This is a picture of my brother-in-law, Cliff Mattio. He was my husband’s younger brother, and after my husband died suddenly of a heart attack 19 years ago, he became my big brother.
For the last 19 years, he’s been my adventure buddy, my confidant, my partner in crime. He’s always been there for me, and never once let me down. He always had my back, every time.
He was a kind man, and a good man, who delighted in teasing me mercilessly, and provoked me into arguments when we took car trips together, just because it entertained him. I hated that, but I always loved him.
We shared a love of books, book shopping and reading cookbooks. He shared his family recipes with me, including the Mattio Family Sauce recipe, a truly Italian Pasta Sauce that his Italian grandmother taught him to cook, and which takes 3 days to cook correctly.
There wasn’t a subject we didn’t discuss, including politics and religion, and even though we didn’t always agree, we just loved to talk about it. Some of our best times were spent just talking, often through, over and around a movie. There were all night talk sessions more times than I can count, and I cherish them all.
We fixed all the world’s problems together, several times over the years, but unfortunately no one else was listening.
We shared a desire for kindness, compassion, peace, empathy and goodness to be manifest in our own lives, for the people around us, and for the world.
He passed away this morning at 2:30 am, after a 10 year battle with leukemia, leaving behind his two sons, Chris & Carll, and I know they will miss their father tremendously.
When he was dying, at 2:30 this morning, I was in the process of writing a him a letter, telling him how much I appreciated his strength and love and laughter over the years.
He did not want a memorial service, and his sons will honor his wishes. In lieu of a service, I wanted to share my brother-in-law with the world, and I am going to share the letter I wrote him last night with you, in his honor and memory.
I am so sorry you are ill. I am sorry that you will be leaving this world. I know that Caroline [his ex-wife], your parents and Gaylord [my husband, his older brother] will be waiting to welcome you. There will be much gladness and joy at this reunion.
I want to thank you for being you. For being strong when I wasn’t. For all our crazy debates. Thank you for loving me, for being my big brother.
Thank you for the laughs and for the tears. Thank you for telling me I could do it — whatever ‘it’ was — when I didn’t think I could.
Thank you for trips and adventures. Thank you for all you taught me. There is so much I learned from you. Thank you for accepting me as the person I am.
Thank you for Jazz Funerals and Blues Clubs.
Thank you for never letting me down. Never once. As long as I live I will cherish every memory we made together. Thank you for sharing yourself with me and letting me share who I am with you
Thank you for sharing your boys with me. They are fine young men and you are so proud of them, I know.
Thank you for putting sunshine back into my life. Thank you for some of the best adventures of my life.
You are such a good man, and I was lucky Gaylord brought you into my life.
I don’t want you to suffer, so I pray for a miracle or that you will have an easy transition to your new life.
I think of you when I see a waterfall, when I look at autumn leaves. I think of you when I am happy and when I am scared. I remember all of the times we have shared — the very best were when we would just sit and talk. When we solved all of life’s problems.
I wish you a wonderful eternity.
Thank you for sharing parts of your life with me.
I appreciate you more than you could ever know.
In love, harmony and beauty,