I won’t pretend Matt McClure and I were best friends. We were friends, yes–absolutely. Good friends. But I don’t know anyone who knew Matt who didn’t consider him a good friend. The sad fact is, I haven’t personally spoken to Matt in years beyond a few social media messages. That’s certainly not the action of a best friend.
Part of me feels like I have no business even writing this. I’m not family. I’m not a best friend. But I believe that no one is ever truly gone as long as that person remains in our memories, and I want to tell you about Matt because I want you to remember him. I want you to know Matt McClure because I don’t want Matt to be gone.
I’m writing this in order to process my grief. I’m writing this to help my friends and fellow people from Beardstown process their grief. I’m writing this because writing is something I do well, and I want to honor Matt the only way I know how.
We’re not going to grant Matt sainthood. He was not a saint, but he was, without question, one of the bravest people that I’ve ever known.
I’m told Matt exceeded his life expectancy by quite a bit–some have said he wasn’t expected to make it out of childhood. If you knew Matt, you’re not surprised. He exceeded at everything he did–especially when it came to living.
Matt was a brilliant person. His wit could run circles around everyone else in the room. And while he had every right to be pissed off at the world, he instead chose to make us smile with a quick joke, an ornery grin, and maybe even a magic trick or two. His charisma could dazzle you.
Like I said, I’m not going to make Matt a saint, but I never once heard him complain about, well, much of anything. Again, he had every right to complain as much as he wanted. No one would hold it against him had he complained. But he didn’t–not that I ever heard. He met life head on. He didn’t feel sorry for himself. He participated in life, even defined life at times. Can we all say the same?
Matt loved sports. Matt loved people. Matt loved life. That’s why Matt lived as long as he did. It’s a fact that Matt McClure lived more in his 40 years than most people will in a lifetime.
I found out today that Matt died.
I guess that’s probably obvious by now.
I don’t know any of the specifics.
At first I thought it could be a practical joke. He once tricked everyone into believing he got married (maybe it was engaged–I can’t remember). He announced it on Facebook. I knew his sense of humor, and I knew it was April 1st, so I called malarkey. Matt loved a good prank.
You’ll have to forgive me–this all seems to be a jumble of thoughts and emotions. I wanted to do a better job of this.
Know that Matt McClure endured obstacles on a daily basis that we could never imagine. Those physical actions that we take for granted proved enormous hardship to him. Yet the man overcame it all. He was given a weak, frail body, but that didn’t stop him. His sheer intellect made him more than a match against life. His radiant personality could not be contained by corporeal limitations. His enthusiasm for active engagement with the world surrounding him could be equaled by none other.
Matt McClure was no saint, but I’ll be damned if he wasn’t a hero.
Never forget Matt McClure. He earned your remembrance.