Everything about him is what I think we should all aspire to become: fun, sweet, funny! Kind. I wish I could've spent time with him as an adult. I know we could've been great friends. I love who he became. Facebook allowed us to send each other a couple of update messages and to comment on each other's posts. Mostly, I watched with admiration and probably a twinge of jealousy as he seemed to lead such a rich life. So proud of him that he made a great life doing what he loved most.
Here is a snippet of our conversation in Jan, 2009. He was one of the first people I made contact with on Facebook.
January 24, 2009
2:37pm Paul Dunkirk:
What I should've said was "Give the rednecks some hell for me." So what are you studying/working on currently?
3:04pm Matthew Burkholder:
This semester I'm directing Shadow Puppetry for a production of Medea directed by the 3rd year Directing Grad, Sound Designing Henry V and Stage Managing Thoroughly Modern Millie. All while teaching two sections of Intro to Theatre and taking 3 classes and observing Beginning Acting so I can teach it next year. No rest for the wicked. And then next year I'll be directing 2 shows. How bout you? How's life post Blenders?
Matt was one of the first people I made contact with after joining Facebook. We had similar political views and life views. I'm so sorry our lives didn't have a chance to reconnect in person. I would've loved to have spent time with him.
So here is some background to my feelings for Matt.
I spent Kindergarten through high school with Matt. Like a lot of us, I was pretty clueless about what makes a quality person. I admit that in elementary school, Matt and I were not friends. I was a "body" person, meaning I was physically active and competitive. I was obsessed with all things involving sports. Matt was a bit clumsy. Looking back it's as if I ranked everyone in my world according to how well they threw a dodgeball (battle-ball as we called it). I had another side, but it was overshadowed by my body's need to run, jump, throw, and kick. I even went as far as teasing Matt. I won't tell you the details other than to say that something very embarrassing happened to Matt and I took advantage of it and rubbed it in, so to speak. I was an asshole in many respects. But I must forgive that dumb child in order to move forward.
I went through a more reflective phase in my 20s, thank god, and was appalled at the anger and stupidity I had spread. I spread a lot of love too. But those lower times still sting. Working through my own crap at the expense of others I guess.
Good news is that Matt forgave me. We got to know each other in high school as seniors in our show choir, PIZZAZZ!! (Yes, it needs to be all caps with 2 exclamation points!!) I apologized to Matt and he forgave me. And by doing that he taught me about forgiveness, about kindness, and about just loving life. He was a saint to me. He was an inspiration.
I love you Matt. And I am positive that you have made this world better and spread love and humor everywhere you've gone. I'm kinda pissed at the universe for taking you away way too early. The world is a sadder place without you. My world sure is.