Thursday, February 28, 2013

For Matthew 5/4/82-2/17/13

Some time ago, another artist gave me a list called Why Do People Make Art? Written for a young audience, it includes the expected responses like "tell stories" and "adorn themselves" and "seek personal enjoyment and satisfaction." It reduces the Cathedral of Notre Dame to "worship" and the anti-war songs of the sixties to "seek to affect social change."

Why do people make art? "to record a time, place, person or object." That one strikes me. So much of the world's art, architecture and literature exists because someone needed to keep someone else's memory alive. Tonight, I am not going to create art, architecture or literature but try to take a brief moment to keep a memory alive.

The first time I saw Matthew Lawrence Dyson, I almost didn't see him. He was a tiny baby propped up against a couch pillow. I had to do a double take. I remember holding him for a long time that first night. Later, I knitted him a blue baby sweater with  cables, the only time I've ever knitted cables. Matthew's mother is my friend Louise, who I've known for many years.

I moved to Germany, back to the States and later to Texas. I did not see Matthew grow up. In the only photo of him that I have, he is a small child wearing big sunglasses and surrounded by paper and crayons. Did he like art? I don't know. The one art that I do know he excelled in is the art of being a dad.

Matthew was not given the option of going slowly into that good night. He left his family, his parents, sisters and brother on February 17, 2013. He joins his sister, Jen.

Be at peace, Matthew.