I found myself speaking of a place near and dear to my heart today. A place I haven’t mentioned in some time-The Palace of Fine Arts. As I sit here writing, I can see the dome taking shape in my mind. Matt and I would admire the beautiful homes that surrounded the pillars and park. We even coveted the same house which we discovered on our first visit there together. The Palace was a constant place of happiness in a life of ups and downs. The serenity we found when we walked around the duck pond and stopped under the dome were unmatched. It was a place Matt would escape to when he needed a breather, in his life before me. Together it was a place that signified our unity and desire to be with each other until the end of time. I can still see him, down on one knee, asking me to marry him on a beautiful August day under the honeycombed rotunda. Then, The Palace became a backdrop for his celebration of life, where our friends and family gathered to honour his beautiful soul.
If Matt were here, he would say his life began when he discovered his love for San Francisco. Sure some of her streets are misunderstood and marked by darkness but his love for adventure uncovered hidden gems and bright lights. I think in many ways San Francisco personifies all that Matthew was in human form. Dark and raging, artistic and brooding, edgy and unique, beautiful and alive; all things we could say to describe them both. It’s no wonder Matt felt at home in The City, it was as if he was looking in the mirror as he ventured down her streets. He could relate to her. He understood her. The City never judged him and he never judged her. A matched made in metaphorical heaven.
In my life without him, I constantly try to open my eyes even wider so I can take in this world just as he used to do. Matthew had so much passion coursing through his vein, I have never met anyone like him. He saw colors more vividly and felt more deeply. At times his ability to be so empathetic would result in days of inner turmoil. He would have major highs and deep, dark lows. I learned how to recognise when he was on a downward spiral but initially I would blame myself if his anger hit the surface. I wondered why my presence and love wasn’t good enough to take the pain away?
As I look back on our years together, I have learned even more; not only about myself but about Matthew as well. It’s not fair to have learned these lessons now that he has passed away. Hindsight is 20/20 right? In death there is always an opportunity for the living to reëxamine our lives. Some only take the negative and allow it to perpetuate. While others stop in their tracks, look around and decide that its time to make some positive changes. Despite days marked by fog and gloom, they journey forward in hopes of finding a light. In that hope lives the aspiration to stay the course, to shed the pieces of their former self that no longer serve a higher purpose. That is the path I’m am on. With the upcoming move to back to California, I know that I am continuing down the right path. I can testify that even through pain, heartbreak, grief and trauma, finding inner strength is possible.