ONE is invincible. It can happen to anyone. I never leave a situation mad at another person and I say I love you more than most people should. I don't know if I'll get the chance again and I want you to know.
His passing has made me a better person, but I try to look for the good in any tragedy. I have a closer relationship with my parents than I ever did, even though we were pretty close always. I take nothing for granted. I raise my son in a way my brother would be proud- teaching him to look for the good in everyone, help out whenever you can, and listen to the older, wiser people around us, they happen to know a thing or two about life, respect the Earth you live on, respect the animals around you, take care of the land, and to have a love for football & the Kentucky Wildcats :) He would love his nephew. I know he would have him doing and saying things just to get under my skin and love every minute of watching me climb the walls about it!
Today I just want to grieve. I want the day to go by and the date to pass and the calendar to change as when I look over I can remember every minute of every day in the days before and the days after. I have learned that if I want to cry, I should, and when I feel the need to smile, I do. I am with my family, my parents, my sister and we choose to spend the day together. We try not to cry, but just be together. No one has to say a thing. Matthew sure helps us smile and laugh and all the while we remember who he was named after, Matt.
In Loving Memory
Samuel Matthew Monroe
December 30, 1986- September 28th, 2005
We love you and miss you more than you would ever know Bub.