Pick-A-Day

October 2020
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Archives

22: Matthew “Matt” Wayne Shepard – *December 1, 1976; †October 12, 1998

Fuck.

Twenty-two years.

Time is so fleeting – how the hell have 22 years passed?

I write this from my new home, still in Berlin, but some 7 kilometers from my old home.

One of the things about moving is that you must sort through all your belongings, even though you’ve forgotten that you own. While the process has certainly generated a certain amount of trash – with many moments of “why the hell did I keep that?” – there are also moments of, “wow! I kept that! Sweet!”

In that category falls 1 issue of Time magazine, 3 issues of the Advocate, and a page from the New York Times – all are about Matthew Shepard and his all too brief life.

Matthew Shepard 1998/1999

Finding them in a box – I had a professional packer go through much of my stuff, so I did not pack it – was quite the surprise. A moment to pause in the unpacking process and go, “wow.”

Naturally, there is a moment of guilt: how could I forget that I owned these? How could I leave them sitting on a shelf for years, forgotten? These objects that are, in many ways, so important to me.

On the other hand, it brings a bittersweet moment of melancholy – a moment to reflect and remember.

His murder affected my life in so many profound ways – it is difficult to understand its effects.

While the world has, generally speaking, gotten better, for every two steps forward, there is one back. Clearly, right now, America is regressing – with the potential to vote for a new direction.

Please.

However, that’s not what this is about – it’s about personal reflection.

Remembering how I felt, how I literally (and that’s not a figurative expression in my book) crawled into my closest on Braeside Drive in Bloomington, Indiana. It was 721 square feet (67 square meters) and I chose the smallest room. How I went to a march for Matthew Shepard at IU’s Dunn Meadow – the first time I had ever attended a candlelight march. How it took a couple of weeks for my equilibrium to return to a point where I was fully functional. How I came out via email to my boss in order to explain why I was so distracted from work. How…. Well, there are a lot of hows in this scenario.

Matthew Shepard’s murder defined how I approached a lot of my life and the decisions that I make.

R.I.P.


For historical reference, see 2004200520062007200820092010201120122013,  20142015201620172018, 2019, or any of the many times he’s been mentioned on my blog via a search for Matthew Shepard.

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