Matt attended the University of Wisconsin and loved every minute of it. As I shared in a previous post, he loved the Badgers and of course this is where it all started. He furthered many friendships from Appleton here and also made new ones. One of the many things I admire about Matt was his ability to maintain his friendships. In a time when it's easy to get lost in our own world, Matt always made the time to call friends and catch up. And yes I said call, he didn't text, he called to say hello and see how things were going. I only hope that I can stay in touch with friends as he did.
The first time I ever came to Madison was not on the best of terms. Matt had a 2nd seizure shortly after his first when they were working on finding the right amount of anti-seizure meds that he needed. I got the call that he had a seizure and quickly drove the 3 hours to be with him and spent the night in the hospital snuggling with him in his very small bed. The next day we rallied and went through with plans to stay for the football game.
We went on to enjoy many weekends in Madison for football games, weddings, and general merriment. The hotel that I am staying at we stayed together many times and was even the same place he was staying at when he had the seizure. He had the seizure in the hallway when his roommate/coworker found him. He had showed me which room he was in and I recognize the bend in the hallway. I also remember staying here for a wedding. We had spent the morning walking around the fabulous downtown farmer's market and relaxed here afterwards snacking on the delicious cheesy bread the market is famous for.
Madison was also the town we talked about moving to and starting a family. We didn't see ourselves living in Chicago forever and thought we would end up here eventually. I love this town, it has a good vibe, plenty of culture and things to do with that down home mid-west style that I know and love. Of course Matt loved it for many reasons including the love of football energizing the town especially this Friday before a game.
But I am here on my own, feeling like an intruder to his favorite town. I don't know if intruder is the right word considering we spent many good times here and talked about our future here but I guess what I mean is I hate being here without him. I am here for work as I recruit at the University of Wisconsin. I remember getting this job and feeling so excited to tell him that I would be responsible for recruiting at UW. That I could somehow connect myself to this wonderful part of his life!
I cried on my way into town and then at the Career Fair. I saw him turning the corner with that big beautiful smile, resume in hand, dressed up in his suit, all the hope and enthusiasm for the next stage of life. Crying isn't necessarily a good look for a recruiter so I quietly pulled myself together never missing a positive recruiter beat.
I could have sulked for the rest of the night but I had reached out to some of Matt's friends to let them know that I would be in town and met up with them at State Street Brats. I am glad I did. I am always glad when I meet up with his friends. We share memories and have a good laugh. Walking up the Brathaus, I was worried I would lose it but I didn't somehow. I don't know how I do it sometimes. I think it's the talk of good times and his good nature, sharing the love of him with someone.
I asked Matt once what his favorite time of life was. I think that's a pretty hard question to answer for anyone considering each stage has a uniqueness to it that makes it special and uncomparable. But being his wife, I expected him to say of course marrying you! But the majority of the time I was with Matt we were plagued with this awful tumor. His response, being at UW. I can't blame him, being in college has an innocence and fun to it that you can only hope to experience once. And after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, who can blame him for preferring a time when this didn't weigh him down. Some wives might be upset to hear this but I understand and I know I made Matt a happy man. The only thing I felt when he told me this which I shared with him between tears was that I was sad I couldn't be a part of his life then. First of all I wished we had more and more and more time together and if we went to UW together we would have had that. But just to have more time together not being weighted down by all this. I found myself again wishing for that. Not that I would take back my time in college, it made me the person that I am today but oh to have more time with him...
A great breakfast joint taken in Fall 2006... ate here by myself this past Friday
Fall 2006 - I think this was taken on my first trip to Madison
Enjoying beers at the Union before a Wedding
Hiking with Lila in Madison for the afternoon
Fall 2006 in front of Camp Randall