Thriving & Surviving As A Family – A Son’s Journey

Matt was just 18 when his father unexpectedly passed away. It’s a phone call I never imagined making and definitely one Matt didn’t expect. I’ll never forget it nor what followed. Matt was a freshman in college and it was a few weeks before spring finals began.

It was spring term in college and tragedy shouldn’t be part of it. It was such a difficult call to make. My baby boy immediately booked a flight and returned home. Telling a child their father is not well and they need to come home immediately is something no one should have to do. It’s heartbreaking. When Matt arrived at the hospital, he never left my side — nor his dad’s. Just like that, an 18-year-old became a man. From accompanying me to the funeral home to coordinate arrangements, speaking at his father’s funeral, to editing a video to honor his father.

What a man we raised.

Matt returned to school and took his finals a few weeks later. Not only did he graduate in just three years, he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a double major. Shortly thereafter, he moved home and helped me with his sister in every way imaginable. His life and plans were tuned upside down, but he never complained and remained focused on his education. He eventually earned his MBA and JD while also passing his CPA exam. His journey could’ve taken so many different paths after experiencing such a tragedy at an impressionable age, yet he Survived and Thrived.   

Matthew is truly one of the kindest souls I have ever known, and I am eternally grateful to have him in my life. Yes, he is my son, but he’s also my friend. He’s an amazing son, husband and father. His father would be so proud of the man he has become.  Both Matt and his sister Rachel had to deal with so much at such a young age. They are my greatest gifts in life! Together, like all of us, we Survive and Thrive.