For the Friends and Family of Matt Stefan…..
I haven’t met lots of you, but I’ve read your Facebook posts these past few days. Thank you for sharing your love for Matt, your raw shock over his death, and where you’re finding your hope.
I’m shocked too. I can hardly believe Matt is gone. We were college friends. Matt and I drank beer together, commiserated over small-town life, talked a lot about music, and laughed about everything.
I can hear his laugh now. Throaty. His whole face laughed.
Seventeen years ago, he married his college sweetheart, Lisa, the same day Mike and I married. Last year, on August 1, I sent him a message suggesting we all go to Hawaii for our 25th anniversary. He joked that we would have to start saving now.
Besides that Facebook message, I hadn’t talked to Matt much since college. I hoped our paths would cross one day. Maybe in Hawaii in 2023. Hopefully sooner.
On July 5, I opened Facebook to read the news a brain aneurysm had taken Matt’s life. The news that Matt Stefan, who had always been so alive, so present, could be gone was—literally—unbelievable.
For the next three hours I read every post I could find to understand this terrible news. I wasn’t alone. All of you who knew Matt–his friends and family spread all over the country–updated their status with the same questions: how could this happen? What’s a world without Matt Stefan?
Over the past few days, Matt’s friends and family have pieced together a social-media celebration of Matt’s life. As we all begin to understand what it means to lose Matt, our memories, pictures, and prayers pour out on Facebook. Pictures of Matt playing in different bands, dressed up in Halloween costumes, at graduations. Matt’s signature handwriting in a yearbook message to a student.
Through the pictures, the world can see Matt…his faith in a loving, sovereign God, his inspiration to others’ faith, his wit, his fantastic voice, his love for his kids, his life with Lisa, and his enthusiasm for life.
Thanks to all of you for digging out your pictures, sharing your memories, and telling stories about Matt. He loved so much. He leaves behind a life of fantastic memories. Memories to be shared.
It was Lisa’s words, more than any other, that comforted us. On that terrible morning, we read her post over and over:
As we celebrate the amazing person Matt was, we remember Lisa’s words of hope. Every day is a gift. Praise be to Christ.
Peace, Matt. We can’t forget you.