He came stumbling through our doors back in March. Shivering, sweating, pacing back and forth to our restroom. He was having some terrible withdrawals. I thought he would die right there on our couch in the shop that day. We made him go to the Emergency Room that evening, and later that night drove him to a cheap hotel downtown so he wouldn’t sleep on the streets.
I wish I could say that was rock bottom for him , but it wasn’t.
He practically destroyed the relationship he had with his family. They simply couldn’t take it any more. He had pushed them all away. Now he was alone.
Day after day he would come into the shop, and just hang out at the table in the corner. He loved it here. He said he felt safe, felt something different here. He trusted us.
The staff at Cadence befriended him and welcomed him every time he came in. His disability kept him from working a full time job, so he would volunteer a little at the shop. Stamping cup sleeves, sweeping the floors, even baking some for us in the kitchen. He was a professional chef, back in the day. But lots of heartache, over dependence on pain meds and alcohol, had pretty much stolen his life from him.
He saw himself as a victim. Maybe he was to a degree. Everyone else had the problems. He acknowledged he had his own, but they had bigger issues, and many of our conversations consisted of him railing against all the people who had done him wrong.
He called me last Thursday, and I let his call go to voicemail. I was in a conversation, with someone else, and rationalized that I would talk to him later. He texted me on Friday, I didn’t reply, I would see him Tuesday to drive him to an appointment and we could talk then.
But a sudden phone call from his dad on Sunday afternoon told me that wouldn’t happen. Matthew had died the night before.
I was, and am in shock.
A million questions and waves of guilt have flooded my mind.
What if I would have taken his phone call last Thursday?
What if I would have texted him back on Friday?
Then I began to wonder, where is He now? And from there my thoughts completely ran wild.
I’m not really sure how to process all of this. There’s no textbook for this kind of stuff. (I suppose that’s why I write here, to process.)
When I walked into the shop today, I hoped to see him sitting at the table in the corner, praying it was all a bad dream. What I would give to have just one more conversation with him. One more phone call to talk. One more time to sit with him at the table in the corner and talk even more seriously about His life and where it was headed.
We’ll gather with his grieving parents this weekend for a memorial service at Cadence. Join me in praying for their comfort.