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Its ‘that time’, first it was its’ that month’, the month of June,  one year round since our youngest son Matthew left this world, now its ‘the last weekend’, last year this weekend Matthew was home from London for the weekend.

I walk our middle son’s dog Marley in the early light, GD joins me this morning, we walk holding hands along the lanes near our cottage, the birdsong is loud this morning and we spy horses in a field behind the lush greens of an overgrown hedge row, but still the air is quiet and each of us walks lost in our own silence, nursing our thoughts of Matthew.

The last time our clan were all together, myself and GD, our five children and daughters and son in law, our five grandchildren and my brother in law, we were celebrating two birthdays and fathers day, we sang happy birthdays and we laughed and joked and enjoyed each others company, we spoke about up coming plans and holidays and work and events. We had a huge family breakfast, seventeen of us, this Sunday last year.

When we get back to the cottage GD and I get a call to meet at the dunes, there we meet two of our sons and daughters in law and two of our grandchildren, their dogs are already out running up and down the sandy banks, the children run after them and find holes in the banks where the rabbits are hiding.

I look at the time and I realize we would have been getting ready to drop Matthew to the railway station about now, I remember Matt telling me he would be back in the August to show me the photos he was going to take on his Canadian trip, he was so excited to be going to a big food show near Calgary and then onto the Mountains in just a few weeks time. That day after we had hugged goodbye by the car I said to GD that it was nice I’d got an extra long hug that time and an ‘I love you mum’ where Matt had looked right into me. Matt picked up his back pack and went through to catch his London train. I always cry whenever any of the kids are leaving, but this time I cried extra hard, even knowing he would be back real soon and I couldn’t figure out why I was crying so much.

Matt never liked us to hang about at the station, but as we pulled out of the car park there was space by the railings for one last wave, I saw Matt look up from his phone and he gave us that cheeky smile he always had and then we were pulling out of the station and onto the road , me crying buckets and already planning good food for Matt’s next visit in August.

We walk along the dunes and the beach is still deserted, just a few hardy surfers already out, the sea is turquoise where the suns rays break through the cloud overhead, inland to the right heavy storm clouds gather, dark and grey, out over the ocean though are the high and white wispy trails of cirrus clouds, I remember they are called mare’s tails because they are shaped liked the tails of horses. I look for our Matthew in the clouds as I always do, today I see no Matthew, no angels, but I look at the family around me and Matthew is with us, in all of us.

The train would have gone now this time last year and we would share just a few more messages of ‘I’m home now’ and me replying, ‘that’s good dear, hope you get a good nights sleep’.

Matt went so suddenly that the shock of it is still inconceivable, people that are young and healthy just don’t fall down while getting ready for work, how does that happen? .

We return home and Snowdon Matthews newest little nephew just three days old sleeps contentedly in his colourful pram. Snowdon’s second name is Matthew, Matthew would be so proud.

As we enter this second year now, we are leaving this year of ‘firsts’, first birthday, first Christmas, first gathering without Matthew physically here,  and we leave this time of ‘last year’, he was  doing this or was going there.

I mentioned Rays brother was with us too last year at the breakfast, we remember Derek too today,  as shortly after Matthews leaving, Derek took his own life, leaving us numb in the tragedy of it all.

I received the most beautiful letter from a dear friend of Matthew, she writes so eloquently so beautifully of a beautiful soul, my beautiful Matthew, she writes ‘He was everything good about the world and more’, she says she misses his ‘exquisite mind, his warm embrace’, and I find I am crying in floods, in waves, and in part it comes from the realization she is speaking to me of my son, who is with her always, as he is with us, not just a memory but with us all, till the day we die.

I think it fitting to end on this note something that Matthews friend highlighted, something that many others also told us about him in different ways, something we his family knew for ourselves, ‘Matthew had a  gentle spirit and the sweetest soul, he possessed about him a serene quality that could sooth our anguish.’

Matthew could always bring calm amongst the chaos and Matthew inspired others to obtain their highest dreams.

We miss you darling,

shine brightly,

until we meet again,

loved forever .

last weekend Matthew
the birthdays, Matt by the mirror behind the candles