Eight years ago, on October 6th, 1998, a new friend of mine left a bar. He left with two men who told him they were gay. And he trusted them. They told him they would give him a ride home. And he trusted them. Not long after he left with them, they tied him to a fence. They hit him in the head some 18 times with the butt of a .357 Magnum pistol. They left him to die. Because he trusted them.
I miss Matt every day. The universe knows that my life is so different today because I knew him. I didn't know him enough, though. I was busy planning Gay Awareness Week on campus. Dealing with the start of semester at work. I told myself I'd get to know him better after all that was done. I'd talk to him about his family. I'd encourage him to be more involved with the group on campus, perhaps even become an officer. I missed my chance, because I put events and agendas before people.
The last few weeks have reminded me of just how precious life is. Friends. Family. A part of me will mourn Matt every year at this time. But I also know that he'd rather we celebrate life. And the good that has come in the last 8 years. That we hold each other tighter to our hearts. That we tell each other more often how we feel, and let people into our hearts. Sadness is not his legacy. Love, peace, and understanding are. Today, I celebrate him. And each of you.
You are all angels. You give me wings.