In Memoriam

CliffTruck Crop

Clifford Mattio Copyright Barbara Mattio

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,



Riding the Racing Horse Carousel at Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio. Copyright Barbara Mattio


33 thoughts on “In Memoriam

  1. risinghawk says:

    I am very sorry to hear this. Your tribute is beautiful, and I have no doubt that he was a wonderful man. May you find peace in his peace, and continue to be the light that he held so dear.

  2. quiall says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss.

  3. Very nice tribute to your to your wonderful pal. beautiful letter you wrote and amazing it was the time as he was dying Barb…Oh I am so sorry. I understand what you must be going thru…That story reminds me of my brother and I ..he died 2 years ago of cancer…
    How sad for you…let those tears flow Barb..I have a picture that painted …s

  4. What a beautiful letter of how important and precious a part of your life he has been and will continue to be, from the other side. You were blessed by his presence and I am confident he would say that he, too, was very blessed by yours. May the angels surround you with comfort right now.

  5. Barbara,
    i’m sorry for the loss of a dear man and friend and i send my condolences and any healing i have to your spirit.
    i admire how in this difficult time you have the strength to share this fine tribute with us – thank you.
    Big hugs

    • Thank you Jim. When my late husband died in1995, Cliff was just always there for me. I know I am lucky to have had him all these many years. I am full of wonderful memories. Hugs, Barbara

  6. inavukic says:

    It’s the love we have, it’s the love we had and lasts that makes our lives so worthwhile. What a heart warming tribute, Barbara. Love and remembrance make our lives so rich and fulfilled. Hugs, Ina

  7. claire says:

    A beautiful memorandum. How wonderful when someone lives in such a way as to be so lovingly remembered.

  8. Hikari Yori says:

    Glad to have a big brother

  9. Dr. Rex says:

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Remembering a very good man ….. May he rest in peace!!

  10. My deepest condolences on the loss of your beloved and clearly wonderful brother-in-law, Barbara. This is a beautiful tribute to Cliff…and one he would be happy to have seen.


  11. A beautiful tribute to Cliff. Your letter and photos will be a reminder and solace to you, that will bring back the memories so vividly. I know, unfortunately, too. I lost my two husbands who also were my special men in my life. Time doesn’t heal; it only helps in the adjustment, which can take long. Tears shed for you and all of us who have lost those precious loves.

  12. Al says:

    A beautiful tribute Barbara. No doubt he is always looking down on you and is proud of you. The pain never heals, it just gets less difficult to deal with

  13. Barbara I am sorry for your and your families loss. This was a lovely tribute.

  14. Jane Thorne says:

    Oh Barbara, you carry Cliff’s loving light within you and so many heart memories. Your beautiful words shine with that loving light you have between you. Healing hugs for you and all his family in your grief. He is in the whisper of the wind, the warmth of the sun and the sound of the sea. His laughter is everywhere and you are wrapped in his love, as he is in yours. ❤

  15. urmila shah says:

    Not everyone is bestowed the power of expression. You lay bare your heart here ,dripping off emotions , sorrow ,and still a feeling of gratitude for having had it all at one time and now stored for a life time like a treasure ! I want to hold your hand and I know it will convey all I would have said . .
    urmil mangaldas.

    • Thank you for your kind words. I can feel you holding my hand. I am impressed that you picked up my grief and gratitude. Having lost my husband 19 years ago and now his brother. But there is a reason for all of it. I just treasure the memories and the universe blesses me. Hugs, Barbara

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