One afternoon in mid April 2017, I crawled into bed with my sweet husband. He was in so much pain that I rarely was able to touch him but today I had to hold his hand through this conversation. I looked into his hazel eyes and asked him if he thought about the questions we talked about. He calmly smiled at me and said, “yes”.
The questions were about his final wishes. In the past 16 months of his fight against colon cancer we had never discussed this because we held hope that he would beat this ever-consuming disease. The final wish was to be here! However, as time went on and scans began to show deteriorating health the acceptance of what might come next began to take over what little hope we clung to.
Matt shared his final wishes:
- 1) Celebrate my life with a big party
- 2) I would like to be cremated and my ashes spread at the following places with the following groups of people
- a. Our annual 4th of July beach trip at Bella Beach (“It has to be Bella Beach!”) with the “beach crew”
- b. Pacific beach- “I want you and Cullen to go where I proposed to you and spread my ashes on pacific beach”
- c. Our annual snowboarding trip to McCall, ID with my family
- d. Somewhere in Flagstaff, AZ with my NAU family
- e. A trip to Wisconsin- “I want you and Cullen to see where I grew up” with my family
- f. Somewhere in Tucson with our family here (“I will get back to you on where- I haven’t figured it out yet”)
- 3) Oh and here is a picture of the urn I picked out
- 4) And don’t let Live Moore die!
I took note and together we breathed in the magnitude of what we were planning for as a family. We cried, laughed, and gave thanks for this time together. Little did I know how some of Matt’s wishes would play out.
Fast forward to this weekend. Eight years ago we decided it would be fun to go to the beach for the 4th of July. We jumped on our computers, found a house, gathered the peeps and romped down to the beach. It was epic! So much fun that we vowed to do it again the next year and then the next.
Suddenly, we were on our 8th annual trip without one of the founders- Matt. It was bittersweet! As we drove up to the beach house (that Matt insisted had to be at Bella Beach, OR for some reason) we noticed that it was the house directly across the street from the very first house we had ever stayed at. This house must of just been built! It was as if our past was crossing over into our future and then back again. We now understood why we had to be here this weekend.
We all unpacked, cooked, ate, played on the beach, played corn hole and had an amazing time. As dust neared we all bundled up in our winter gear to head down to the beach (people not from Oregon- the Oregon coast is freaking cold at night even in July!). Together in a circle we gathered, hand over hand, we touched Matt’s ashes as if to hold him one last time.
I ventured off where the waves end and the sand begins. With everyone watching, suddenly came a huge wave out of no where! The wave poured water all over me and I was soaked from my toes to my waist. As the wave crashed over me Matt’s ashes flew into the air and suddenly danced into the ocean. There I stood soaking wet and with ashes all over my black jacket. My mouth dropped open. That was not how I expected it to go. I looked up at the 15 people watching me in shock. Silence…and then… we all burst out laughing- Thanks Matt!
Now for the grand finale! If you knew Matt, you knew that he was all about the fireworks. 4th of July was his favorite holiday and setting off fireworks on the beach was his jam! His friends put together a beautiful firework show for us all to see with the grand finale including some of the ashes. The fireworks lit up the night sky the same way that Matt lit up our hearts.
Until we meet again Matt…